Archives Bazaar

11th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Saturday, October 15, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Doheny Memorial Library
USC University Park Campus

All Day. All in one Place.

Come and celebrate the diversity of stories that make Southern California such a place of discovery. At the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, presented by L.A. as Subject and the USC Libraries, anyone with an interest in the region’s history will find something of value. A broad array of institutions and archives will have experts on hand to show off their collections and answer questions—from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Los Angeles Public Library to private collectors whose materials fill the gaps left in the region’s history.

In addition to the wealth of information on display from exhibitors, day-long programming will feature workshops and demonstrations on the archiving and preservation of photographs and scrapbooks; a program on how to research historical information about Los Angeles; a presentation on the worst ever man-made disaster in Southern California; and, in this year celebrating the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s book Utopia, a discussion on how L.A. is often associated with the fictional land, despite such intractable problems as gridlock, drought, homelessness, and income inequality. 

The USC Libraries serve as the host institution for L.A. as Subject, an alliance of libraries, museums, and other archival and cultural organizations. The relationship complements the USC libraries’ strong regional history collection and is a natural outgrowth of the libraries’ efforts to preserve and expand access to the primary sources of L.A. history.

USC is minutes from downtown Los Angeles and is easily accessible by major freeways and the Metro Expo line. Doheny Library is located in the center of campus, adjacent to Alumni Park and across from Bovard Auditorium, on Trousdale Avenue. For information regarding parking on campus, visit the Parking Services Website.


Friends Lecture Hall (room 240)

9:00–9:50 a.m.
Researching L.A. 101
Have you ever wondered how to get started with your research on Los Angeles—or with research in general? This presentation, by Stephanie George of Chapman University and Lisa Crane of Claremont College, will give you a detailed overview of how and where to start, including basic research tips useful for anyone working with primary and secondary source material. Topics will include researching from home, visiting archives, the ins and outs of reading rooms, and more.

10:00–10:50 a.m.
L.A. as Subject Membership and Social Media: Survey and Practice 
Resident archivists Amelia Parks and Stella Castillo present their findings from a survey of the L.A. as Subject member community regarding current trends in social media usage as well as an analysis of the subsequent social media techniques workshop put on for L.A. as Subject members. 

11:00–12:00 noon
What’s In a Name? 
Some made their money in railroads. Others in oil or mining. But a shared love of culture and ingrained sense of philanthropy means Southern California contains a wealth of collections and organizations named after their benefactors, including the Huntington Library, Clark Library, Autry Museum of the American West, and Margaret Herrick Library. This lightning-round session will give attendees a glimpse into the lives of the individuals behind the names of some of the institutions in the area and the legacies they left behind.

1:00–1:50 p.m.
Governing Paradise
Sir Thomas More coined the term utopia 500 years ago to describe the ideal city. But what does it mean in the context of 21st-century urbanism, especially in a megacity like Los Angeles? This panel, moderated by architecture writer Geoff Manaugh, will look at what utopian governance might look like in today’s L.A. Participants include Santa Monica city manager Rick Cole, planning historian and USC Price School of Public Policy professor David Sloane, and Aurora Tang from the Center for Land Use Interpretation. This event is sponsored by USC’s Visions and Voices Arts and Humanities Initiative. (Part of a series of events marking the quincentennial of More's Utopia.)

2:00–2:50 p.m.
Documenting the Mundane
In this joint presentation between the California Historical Society and Tom Explores Los Angeles, CHS archivists Jaime Henderson and Marie Silva discuss their organization’s inaugural digital preservation and access project, which features 438 images of Los Angeles taken by Anton Wagner in 1932–1933 while researching the city for his dissertation. The pictures capture a wide range of Depression-era neighborhoods, industries, and socioeconomic experiences. Tom Carroll, host and creator of the webseries “Tom Explores Los Angeles,” has produced 26 episodes over the past three years, which highlight forgotten or neglected spaces in hopes of discovering what these locales can say about the city as a whole. Henderson, Silva, and Carroll will speak about their experiences documenting what some may think of as “mundane” places, but which often turn out to be more illuminating than the tourist hot spots.

3:00–3:50 p.m.
Uncovering the Hidden History of the St. Francis Dam Disaster
Historian and documentary filmmaker Jon Wilkman speaks about his new book, the result of more than twenty years of research. Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles explores the role water played in the growth of Southern California, and especially William Mulholland’s role in the purchase for the city of rights to the water in the Owens Valley. It also focuses on Mulholland’s greatest failure, the tragic collapse of the St. Francis Dam near midnight on March 12, 1928, which released a flood that took the lives of more than 400 people.

4:00–4:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Light and Sound
The California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) is growing an online research resource of historic Californiana called the California Light and Sound collection. To date, there are more than 5,300 recordings available online from 108 partner archives, libraries, and museums. The CAVPP will showcase Los Angeles gems from the CLS collection including footage from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive; USC Libraries Regional History Collection; Los Angeles Metro Library; Loyola Marymount University; LA County Natural History Museum; California Institute of Technology; Claremont Colleges; Pepperdine University; Orange County Archives; and Visual Communications. 

Intellectual Commons (room 233)

10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Personal Digital Archiving: Caring for Your “Digital Shoebox”

Today’s “digital shoebox” of family photos takes the form of USB drives and online Flickr albums. But how dependable are these tools? How does one keep these digital files useful and findable for the long-term? Mary Wahl, Digital Services Librarian at CSU Northridge, will share tips and strategies for personal digital archiving, such as identifying file types, weeding collections, using file-naming schemes, and choosing reliable storage options.

1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Preserving Memories: How to Care for Photographs and Scrapbooks from Archival Treasures to Family Heirlooms
This session will cover the identification and care of traditional photography as well as conservation tips for scrapbooks. Topics will include various film formats, print types, and guidelines for the best archival practices for long-term preservation of images. The scrapbooks section will focus on historic items and presenters will share advice about supplies, storage, care, handling, and display solutions. Presented by the Los Angeles Preservation Network, and featuring Jeff Thompson, Photo Archivist at Twentieth Century Fox and Dawn Jaros, Conservator at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Archivist for a Day

An informal drop-in workshop where attendees can learn the basics of physical preservation by working with various formats, including photographs, monographs, maps, and audio-visual materials. Participants will learn about suitable enclosures and environments for archival material, and find answers about specific preservation issues.

Academy for Polymathic Study (room 241)

9:00–10:00 a.m.
National History Day Overview: What Makes A Good History Day Project?
An overview of the National History Day (NHD) program and contest, including examples of projects and topics. Discussion will include the value teachers and students gain from archival research.

10:30–11:30 a.m.
Using Primary Sources for Student Research
This presentation will provide student researchers with the tools to locate, evaluate, request, and integrate primary sources into their history research. Discussion will include various online repositories and resources, as well as how to contact archival collections that do not have digitized material.

1:00–2:00 p.m.
Advancing Your Research Using Local SoCal Repositories
Student researchers are novice historians, looking for original materials on significant themes or relevant events, people, places, and stories. What better place to search than your own backyard? This session will feature “mini-talks” by several different local archives and will touch on the diverse topics and strengths found within their collections. Students attending will gain insight into choosing a local topic that can be tied to national themes.

2:30–3:30 p.m.
Engaging with National History Day and Student Researchers
Students engaged in the NHD competition are required to conduct research with primary source materials. This panel will include strategies for approaching and working with NHD students and teachers.


Photo credit: Rich Schmitt