MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Day of Service

The NEA/MARAC joint Spring Meeting in Boston presents an opportunity for both organizations to introduce their traditions to one another.  One of these opportunities is a relatively new NEA tradition of a community service day.   Finding its roots in the 40th anniversary celebration of NEA two years ago, the community service day looks to give members an opportunity to give back to the community hosting the meeting.  
In Boston NEA and MARAC will team up to assist Boston Public Library’s Boston Pictorial Archive.  The repository is one of BPL’s Collections of Distinction and contains over 6,000 images of historic Boston.  Prints date from the 1850s to the 1990s and include photographs, lithographs, etchings and engravings, water colors, pen and ink drawings and pencil sketches.  
This year’s Day of Service event takes place on Thursday, March 19th from 9am to 4pm.  Volunteers will work in hour and a half shifts at the BPL to convert addresses into geo-coordinates using Google maps. The resulting efforts will locate historical images of Boston on a map tool in, the statewide repository system for digital collections across the Commonwealth. Digital Commonwealth is also a service hub of the Digital Public Library of America. 
The goal of the Day of Service is to provide a great opportunity for members of both MARAC and NEA to network all while giving back to the community and getting rare hands-on access to an impressive collection!  If you are interested in volunteering please use this Google form,, to do so but hurry as slots are filling up quickly!  The deadline for volunteering is March 6, 2015.  The Day of Service committee will contact all volunteers to confirm details.  After volunteer slots fill up, the committee will maintain a waiting list of interested parties.
Please contact with any questions you may have and be sure to stay tuned after the meeting to see how the day went!  Thank you for your interest in this community service project!
Image: Black, James Wallace, photographer. “Boston, as the Eagle and Wild Goose See It”. Photograph.  Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library, Boston Pictorial Archive, 1860. (Accessed February, 6 2015)

Boston Guide for the MARAC/NEA 2015 Spring Conference

In preparation for the MARAC/NEA 2015 conference in Boston your Local Arrangements Committee will be writing blog posts about Boston dining, transportation, local attractions, and more. As more posts are written, we’ll update this outline with links. 
  • For Students and/or New Members

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Running in Boston

Many thank to Caitlin Birch (, @preserCAITion) for this post.

If you’re a runner planning to attend the joint meeting of MARAC and NEA this spring, you’re in luck — you’d be hard-pressed to find a more runner-friendly city than Boston, or a more exciting time to visit than March, when marathon preparations are in full swing. But if you’re lacing up your running shoes for the first time in Boston, you may be wondering where to go, when to run, what to take, and the all-important how to dress. Read on for tips and routes, and get ready to hit the road!
(Photo by Dan4th Nicholas, Flickr Creative Commons
Pro Tips:
          Avoid the dark. At conference time, you’ll have about 12 hours of daylight — schedule your run between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to take advantage of it.
          Mind the rush hours. If you’re running just before or after the day’s events, brace for busy sidewalks.
          Plan for cold. Boston is still quite wintery in March, so bring layers, and don’t forget gloves and a hat or headband to warm your ears.
          Tote your T pass. If you get lost or overambitious on your run, you’ll be glad for the help of a quick ride.
          Snap some pics. The best way to see Boston is on foot, so take your smartphone along and Instagram those views (with conference hashtag, of course: #maracnea15).
          Run with friends. See the end of this post for a group fun run!*
          Diversify your exercise. Check out for cycling opportunities, and if you’re a member of the YMCA where you live, visit see how you can use the YMCA of Greater Boston while you’re in town. Want to pair running with history? I can’t recommend the guided Freedom Trail Run highly enough:
Running Routes:
Map of 5k route
Highlights: Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Boston Public Library, Boston Marathon Finish Line, Copley Square
Highlights: Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Esplanade, Charles River, Museum of Science, Harvard Bridge, Boston Public Library, Boston Marathon Finish Line, Copley Square
Highlights: Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Boston Harbor, Faneuil Hall, Boston City Hall, Museum of Science, Charles River, Harvard Bridge, Fenway Park, Emerald Necklace, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library, Boston Marathon Finish Line, Copley Square
Highlights: Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Boston Harbor, Castle Island, Faneuil Hall, Boston City Hall, Museum of Science, Charles River, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Bridge, Fenway Park, Emerald Necklace, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library, Boston Marathon Finish Line, Copley Square
*Group Fun Run:
This year, I’m instituting what I hope will become tradition at the NEA Spring Meeting: #NEA5K. The idea is that each year, we’ll map 3.1 miles out in the host city and share the route in advance. Anyone who wants to run will meet Saturday morning to log the miles together in a fun, inclusive environment — all paces welcome! If I’ve piqued your interest, keep an eye on listservs and social media for more details soon, or shoot me a message: email or tweet @preserCAITion. And don’t let the name fool you — MARAC folks are always welcome at #NEA5K.

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Navigator Program

Thomas Abbs, Flickr Creative Commons

Don’t get lost at the joint meeting. Let a navigator help you find your way!
NEA-MARAC Navigator Program
Your first conference as a student or new professional can be an exciting experience but also potentially daunting. Questions abound: What sessions should I attend? How do I meet others with similar interests?  How do I find a roommate? How can I get more involved? 
The MARAC Membership Development Committee is here to help with a navigator matching service for the Spring joint meeting with the New England Archivists in Boston, MA (March 19-21, 2015). Volunteer conference navigators will agree to meet with new members before or during the meeting to help them take better advantage of the networking and educational opportunities the meeting has to offer.
Sign-up here if you’re interested in serving as a navigator or would like to be matched with a navigator.  Both MARAC and NEA members are welcome to participate!

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Boston – A View from the South

The trip to Boston may be longer than some are used to for a regional meeting. We are excited to have some folks, like Stephanie Bennett, considering making the trek from beyond the MARAC/NEA borders. We asked her about her plans and some of her favorite things about Boston (several of these topics will be expanded upon in future posts). Here is what Stephanie has to say.
Photo by Werner Kunz, Flickr Creative Commons,
Knowing that I am considering a trip up for the NEA/MARAC joint meeting from North Carolina, the intrepid Jennifer Sharp asked me to share my trip planning procedures. As a Simmons College SLIS graduate, I’m excited that archivists will get to take advantage of Boston’s wonders. I love planning (I think many archivists share this love!) so of course I have an idea of how I’ll make the most of my trip north.
Entering the City Limits                  
Planes: If you’re flying the friendly skies, the conference site Boston Park Plaza is a 20-minute cab ride from the airport. For intrepid travelers, Boston’s famous T can get you to the hotel in about 35 minutes – although that trip includes a mile walk from South Station.
Trains: The train – or Megabus that drops you off at South Station – is the easiest ride into the city. As I said, South Station is a 20-minute walk – or a quick cab ride – to the Park Plaza.
Automobiles: Driving in Boston is not for the meek, but armed with a GPS and a sense of adventure, you too can cruise the streets. Parking lots are all around the downtown area; you’ll find that overnight parking will run you somewhere between $30 and $50.
A Roof Over My Head
I doubt that I can teach seasoned conference-goers anything about cutting hotel costs. Students, you might take advantage of Boston’s hostels or talk Simmons’ students into putting you up.
Conferencing Like a Boss
This aspect of the trip is self-explanatory but also the most important! To make sure you have an adequate amount of sustenance, visit a grocery store – or a CVS, where the food section is pretty robust in a city. There is a Trader Joe’s a mile down the way from the conference site. If you’re in a hurry, my favorite bakery Flour is around the corner, 0.4 miles away, and Starbucks and food trucks are plentiful in the area.
A Warm Meal in My Belly
An important aspect of trips to Boston (and conferences in general, really) is the tasty food! Boston is bursting with enticing restaurants at all price points. I’ll be using Yelp and Eater Boston to determine where my archives buddies and I will be breaking bread. Eating out is also a good opportunity to leave downtown and explore the neighborhoods of Boston and Cambridge. 
Soaking Up Culture
Finding time to do anything but attend conference sessions and rest is nearly impossible, but thankfully the host committee has done its best bringing Boston’s cultural heritage to us. If you can, arrive early on Wednesday to check out one of the repository tours – or the trip to the Samuel Adams Brewery. Saturday evening’s Tipsy Tour is another option. If your trip is more abbreviated, history is right outside the hotel: stroll across the Common to the State House or walk down Boylston to the beautiful Boston Public Library Central branch.
I wish you all safe travels, happy learning, and delicious eating, archivists! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments, I’ll do my best to provide answers.
Stephanie Bennett is the Collections Archivist of Wake Forest University’s  Special Collections and Archives. In addition to her passion for the historical record, she loves Flour’s pecan buns and the Charles River Esplanade.