Celebrating Our Volunteers

This week we had an opportunity to honor volunteers who contributed more than 100 hours of their time to the National Archives this year in our Washington and College Park locations—295 volunteers who contributed 42,284 hours! These amazing numbers demonstrate their love of history and the work that we do.

A parade of staff supervisors took the stage to brag about the work of their volunteers who wrote hundreds of item-level descriptions, created thousands of photo captions, scanned tens of thousands of files, indexed tens of thousands of records, inventoried rows of stacks, answered researchers’ questions, improved access to our online holding, and even used social media to broadcast information about our records. Some wrote articles for our Prologue magazine as well as blog posts about the records and some presented lectures to the public.

The work of our volunteers leads to a better understanding of our records and better service to our users. In particular, this year volunteers shed light on the records of Fort Monroe, the Army Signal Corps color photographs from Vietnam, the military service of Marine dogs in World War II, the role of Clara Barton and the Missing Soldiers Office during the Civil War, the Brooklyn Navy Yard glass plate negatives, the preservation status of our diplomatic cables from the 1930s to the 60s, and the relationship between the FBI and the Secret Service in the 1930s.

While we were honoring Washington area contributions this week, I also want to acknowledge the same kind of volunteer work that goes on in our 44 facilities around the country. I am so thankful for the work that our volunteers do and so proud to acknowledge them as members of the National Archives family.

One thought on “Celebrating Our Volunteers

  1. I am the first volunteer at the St. Louis area National Archives and Records Administration, specifically in the Research Room. I adore history, our rich cultural heritage, the many “faces” in the stories of bravery and sacrifice and even those who failed to meet the standards of our country’s proud military history. My father, a history major, used to drag me all over the Midwest, South, and the Northeast, visiting museums, stopping at roadside attractions of historical significance, & anything else of value. I come from a family that I had formerly assumed to contain a mere handful of members to one that stretches beyond the last 200 years and spans several continents, thanks to the ancestral research of a beloved aunt and many others which culminated in a gloriously thick written account of my family tree and all of its known members. I have always adored history, but now the passion runs deeper than ever with the new profound privilege of aiding the staff here in St. Louis, the many researchers, & everyone I encounter along the way! I am learning new skills & embracing challenges never before imagined. Thank YOU, NARA!

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