Recent events at the Innovation Hub

Since the Innovation Hub opened in July 2015, many visitors and volunteers have passed through its doors to scan documents from our holdings, attend presentations and conferences, and participate in brainstorming sessions as well as scanathons and editathons.

The Innovation Hub accomplishes an important part of NARA’s mission to make access happen through digitization, and also serves as an important event space to bring together both internal and external stakeholders for collaborative activities and cooperative learning. In 2019, the Innovation Hub hosted more than 130 events with a total in-person attendance of 2,331. 

Recently, we welcomed two student groups to the Innovation Hub who were interested in learning more about the work of the National Archives, how to conduct research, and ways to participate in scanning documents to make them more accessible online. 

Applied History students outside the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of @wshs_applied_history

Students in Brian Heintz’s Applied History class from West Springfield High School spend the school year learning about and visiting various institutions that interpret and present history. The information they learn during their visits prepares them for future internships at various institutions. During their visit to the National Archives Innovation Hub, their goals were to visit the museum side of the Archives, learn about conducting research, and scan original documents to learn about hands-on work that we do to make our records available online. During their visit, they scanned 1,627 pages of Compiled Military Service Records! These records will be available online in the National Archives Catalog in just a few weeks.

Students in the National Archives Innovation Hub. Photo by Catherine Brandsen

Additionally, the University of Maryland’s Student Archivists of Maryland, an organization of graduate students studying archival science, visited the Innovation Hub to learn more about our process for metadata collection and uploading digital files to the Catalog, while participating in a hands-on scanning event. Together they scanned 6 pension files of Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Scouts. One student even found a photo within the file! 

Photo found within pension files of Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Scouts at the National Archives Innovation Hub. Photo by Catherine Brandsen

I am proud to welcome these groups through our doors to share the important work being accomplished at the National Archives, and for the opportunity it affords to participate in conversations emphasizing the relevance of history and the historical record. Together we are raising awareness of the value of archives and archivists, and pursuing a path to elevate history to a greater role in our community and our nation.

Learn more about the Innovation Hub on our website. 

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