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AHC Director’s Report: October 2020


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.


october 2020


Programming & Outreach

  • On September 26, Asian Pacific American Community Archivist Ayshea Khan presented Perlas ng Austin Virtual Pista, in collaboration with the Austin Filipino American Association and Asian American Resource Center. This was a virtual pre-recorded event attended by 122 and positively received: “On behalf of the AFAA organizing team, I would like to thank you for your phenomenal support in producing our virtual event. We could have not done it without your collaborative expertise of putting it all together. It was greatly enjoyed by Filipino community; they learned a lot more of our Filipino heritage.” – Susan Fifer, longtime Filipino community member and past President of the Austin Filipino American Association

Collections

  • The COVID-19 Files project continues to bring in new materials. During September there were 2 donations totaling 18 files.

  • AHC staff finished processing 3 collections, the Ziller Family Papers, the American Association of University Women, Austin Branch Records, and the Austin Public Health Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.

  • AHC received 10+ linear feet of news clippings, correspondence, photographs, sketches, drawings, artifacts, film, audio, and video recordings to add to the Ramon Galindo Video Collection (AR.2009.050). Galindo, who passed away in June of this year, was a Mexican American magician, historian, videographer, and WWII veteran who resided in Austin for most of his life.

  • AHC staff conducted two oral history interviews in September: one with local author and filmmaker Owen Egerton and the second with Alice Yi, longtime Chinese community member, founder of Austin chapter of Asian Pacific American Policy & Affairs, and chair of Austin Asian Complete Count Committee

Reference

  • The AHC’s expanded reference and e-document delivery service continues for September. We received 119 requests and completed 120 of them this month, delivering 2982 scanned items. Customers are very thankful that we started this service. Comments we have received this month:

I am a long-time user and fan of the Austin History Center from back in the early days of reading microfiche on the big crank machine. The resources and staff have always been excellent. Our most recent experiences, however, have exceeded even my high expectations. My principal and I reached out for help through the AHC website, and Kelly Hanus responded with resources and additional information within hours. Highland Park's campus Equity committee realized we needed to understand our own neighborhood and school history of segregation and racism before we could begin to address these issues with our students. Kelly researched and shared a variety of primary source materials that are enabling us to develop powerful social studies lessons for students across the grade levels. This work would not have been possible without the Austin History Center collection and Kelly's willingness to continue digging as we asked additional questions. We are grateful for the shared treasures and the impact they will have on student understanding and perspective.

  • During this time AHC staff helped with research on 2 news stories for KVUE news; new Historic Design Standards for the city’s Historic Preservation Office; an upcoming book about Juneteenth by State House Press; a story about Aqua Fest for the Statesman; a KUT/Texas Standard story about Asian Americans in Austin; and a short film by AIA Austin Women in Architecture called “A Violet Horizon.”

Staff

  • Asian Family Support Services of Austin selected Asian Pacific American community archivist Ayshea Khan as a recipient of a 2020 Lotus Award. Lotus Awards recognize excellence in service, professionalism, and innovation in finding solutions to serving immigrant and Asian survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The AFFSA “recognized your leadership and vision in creating Saheli: The Courage to Be. Your historical tribute to our founding sisters and origin story, oral histories, panel discussion, and archival exhibit at the AARC lifts up our community’s continued effort to break the cycle of violence. Your work in curating and exhibiting Saheli: The Courage to Be truly reflects AFSSA’s values of Prevention, Advocacy, Responsiveness, and Transformation; you’re truly doing your PART to join with AFSSA and lift up the power of our people.”

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