May Day

30 Apr

May Day, of course, is a celebration of the beginning of summer. It has roots in ancient celebrations, like the Celtic festival of Beltane, and is sometimes celebrated today with the May Pole Dance and the crowning of a May Queen, among other things.

Girls dancing the traditional Maypole Dance, taken at Davis School, circa 1905. Portraits-Peyron-Araneta Family, #62632. As always, if you’d like to purchase reproductions of any of our photographs, please contact us at ahsref@azhs.gov.

Girls dancing the traditional Maypole Dance, taken at Davis School, circa 1905. Portraits-Peyron-Araneta Family, #62632. As always, if you’d like to purchase reproductions of any of our photographs, please contact us at ahsref@azhs.gov.

However, libraries and archives have capitalized on the double meaning of May Day as a distress call (and the date’s convenient location at the end of Preservation Week), to use it as a day to raise awareness about disaster preparedness. In the archives we take all sorts of measures to ensure the longevity of our records – there are lots of things we are able to predict and expect: acid free enclosures slow deterioration of archival materials; maintaining stable environmental conditions helps protect archival materials. But we also have to be prepared for the unexpected – fire, flood, weather.  So for this year’s May Day we, along with archival institutions around the world, are taking extra steps to make sure we will be prepared in the face of a potential disaster.

At AHS-Tucson, we are observing May Day by:

-Checking the batteries in the flashlights we have placed strategically throughout the stacks in the event of a power outage.

-Continuing work on a larger scale project to create an emergency plan for all AHS Library and Archives locations

-Starting an emergency kit to be placed in the collections area.

 

Our brand new Emergency Kit!

Our brand new Emergency Kit!

Among other things, our emergency kit will include the following items:

-A copy of our emergency plan

-Plastic sheeting

-Forms for documenting recovery measures

-Pencils, clipboard

-First Aid kit

-Nitrile gloves

-Masks

Do you want to learn more about May Day and emergency plans for archives and archival collections?

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has lots of tools for creating a disaster plan and a suggested list of contents for an emergency kit.

These are just a few of the things we’re working on to ensure the safety and security of our collections. To learn more about May Day and emergency preparedness check out the SAA’s information on May Day activities and
the Council of State Archivists’ May Day information page.

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