AHC Director’s Report: February 2021
Mike Miller is the Manager of the Austin History Center, a 14-person, $1.2 million division of the Austin Public Library, with responsibility for personnel, planning, and fiscal aspects. He represents the Austin History Center before library, city, and community groups. Miller writes, speaks and consults about Austin history, managing local history collections, and preservation of historical materials.
Programming & Outreach
On January 31, Asian Pacific American Community Archivist Ayshea Khan presented “Stories from the South: A Family Archiving Workshop” event hosted by AHC and the Asian American Resource Center. Attendees had praise for the event, such as “Thank you all for this wonderful event and sharing your knowledge with us!”
On January 9, AHC Manager gave a presentation on the history of Austin and its governance for the ATXelerator program of the Center for Austin’s Future.
January was a month for dance related donations to the AHC. Organizational records of Let’s Dance Ballroom Dance Club, a local social dance club, were donated to the archives. The collection of photos, administrative records, correspondence, memorabilia, and publicity material documents the club from 1990-2020. AHC also received addition to the Austin Ballet archives.
The AHC’s expanded reference and e-document delivery service received 86 requests and completed 67 this month, delivering 3069 scanned items to researchers. While research topics vary, some of our efforts can have a profound personal affect, as evidenced by the following feedback:
“You have been fantastic. My first husband … was there. He passed away in December and his obituary mentioned how proud he was to have been there in 1976 when TRACOR, his employer, was ringing the bell. I plan on giving this information to our son who did not know that story.”
“I appreciate your assistance and I’ve found my family we having a zoom call this weekend so I can meet them majority still live in Texas. They are happy to meet me. I never thought this was possible as I was going to give up.”
During this time AHC staff helped a researcher from the Texas Historical Commission working on a piece about the Tuberculosis Sanitarium; an author research municipal airport history for an Arcadia book; CBS Austin on stories about Volma Overton, Ann Richards, and the Goddess of Liberty. AHC is also working on a large capstone project with UT History Department to do research for a series of oral histories and contributed items and information for exhibits at the Bullock Texas History Museum, Eastwoods Park, Oakwood Cemetery, and the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (NY).