Take Local History Home With You

The Host Committee would like to thank attendees for making the 2018 CoSA/NAGARA/SAA such a resounding success. As a finale to our blog, we would like to share a list of some of the best DC-area local history Facebook groups compiled by local history aficionado and librarian, Ryan Shepard. Be sure to check out the group Ryan helps to administer, Old Time DC.

Elevation looking northeast – National Mall Jefferson Elm, Washington, DC http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/dc1033/

Countdown to the Conference

It’s hard to believe that in only a few days we’ll be gathering together for the conference! We’re looking forward to seeing the more than 2200 attendees and welcoming you to D.C.

We wanted to give you a few final pointers and reminders to insure you have a wonderful time.

  1. Unfortunately WMATA decided to start major track work the weekend before our conference. Starting on August 11th Metro’s Orange and Silver lines will be single-tracking between McPherson Square and Smithsonian with trains running every twenty minutes even during rush hour. In addition the Blue line will only run from Franconia-Springfield to Arlington Cemetery. This is on top of on-going Red Line work where no trains are running between Fort Totten and NoMA- Gallaudet University. As John Martinez and Casey Coleman told you in their recent post keep an eye on Metro’s status and alerts pages and follow WMATA’s twitter feed.

Here are a few additional suggestions:

-If you are flying into National Airport use the Yellow Line to get into the City. You can transfer at Gallery Place to get the Red Line train to the hotel.

-Use the DC Circulator. The Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square Metro bus stops at the bottom of the hill by the hotel. Not only can you use this to get you to Adams Morgan, it also stops at the Columbia Heights Metro stop where you can pick up the Green and Yellow lines which will get you to the National Mall and to the Nationals Stadium. You can use the Circulator to get to other places around downtown DC and to Union Station. Plus it only costs $1.

-Also try WMATA’s trip planner where you can get help with which buses will get you around the problem areas. Buses are $2 and you can use your Smart Trip or cash.

-Consider walking to your destination. Washington is a surprisingly compact city.

-Finally, pack your patience. Trains and buses will be extra crowded due to Metro construction. Leave yourself lots of time to get around. Hopefully the image of Frances Benjamin Johnston provided below will be a reminder to you to be calm and find the peace within as you travel around next week.

  1. This summer’s weather has been one for the record book. According to the Capital Weather Gang this past July was the 4th wettest in history and the rainiest since July 2015. And it only rained the second half of the month!  According to the current (as of 8/10/18) ten day forecast there is rain forecast this coming Saturday to Tuesday and then partly cloudy skies next Wednesday through Saturday with temperatures hovering around 90. However Washington is well known for changeable weather.
    As Mandie Vasquez said in her post be prepared for everything. And make sure to bring a wrap or sweater to deal with the over-air conditioned rooms.
  2. We hope you get out and explore in spite of the weather and Metro difficulties. The Host Committee blog is full of all kinds of recommendations of restaurants to try, places to visit, venues to listen to music and if you’re interested a place to get a tattoo to commemorate your trip to DC. Plus there are lots of tours of repositories available. Get out and see what your colleagues are doing in their work places.
  3. If you’re looking to give back you can still contact Katie Seitz and find out if there is space available to participate in the service project at the DC Archives. If you want to volunteer without leaving the hotel there will be a box available to put in supplies for Knine Rescue. If you want to give a financial donation to support Knine Rescue please bring that to the registration desk.
  4. If you are a knitter or crocheter you can leave completed 7” x 9” squares for Warm Up America in the box next to the one for Knine Rescue. Didn’t bring any supplies with you? There will be yarn, crochet hooks and knitting needles available to take with you to a session where you can knit or crochet a square and bring it back when the square is done. Don’t know how to knit or crochet and want to learn? Or just want to gather with other crafters? Join us in the hotel lobby on Wednesday, August 15th at 7:30pm for a crafty gathering.

We’re looking forward to seeing you next week. We’ll be the ones wearing the sparkling Host Committee ribbons.  Say hello and let us know if you have any DC related questions.

GIVE BACK at SAA 2018: The National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives has had a banner year!

By Eve Neiger, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect for the Preservation Section and member of the NDRFA Grant Review Committee

The National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives (NDRFA) has been hard at work this past year with a total of nine grants approved in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. The Fall 2017 hurricane season hit the mid-Atlantic region hard and our colleagues in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are still working on recovery efforts and struggling with intermittent or no power and a lack of services, as they prepare for another hurricane season. The Preservation Section and the NDRFA Grant Review Committee need your help to shore up the NDRFA fund so we can continue to award grants to repositories in need.
Click here for ways to help!


In September 2005, the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Society of American Archivists created the SSA-SAA Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Fund—a fund established to address the stabilization and recovery needs of archival repositories affected by Hurricane Katrina. In October 2005, the Fund was expanded to include repositories affected by Hurricane Rita. Both SAA and SSA provided $5,000 in “seed” money to establish the Fund.

Working together, SSA and SAA expanded the original scope of the Fund to provide grants that support the recovery of archival collections from major disasters, regardless of region or repository type.

Any repository that holds archival records or special collections is eligible to apply for a grant and the repository need not be a member of SSA or SAA. Grant monies may be used for the direct recovery of damaged or at-risk archival materials; such services as freeze drying, storage, transportation of materials, and rental facilities; supplies, including acid-free boxes and folders, storage cartons, cleaning materials, plastic milk crates, and protective gear; and to defray the costs for volunteers or other laborers who assist with the recovery. This year, the amount of grant awards has been increased from $2,000 to $5,000 so that grants can have a greater impact on institutions recovering from disasters.

There has been a steady stream of grant applications in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. A record fourteen applications were received between September 2017 and May 2018, the majority from Puerto Rico with three from the Virgin Islands, one from Mexico, and one from Texas. A total of nine grants have been awarded this year so far with four grants still pending.

After grants are received, recipients are required to provide a report detailing their use of grant funds. With their grant, the Historic Municipal Archive of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Autonomous Municipality of Caguas, Puerto Rico, replaced damaged archival housings and stabilized their storage environment with the help of two dehumidifiers and a thermo-hygrometer. In their report, sent at the end of May, they stated:

“The Historic Municipal Archive has regained its normal working schedule. Since January, we have attended 652 information requests from students, teachers, investigators, and professors. The assistance provided by the Society of American Archivists has played a vital role in the recovery efforts of the archive.”

For the last decade, the Preservation Section has run annual fundraising efforts for the NDRFA. In 2015, the section started a new tradition of raising funds through an annual Silent Auction featuring donations from colleagues across the country. This first auction, at the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, OH, raised $1,185. Since that inaugural auction, we continue to support the NDRFA through increased donations and fundraising each year. The auction raised $1,750 in 2016 with 40 donations in Atlanta, GA and we broke our goal of $2,000 last year in Portland, OR with a total of $2,037 raised towards the NDRFA.


Popular items at the 2017 Preservation Section Silent Auction in Portland, OR. Photo by Neiger.

We are hoping that this year’s auction will continue the pattern of growth that we have established over the last few years. With this year’s conference registration numbers reaching a record high, we are optimistic that we can raise more funds this year than we have in past years. A successful silent auction is needed more than ever since we awarded so many grants this year to institutions in need.

This year’s Preservation Section Silent auction will take place on Thursday and Friday, August 16th and 17th at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. We will be set up on the Lobby Level right near the SAA Bookstore. Please stop by, peruse our fantastic selection of items, and BID, BID, BID! Bidding opens at 9am on Thursday August 16th and closes at 3:30pm on Friday August 17th.

We have some fantastic donations promised this year with more to come. In fact, a number of donations to this year’s auction come from our colleagues in Puerto Rico, some from institutions who have benefited from grants in the past year. It is moments like these that make me grateful to be a member of a professional community that is so dedicated to giving back. We may contribute daily in obvious or more subtle ways to the preservation and dissemination of information, but it is when we come together as a community to hold each other up in times of loss, and join hands to rebuild and support community repositories, that our professional community really shines.

In this spirit of community giving, please join us by supporting the auction! It’s not too late! Thank you for supporting the National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives!


The Preservation Section invites you to contribute an item to the auction! We are looking for items from either repositories or regions that you feel might be interesting to others. The only parameter that we have is that the item MUST be able to be packed in either a carry-on or checked bag.

Popular items from last year’s silent auction include:
Regional food and drink (alcohol is quite welcome, and very popular!)
• Repository T-Shirt, tote bag, etc.
• Art
• Handmade items (hand knitted and handcrafted bags are especially popular!)
• Repository publications (though heavier books are less popular and harder to take home!)

*NEW THIS YEAR* Please fill out this Google form to commit a donation to the auction: https://goo.gl/forms/Pmrp2vkJtwuXk06A3

We ask that you bring the donated item with you to the conference and drop it off at the auction table Wednesday 8/15 between 6-6:30pm or Thursday 8/16 between 7:30-9am.

If you have any questions about the auction, please contact Eve Neiger at eve.neiger@yale.edu



Bid, bid bid! Visit the Silent Auction Table on the Lobby Level of the Marriott Wardman Park in D.C. on Thursday August 16th and Friday August 17th to bid on auction items! Bidding is open Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-3:30pm. Make sure to get your bid in right before bidding closes to guarantee a win!

Donate directly to the NDRFA fund! Visit the SAA Foundation donation page to donate funds directly to the NDRFA https://saa.archivists.org/4DCGI/donate/form.html

We look forward to seeing you in D.C.!

For more information about the NDRFA visit: https://www2.archivists.org/news/2008/national-disaster-recovery-fund-for-archives

Thanks to the National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives grant committee members: Rebecca Elder, Dick Cameron, Daniel McCormack, Eve Neiger, Melissa Torres, and Julie Yamashita. Miriam Meislik currently serves as chair. A special thank you and shout-out to Felicia Owens for her amazing support!

Thanks, also, to the Preservation Section members and Steering Committee with a special thanks to Section Chair Janet Carleton!

“Track Work Ahead!”: How Metro Construction May Impact Your Travel Plans

By John Martinez and Casey Coleman, Host Committee Members

Starting this Saturday, August 11, Metro will have major disruptions to service on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines. This construction will compound ongoing issues from station closures on the east side of the Red Line. All told, limits on Metro service may disrupt your travel plans during our conference and will cause crowded trains throughout the system.

An immediate affect of the construction will be experienced by conference attendees travelling on Metro from Washington National Airport to the conference hotel. Blue Line trains will only operate between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery, so you should take Yellow Line trains from the airport into downtown Washington in order to switch trains at Gallery Place and continue to the Woodley Park station on the Red Line.

We recommend that attendees bookmark Metro’s Status and Alerts page and follow @wmata on Twitter to keep apprised of the latest alerts and affected service. Regardless of how you travel to and from the conference, please give yourself plenty of time and remember to be safe.


Dining with Dietary Restrictions, DC Edition, Part II

By Esther Hidalgo and Charlotte Sturm, Host Committee Members


Sit-Down Dining

Welcome back for Part 2 of our mission report: Sit-Down Dining. While seeming to favor Jose Andres establishments and those serving small plates in this post, we can confirm that all of these dining establishments are quite considerate when it comes to accommodating dietary restrictions of whatever persuasion, and the food offerings are delicious.

Lebanese taverna.pngLebanese Taverna Restaurant

For classic and contemporary takes on Lebanese cuisine, try Lebanese Taverna, which is conveniently located near the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel at 2641 Connecticut Ave. NW. The vegetarian-friendly menu offers a range of dining options, including a Hommus Bar, Mezza (small, shareable plates), sandwiches, and full entrees. Diners can also easily identify items that are gluten free (marked “GF” on the menu), as well as which meat dishes are certified halal (“H”). Gluten free diners may also request spiced rice as a replacement for non-gluten free sides. If in doubt, we recommend the salad bar offerings which are mostly raw and highly modifiable.

Barcelona_FF_042-383x258.jpgBarcelona Wine Bar

Serving delectable Spanish tapas dishes and willing to cater to any and all food allergies, sensitivities, and special needs, we cannot recommend Barcelona highly enough. Located at 1622 14th St NW, DC, this popular dining spot is large enough that reservations are probably not necessary during the week. Upon arriving, we quickly informed our server of our diner’s food allergies and sensitivities, and the wait and kitchen staff took great care to accommodate our diner’s food allergies and sensitivities, marking up a menu with allowable options and possible cross-contamination. Allow approximately 15 extra minutes for this process. Fear not – once you have your custom menu and place your order, the food arrives very quickly and you won’t be disappointed. Chorizo with sweet and sour figs was the favorite dish of the night, while the heirloom carrots on a bed of orange yogurt were sweet with a lovely tang; those who can consume tree nuts may wish for more pistachios to garnish the top of this dish.


Oyamel Cocina Mexicana YOA2R_Mk_400x400.jpg

Oyamel, located in the Penn Quarter section of DC at 401 7th St NW, is another Jose Andres establishment that hits the mark. The interior are inspired by Mexico City’s urban vibe, and the menu features vegetarian-friendly small plates, entrees, and traditional Mexican tacos, which are prepared with corn tortillas. The customer service is exceptional; servers and the bar staff are courteous, very knowledgeable about menu ingredients, and willing to discuss ordering options and modifications. Adventurous diners may wish to try their delicious Chapulines tacos filled with perfectly seasoned and sautéed grasshoppers.


Zaytinya, situated at 701 9th Street NW, specializes in Eastern Mediterranean fare, referred to as meze, which means small plates meant to be shared. The theme and atmosphere cultivate a convivial dining experience. The dishes, many of which are modifiable, are delicious and beautifully plated. The staff is courteous, professional, and seem accustomed to serving diners with dietary restrictions. The server was unfazed when our diner with dietary restrictions unfurled the sacred scroll which listed all of her food allergies.


Also of Note

Whether you are craving a specific organic grocery item or wanting to stock your hotel refrigerator with a few snacks, the closest Whole Foods grocery store is located at 1440 P Street NW.


Honorable Mentions

Although our diners did not make it to these restaurants, they are recommended by other experienced diners with restrictions, and they are highly rated on the Find Me Gluten Free app. They may also suit other special dietary needs.

  • Commissary DC (Multi-Ethnic), 1443 P Street NW (Also Dairy Free and Vegan Friendly)


Mission Accomplished, and Bon Appétit!

Do you have a favorite DC-area restaurant that is also friendly to diners with restrictions? Let the diners and your fellow conference attendees know in the comments below!