On July 15th Delaware Public Archives Director and State Archivist Stephen Marz presented “Treasures of the Delaware Public Archives” at the National Association of Secretaries of State’s summer conference in Baltimore. The session, “Docs That Rock: A Closer Look at Storytelling and Public Outreach with State Archives Treasures,” explored how state archives are using their holdings to promote the history and heritage of their states. Mr. Marz presented some of DPA’s most treasured holdings, including the Royal Charter and Ratification Document, and described how DPA uses its collections to promote events and anniversaries at the state and national level. “Using primary source material to offer historic context to events is a great way to market the resources of your state. It also offers a fresh take on yearly events,” said Mr. Marz. “Promote your present by discovering your past.”
While the major historic documents in DPA’s holdings are often identified as the most important, Mr. Marz described what he calls the “Oh My God” moment that researchers experience when they discover something new. These instances of discovery are usually born from collections that aren’t explicitly dynamic like vital statistics, newspapers and deed records. “What we often identify as a ‘treasure’ might not be the most valuable document to researchers. Their values, interests and research dictate what a treasure is, and we have to celebrate those everyday moments of discovery,” said Mr. Marz.
Mr. Marz described how DPA is using social media to reach patrons beyond its physical walls and emphasized the importance of cultivating interest in younger generations of researchers by engaging them where they spend time online. Mr. Marz shared the stage with the Hon. Secretaries of State from Rhode Island and Tennessee and the session was moderated by the Hon. Tom Schedler, Secretary of State, Louisiana.