Informative Storytelling with Provenance Research Sources




accessioning, chain of custody, finding aids, narratives, exhibit labels


Provenance has underpinned archival practice in America across the past century, guiding archivists in the arrangement, description, and accessioning of new and legacy collections. Provenance research is a necessary step taken to secure pending donations and title information, and ultimately tell the story of the object’s journey to the current possessor. Across four domains of key interest in the “Developing Extensible Methods for Provenance Research” project, we examine source-specific methods that are most useful to practitioners, and communicate them in an open educational resource (OER) meant to broaden access and awareness of provenance research among administrators and students engaging with collections. Our poster will demonstrate how archival workers seek and then combine information laboriously gathered from photographs, legal documents, and handwritten materials among other resources in creative, inventive, and engaging ways that invite visitors into stories that the objects – if only they are displayed – can tell about our shared pasts and futures. Such information sources can serve a multitude of stakeholder goals, e.g. employing datapoints about transfers and handoffs to encourage object-based learning, transparency, and accountability.






Works in Progress Posters