Mechelle and all the other folks:

I studied at the Reuther Library and am aware that there is a cultural
cluster along Woodward...but my point stands about the tragedy of not
having a municipal archival program in Detroit...managing the life cycle of
the record means from creation to disposition, with the archival quality
record not only being preserved but also used for the benefit of the
municipality (as with any corporate body), not to mention the benefit of
its citizens...

While it is good to know that the Detroit Historical Museum will preserve
and exhibit the collection from the time capsule, wouldn't it be great if
that became the spark as a tricentennial project to look after the City's
own documentary heritage?



At 10:12 AM 01/02/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>Hi everyone.
>I went to the pre-ceremony of opening the Century Box at the Detroit
>Historical Museum.  It may interest you to know that Mayor Archer did
>mention in his speech the problems that electronic records provide.  I had a
>smirk on my face and laughed with everyone else at the event when he said
>that if they do put a CD-ROM or other computerized item in the box he plans
>to leave for the next century, that they should be sure to leave with it a
>the technology to read it.  This is a clear indication that people are aware
>of the time limitation issues technology brings.
>As for storing the items, they will be processed at the Detroit Historical
>Museum and put on display.  There are several museums in the area. Three
>collection sites were mentioned in the previous emails.  Detroit is growing
>culturally.  There are more than a few museums in the area that could
>undoubtedly house and maintain a collection as small as this one. The
>collection is the size of a large jewelry box.
>The Wayne State University Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs you mentioned
>is literally across the street from the Detroit Historical Museum.  The DIA
>and the Detroit Historical Museum are both on Woodward Ave. across the
>street from each other too.  While I am on the topic of locations, the
>African American Museum is within walking distance, as is the Center for
>Creative Studies and the Detroit Science Center.  The main branch of the
>Detroit Public Library, beautiful in itís own right, is next to the Detroit
>Historical Museum and houses the Burton Collection.  By the way, the Burton
>Collection was flooded within the last year.  Repairs to the collection and
>housing are ongoing.  I am sure that the trained professionals at the
>Detroit Historical Museum will call on their colleagues if necessary.
>I am glad that the Century Box was mentioned as it is the kick-off for the
>Tri-centennial Celebration Year for Detroit.  This would be a great year to
>visit the area and celebrate with us.
>Mechelle Bernard
>************Original email
>Date:    Mon, 1 Jan 2001 09:53:58 -0600
>From:    MicroD International <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: RAIN 01/01/01: Weekend Update Part 3
>Regarding Peter's revelation of the opening of the Detroit
>time capsule - I wonder what the city officials would have
>done if the priceless information had been recorded on a
>digital medium? It is inconceivable that information stored
>today in digital form and placed in a capsule to be opened
>in the year 2101, would be of any value whatsoever when
>retrieved from the capsule. I can't imagine that there would
>be a digital system available that could decypher the bits
>and bytes. On the other hand, if the information were
>recorded on microfilm.........
>Happy New Year Everyone!
>Bill Thomas, Microd International
>[log in to unmask]
>Date:    Mon, 1 Jan 2001 15:47:35 -0500
>From:    Mark Walsh <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: RAIN 01/01/01: Weekend Update Part 3 (Long)
>Re: the Detroit News Time Capsule story
>Folks -
>First and foremost, a very Happy New Year from the Great White North.
>Second, it is interesting to note, as a long-time former resident of the
>south bank of the Detroit River (yes, Windsor is south of Detroit thanks to
>a bend in the Detroit River) that there was no mention in dealing with the
>Detroit time capsule of any archival institution in the Motor City.
>No City of Detroit Municipal Archives...and that is in itself a tragedy
>that a major North American centre does not have such a facility.
>No mention of where the documents will repose after this evening's
>Use of the Detroit Insitutue of Arts for preservation of archival
> no offense to anyone at the DIA - it does house one of
>three branches of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art - but...the
>Wayne State University Archives of Labour and Urban Affairs also has as I
>recall conservation facilities, and could have been a great home for the
>contents of the capsule in the absence of a municipal facility....The
>Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library is another
>possible home...Clarence Burton himself was undoubtedly there in 1901 when
>the capsule was sealed...
>Reference was made in the Detroit News article to Cadillac and the
>tricentennial of the founding of Detroit... if he were speaking on this
>subject, he might say in his best early 18th century French, "Plus ca
>change, plus c'est le meme chose..." - the more things change, the more
>they stay the same...the battle for putting archives forward is still on
>...there is much to is a slugfest, and the one still standing at
>the end is the winner.
>Now, in response to Bill's message below, until the management of the
>entire lifecycle of the record is taken seriously, the format will not
>matter.  The reference to digital versus microrm medium/format does touch
>upon the substitution of technology for management of recorded
>information...ah but that is another subject entirely and today is a
>Finally, allow me to provide the passage that I have always found most
>inspiriational when battered from the "slugfest" and wondering just why I
>should still remain standing and punching.  It is the opening pages of "The
>Canadian Archives and Its Activities", written by Dominion Archivist Sir
>Arthur G. Doughty in 1924.
>"The activities of a country furnish material of perpetual interest to the
>student of human affairs.  Through this material, centuries old and grey,
>return again fresh in the vigour of youth; through this record are
>refelected as in a mirror past hopes and aspirations, past glory and
>defeat.  Of all national assests, archives are the most precious; they are
>the gift of one generation to another and the extent of our care of them
>marks the extent of our civilization.  Each day that passes is a triumph
>for an archive, for each day some mere scrap of paper permits justice to
>prevail.  And yet while so much of our happiness and safety as individuals,
>and as a people, is inseperable from archives, the average man bestows
>little thought either upon their commercial or their historical value.
>Indeed those who are deeply concerned about these matters are not
>infrequently accorded scant sympathy.  Serious minded people often question
>the wisdom of preserving records, and the fiat is issued for their
>destruction.  Nor is this altogether surprising.  For twenty years or more,
>no one has required them.  Why should they be kept?
>"As a rule, the papers of a given generation are seldom required after
>their reception and primary use; but when personal touch with that period
>has ceased, then these records assume a startling importance, for they
>replace hands that have vanished and lips that are sealed..."
>2001 is the next round...and I wish all the best to my colleagues, who like
>myself, are in the ring and ready to answer the bell.
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