In 2014 Historic Seattle launched a program titled “Digging Deeper – Built Heritage.” The multi-session program was designed to provide attendees with behind-the-scenes insight to primary research materials in archives and libraries in Seattle and King County. The first session was held in February 2014 at the Dearborn House in the Patsy Fleck MacKay Library. Subsequent tours took place, one each month, at the Special Collections Division of the University of Washington, Sophie Frye Bass Library–MOHAI Resource Center, National Archives at Seattle, Seattle Municipal Archives, Seattle Room at the Seattle Public Library, Puget Sound Regional Archives, and concluded at the King County Archives.
In 2015 we again offered archive tours, this time to Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Department of Planning & Development, UW Built Environment Library, Fiske Genealogical Library, Washington State Historical Society History Research Center, Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room, Eastside Heritage Center and Providence Mt. St. Vincent Archives.
The program has been very successful! We received very positive feedback from both tour participants and from the archival staff that hosted visits. The program was even reported on at a joint AKCHO-SeaAA (Seattle Area Archivists) meeting in February 2014, as a “good example of a cultural organization promoting (and to some extent demystifying) the use of archives in research.”
In 2016 we will again offer the Digging Deeper Series, this time with a new set of archives and two workshops. Each month we’ll visit a selected archive or library and receive expert advice as to what is available and how staff can assist with research projects. The first site visit is scheduled for Saturday, February 6th with a visit to the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive in Burien. It is a volunteer-run archive and an independent, non-profit educational organization formed in 1981 to collect, preserve and disseminate information about the Northern Pacific Railway. This is one tour not to be missed.
In the following months, March through September, we will be visiting these archives / libraries:
UW Special Collections: Sat, March 12
Seattle Theatre Group: Sat, April 9
Ballard Historical Society: Sat, May 7
Built Heritage Research Using Land Ownership Records: Sat, July 9
Redmond Historical Society, Sat, August 13
Analyze Your Built Environment, an Observational Approach Sat, Sept 24 (Note: this is a change in date from what is listed in the printed program)
You can learn more about the entire series and sign up to attend on our website.
Photo: Luci Baker Johnson