The American Philosophical Society

Today was a great day! The class had the pleasure of visiting the American Philosophical Society receiving a tour of the building. We got to see the archives, the reading room, and Benjamin Franklin’s own personal library. Our tour guides, Bayard and Cynthia, led us around the building where we got a peak in what they do everyday. There were countless amounts of manuscripts. I even saw one section called “Flying Saucer Materials”. A section all containing documents relating to UFO research. Bayard and Cynthia work in the archives pouring over loads of documents deciding what should and shouldn’t be saved. They spend large amounts of time in the reading room looking and analyzing old documents and digitizing them. Bayard even told us that while reading documents from a bio-chemist/bio-physicist, he found out that the man was also a Olympic Medalist in yachting. How crazy is that?!

Here are some pictures from the trip. You can get a glimpse of what the reading room looks like as Lynn photobombs the picture. The building, while not the original, is still very beautiful and very close to the original according to Bayard. I really enjoyed the trip because I’ve learned a little bit about what archivists do day to day. I’ve seen the Temple Archives but they don’t compare to the APS. I also liked how it seems that archivists never know what they are going to find. This seems really exciting. They get sent various materials, ranging from documents to VHS tapes. At one point I wanted to say that life is like being an archivist, you never know what you’re gonna get. The idea of looking through documents and deeming what should be kept is a very interesting one. These people are responsible for a lot of information and I think their work is under appreciated. They hold loads of important and telling information and it was such an interesting trip. I hope I get to visit again in the future.

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