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Find Your Regional Branch!
Curious about this photo?  Find this and many more at the Digital Archives!  Click here for more details.

Come Tour the Washington State Archives in Olympia!

Available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am or  2 pm, these 45 minute, behind-the-scenes tours give you a glimpse at what archivists do for the State of Washington! 

For more info, email Maggie Cogswell, Assistant Research Archivist or call (360) 586-4898.
We want to hear YOUR stories from the past 125 years!

Washington became a state on
November 11, 1889. 

Is your community planning events celebrating Washington's birthday?  If so, let us know!  Need suggestions for ways to commemorate the anniversary?  Find out what was done for the Centennial Celebration in 1989 here.

For more information, visit Washington 125
or contact
 Susan Rohrer here by email or at (360) 753-2580.
Social Media and the WA State Archives

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Keep up with cool daily finds from the collections across the state.

Myths in Records Management

For the next several editions, we'd like to spend some time focusing on the ever-evolving world of Records Management.  As business becomes increasingly digital (and amasses ever-increasing volumes of records), the tasks before our records managers seem daunting. 

Fortunately, they understand how overwhelming proper records management can seem to those charged with caring for and disposing of records created during the daily activities of doing business.

Join us in dispelling some of the myths that prevail when dealing with digital records.

Click here to read Myth #1.
And check back next time for more good news from RM! 
Each year, Washington State middle and high school students participate and excel in the National History Day competition, making us proud. This year was no exception!  View the 2014 Special Award Winners who were honored in a presentation at the Olympia Branch on May 29 Congrats to all who participated!
Firefighting Records: An Intern's Perspective 

For the past several months, Paul Donnay has been an intern
at the Eastern Regional Branch of the WSA.  His efforts resulted in the processing of a collection of Spokane Municipal Fire Department records.  Read here about his observations and one touching result of his hard work! pr

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June/July 2014
Main Archives Inundated by Flood Waters
The shiny Research Room floor is actually a pool of water on the blue carpeting.  Note the reflection of the archives box and ceiling lighting fixtures on the surface of the water. 
Contributed by Steve Excell, State Archivist

While movie-goers were flocking to the theaters to see the newly-released movie Noah, the main State Archives building was dealing with a major flood of its own.  On Friday, April 25th, a supply-hose broke loose under the staff's lunchroom sink.  Security video shows that water started gushing at 4 o'clock that morning.

By the time our first employee arrived at 7:15 a.m., the Research Room floor was covered with 1 1/2 inches of water.  Staff work areas were soaked.  Water was pouring onto collections stored on the floor below.  The Olympia Fire Department, the Department of Enterprise services, agency IT personnel, and Archives and Records Center staff responded immediately.  They vacuumed up the standing water, rescued computer equipment, and covered the records on the floor below.  All wet records were rescued, dried out, and, most importantly, no records were lost.  While it took a month to repair the building, the Archives reopened to researchers after a three-day closure. 

Researchers huddled close together in our small conference room for about a month while repairs were underway.  Had the flood occurred over a weekend, the damage would have been much worse.  A big "Thank You" goes to all who responded to the emergency!   
Ghost Signs in Spokane
Northwest Archivists Conference

Contributed by Larry Cebula, Assistant Digital Archivist/EWU Public History Professor

The NWA Conference in Spokane (May 22-24) was a great professional networking opportunity.  Washington State Archives staff took part in numerous sessions, sharing what we have learned with archivists from Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia.

One of the more unusual conference sessions was created by two student-employees of the State Archives, Anna Harbine and Frank Oesterheld.  Graduate students in public history at Eastern Washington University, Frank and Anna created and led a tour of Spokane's "ghost signs."  Frank and Anna literally took their research to the streets.
What are ghost signs?  They are faded, painted signs on the sides of buildings, often for products and business that no longer exist, and are a fun way to study the history of a city.  Click here to see more images and to learn about how you can take this tour virtually.
Books from the Archives, Episode Two
Contributed by Terry Badger, Deputy State Archivist
Perhaps one of the most creative ideas for a book that I have seen in the last few years was dreamed up by Lorraine McConaghy.  New Land, North of the Columbia: Historical Documents that Tell the Story of Washington State from Territory to Today, presents  a journey through history using a selection of documents found in archives large and small throughout the state.

Ms. McConaghy spent a year traveling the State looking for documents held by archives and libraries accessible to the public that would be of interest to us.  We are honored to be a part of this excellent publication. 

These documents, as Ms. McConaghy explains, "are rich sources of information about the ordinary people who lived everyday lives in the past." If this piques your interest, please look for Ms. McConaghy's book or come to to the Archives to explore.  You will find countless interesting documents for yourself!
Art in the Archives
Art Appreciation in the Washington State Archives Collection

Contributed by Angela Yoder

Once upon a time there was modern art hanging in the classically designed Legislative Building in Olympia.  Two dynamic artists were commissioned by the state in 1981 to create new public artworks that would hang in the lunette areas of the House and Senate.  What happened to this artwork?  It involves a court battle and questions of freedom of expression!  Check out the whole story here.
The State Archives holds the entire court case and is available for your viewing.  This is just one more example of the stories that we hold, for you.  Come visit us; make an appointment to do some of your own investigating of state history. 
"Like Sands Through the Hourglass..." so, too, are the soap operas in the Archives 
From the ongoing "Adventures in Research" Series
by Tracy Rebstock

Tracy routinely receives phone calls from researchers attempting to piece together details from family histories that have misplaced major plot points in the stories.  Sometimes the searches prove to be futile.  But sometimes, the results lead to even more unanswered, but intriguing questions.  Such is the case here.

In April 2014, Tracy received a request concerning a brother and sister who moved from Wisconsin to Clarke (now Clark) County, Washington.  The holdings at the Southwest Regional Branch led Tracy and the interested family member on a bizarre hunt for the truth.

What's New Online?  Work study program helps increase digital collections.
Contributed by Mary Hammer, Digital Projects Archivist--Washington State Archives 

The work study program has been a helpful asset to the State Archives. Students from the program work on a wide range of projects, including reboxing and refoldering for preservation, and digitization for online access. Constant intake of records does not leave archivists with as much time they would like to spend on such projects, so students help us immensely with this workload. One of our students, Channarong Sok, has been digitizing barber license applications from the 1930s to the 1950s for online access. Channa is studying accounting at South Puget Sound Community College, and has been an excellent addition to our Archives team.  Click here to learn more about this collection and Channa's impressions of working in the Archives.  

New Legacy Washington  Exhibit Coming Soon--Find out how you can help!

by Laura Mott,
Director of Development

As we prepare to celebrate Washington's 125th anniversary of statehood, we are looking to our supporters for assistance with our upcoming exhibit.  You can help!

A year of big dreams, big burns and big politics, 1889 captured a place in our history as a time of great prosperity and adversity.  The face of Washington changed.  Pioneers settled the land and townsfolk rebuilt from the rubble.  Finally, on November 11, 1889, Washington rose as the 42nd state in the Union.

News from the OSOS Blog
Stories from the Archives...

The Office of the Secretary of State routinely updates a blog entitled "From Our Corner,"  in order to provide from-the-source information about important state news and public services.  Often, stories of note from the Archives are included on this page.

We hope you've enjoyed this edition of
"Out of the Archives!"

Steve Excell, Washington State Archivist | |
Telephone: (360) 586-1492
1129 Washington St. SE
  Olympia, WA 98504-0238
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