Open Archives Tour

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For the fifth year in a row, Cambridge archives will open their doors and invite the public in to see the rare items that are rarely seen. “Working in local history you get to know all sorts of cool places that have amazing resources,” said Gavin W. Kleespies, director of the Cambridge Historical Society, “but most people never get inside these institutions or only know of a few of them. Our city is full of archival collections of photos, letters, and diaries that are breath taking, shocking, and comic-and they are all in the city of Cambridge. This is an opportunity for anyone who is interested to glimpse items from world class archives and talk with the experts who know these collections. ”

Residents and visitors will be given the opportunity to visit thirteen institutions in this year’s Open Archives program, including eight archives that have never participated before.

This year’s theme is Spaces: Sacred and Profane, and each archive will interpret this in their own way and delve into their collections to display materials, including photographs, correspondence, ephemera, and more that relate to that theme.

“This is the largest archives tour in America and one of the only archives tours open to people who do not work in libraries or museums.” continued Gavin. “Last year we saw Julia Child’s Emmy, a lock of Amelia Earhart’s hair, an x-ray of a Picasso sculpture, manuscripts from W.E.B. Du Bois, a real John Hancock signature, and posters advertising the Byrds’s concert at MIT. It is an amazing set of tours.”

·         City Collections: Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Room of the Public Library, Cambridge Public Works Department
June 17, 5:00 to 8:00 pm

·         Harvard Collections: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Property Information Resource Center (PIRC), Harvard University Archives
June 18, 3:00-6:00 pm

·         Religious Collections: Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Christ Church, First Church in Cambridge, Congregational
June 19, 4:00-7:00 pm

·         MIT Collections: MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections, MIT Rotch Library
June 20, 3:00-6:00 pm

·         Ask-an-Archivist and Freemasons’ Lodge Collection: Bring materials from your personal collections and ask an archivist for suggestions as to the care of the item. Archivists from the Cambridge Historical Society, Harvard, MIT, and the National Park Service will participate.
June 21, 3:00-6:00 pm