Congratulations to our friends at Densho and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute for winning two prestigious awards from the Society of American Archivists! The extensive work these two organizations have done to diversify the historical record are invaluable. The announcement is below.
“Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project,” led by Executive Director Tom Ikeda, is the recipient of the Philip M. Hamer–Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award. The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have increased public awareness of archives documents.
The Award Committee noted that Densho’s mission, to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II, is realized in “rich and wonderful detail” on the Densho website. In addition to more than fourteen hundred hours of video testimonies, Densho created a digital archive of more than ten thousand historical images documenting Japanese American history. Further, the project includes multidisciplinary lesson plans that are made available for elementary through undergraduate students, as well as workshops that educate teachers in the use of these primary resources.
The committee expressed high regard for the “invaluable firsthand accounts of the Japanese American experience [that] document a dark period in our nation’s history that deserves to receive the thorough, compelling examination that Densho provides.”
The Hamer-Kegan Award was established in 1973 and is named for two SAA Fellows and former presidents.
The Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) Institute at New York University (NYU) is a 2013 recipient of the Diversity Award for their work in building archives documenting Asian/Pacific American (A/PA) histories in New York and on the East Coast. The award recognizes an individual, group, or institution for outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.
The A/P/A Institute offers graduate fellowships, public programming, exhibitions, and publications that promote the long-term development of diversity within the archives and the archives profession. The Institute also completes archives-building initiatives that center on conducting archival surveys of A/PA-related collections. Through the surveys, which bring graduate scholars into contact with community-based organizations and individuals, the Institute has been able to map and create a record of the documentation available on East Coast A/PA history, share information about A/PA-related collections on its project website, and facilitate the donation of A/PA collections to archival repositories. Visit http://dlibdev.nyu.edu/tamimentapa/ to view the results of the surveys.
One recommender noted that A/P/A “has truly transformed activists into archivists and archivists into activists. It views the archive not as an isolated space ensconced in an academic institution, but rather as a living site of memory that must contribute to the community.”