Reflections on Shorefront

— By Katherine D’Antico

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Katherine overseeing the re-boxing of the Melvin Smith Collection – over 15 feet of documents

I was fortunate enough to discover Shorefront through a recommendation from Dominican University professor. The professor thought Shorefront would be a good candidate for my practicum since it was in my hometown, Evanston, IL. I did not realize this archival repository was within walking distance down Ridge Ave. I was unsure what to expect and was instantly impressed how Dino meticulously organized myriad collection—considering this is a one-person operation. I conducted one hundred and twenty hours for my practicum at Shorefront Legacy Center during my final semester at Dominican University. Shorefront ascribes to preserve and collect local African-American material from organizations and individuals within the Northshore.This repository provides a wonderful and invaluable educational resource to community members who might be unfamiliar with these materials.

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Prepping a re-boxing task

My responsibilities at Shorefront consisted of the redistribution of the Melvin Smith and Graves family collections. The materials were comprised of photographs, ephemera, and copies of the Concern Citizens Commitment newsette. The most challenging aspect I encountered during redistribution, was determining the appropriate number of boxes and sizes. I selected twenty-six letter and legal size to accommodate fifteen folders per box. The process enabled me to implement skillsets gained from coursework in a real-world setting. I think archival repositories like Shorefront should be established to promote minority communities/collect and preserve individual and family histories This experience increased my comprehension of how an archival repository gathers, preserves, and provides accessibility through a physical and digital presence. It was enjoyable working to overhear Dino expound to various tour groups the functions of Shorefront and witness their engaged and enthusiastic reactions. I also enjoyed the opportunity to work individually; a commonality in the archival community.

I would encourage Dominican University School of Information Studies (SOIS) graduate students seeking or contemplating practicum locations to utilize Shorefront for their research needs. Students archival experience will be enhanced by a growing repository that is evident, when visiting, this is a passion project.

Shorefront

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