Underrepresented Groups in Archives: A Conversation About Ethics, Inclusion, and Acquisitions


Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about: Megan Fraser’s job collecting and curating a Punk Rock archive, her current work at the Research Institute for Contemporary Outlaws, the outreach necessary for inclusion, the ethics of acquisitions, the complexity of preservation concerns, and why not everything can be saved.

Our guest is: Megan Hahn Fraser has worked as the Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at The New-York Historical Society, the Library Director at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Co-Head of Collection Management at UCLA Library Special Collections in Los Angeles, and the Vice President and Marcus A. McCorison Librarian at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. Currently, she and her husband, also an archivist, are working for the Research Institute for Contemporary Outlaws, a private collection of 20th century counter-culture materials based in Los Angeles. She received her Master of Information and Library Science (with a concentration in archives management) degree from Pratt Institute in 2000, and has an undergraduate degree in history from New York University. While at UCLA in 2014, Megan founded the Los Angeles Punk Rock Archive Collective, a group of archivists and others focused on acquiring collections from musicians, artists, and fans of the punk rock scene in Southern California. She has given presentations at the Society of American Archivists annual conference, the South by Southwest Festival, the L.A. as Subject Archives Bazaar, and the Legion of Steel Metalfest and Conference. She can be found on Twitter @mmhfraser, where she talks about archives, justice, and The Clash.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, co-producer of the Academic Life. She is a historian of women and gender, and can often be found in an archive reading 19th century New England farm women’s diaries.

Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:

--UCLA Library Special Collections Punk Archive

--Research Institute for Contemporary Outlaws on Instagram

--An article on the ongoing concerns of the 1980’s case Megan references in the podcast

--the LA Times article referenced in the podcast: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-20/motorcycle-gangs-memorabilia-collector

--The branch of the Smithsonian referenced in this episode is the National Museum of the American Indian

--An article on some archival protocols discussed in this episode

--One archive’s statement on the Repatriation Act

--The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr (2005)

--The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn (2006)

--Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (2016)

--Christina and Megan’s prior discussion focusing on archival etiquette for researchers

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DM us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

Related Topics

Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
View Profile