The Presbyterian Historical Society plans to open its archives to the public, especially for use by CCP students. Since 2018, PHS has been partnered with the College to create collaborative research projects, introducing CCP students to artifacts going as far back as the 1400s, and opening its archives helps students with additional and exact research on their projects.“We exist to document the history of Presbyterian Churches, but the use of these materials is not specific to Presbyterians,” says Fred Tangeman, the director of Communications and Marketing at PHS. Along with information on churches, the archive holds stories of American history, specifically in Philadelphia. “The point of our project is to find a second use for these items.” This is helpful to classes that look at different facets of American history, but is also helpful in creative writing and fiction writing. Several students have been inspired enough by the venue and its artifacts to create art centered around it.
The Historical Society is also planning an exhibit at the end of the Summer for students of the College to showcase their work and document their journey with the archives. “Students are doing their own individual research for the coming exhibit,” Tangeman says.“I think it will be that much more interesting to have student insight on the matter,” Tangeman says to have students, like the ones at CCP, take their own struggles with coming to archives into consideration, such as their job or their children, factors that most students at the college have which could be a deterrent when exploring PHS.
“It’s been gratifying to do this project with CCP,” says Jenny Barr, a lead archivist on the project. There has been interest with both students and faculty with using the materials at PHS. “It’s been really fun to see the level of creativity and energy that students have put into this project,” says Barr.
Students such as Chris Ludd, this semester’s intern at the Society. “It’s not just students who come in and do work, but also introduces people to what it is like to work in the field of archivism altogether” Ludd says. Through the internship, CCP students get to interact with people in various archival departments to see the different kinds they might be interested in pursuing, such as technical services, cataloging, communications, and marketing. “We’re hoping that students get a sense of the range of that work and if they like it, maybe they will pursue it further,” Barr says.
With the opening of their materials to the use of students and faculty at the college, one can only imagine what they, or other archives, will do in the future. The Presbyterian Historical Society has done tremendous work with the college and will continue in the near future.