In 2007 when Archivist Leah Fisher first set foot in an old office tucked away in Packard Library in 2007, she knew her work was cut out for her.
“You couldn’t even walk in here,” Fisher said. “There were all these boxes of photos and old yearbooks on the floor and all this historical stuff related to the school [that was] completely unorganized.”
Fast-forward nearly seven years, and Fisher has digitized more than 7,000 slides and photos, organized boxes of yearbooks, and transformed the space into an expansive display of CCAD history.
For Fisher, a 2012 photography alumna and self-proclaimed history enthusiast, the archiving process has been “utterly fascinating.”
“I never knew really any of the history,” Fisher said. “It’s been such a cool journey for me to go on.”
The archive project is also helping to gradually fill in CCAD history.
CCAD’s first 100 years are well documented, thanks to a book published in 1979 in honor of the college’s centennial, but since then, much of the college’s history has been left uncollected.
“There’s just nothing really written from ’79 to now,” Fisher said. “We’re finding all of these neat images that have never been seen before.”
Fisher said plans for a new book are on the horizon. In the meantime, she’s putting most of her energy into digitizing artifacts—a time-consuming process that requires each item to be scanned, classified, and filed.
Digitized items are uploaded to Flickr, an online photo-sharing platform, where anyone can view them.
Photos are organized and batched into categories for easy viewing, including “Then and Now Photos,” “Students and Classroom Scenes,” and “Schottenstein Dormitory.”
Fisher said that because 95% of the artifacts in the archives are unlabeled, alumni are encouraged to help identify classmates and old professors by leaving comments below the photos on Flickr.
Fisher has also created a Facebook page for the archives where she posts interesting photos, interacts with alumni, and responds to requests for information or photos.
Despite having years of archiving, digitizing, and organizing ahead of her, Fisher said she enjoys taking the time to work with alumni.
One of her most memorable requests came earlier this year when alumni Susanne Schiering (CCAD 1967) and Karynn Williams (CCAD 1967) asked Fisher to track down the date of freshman orientation in 1963, in hopes of celebrating the 50th anniversary of their friendship.
Fisher found the date in an old catalog and the two friends visited campus on Sept. 16, exactly 50 years after their first meeting, to reminisce and take a tour.
“People think that if they ask me for something they’re burdening me and taking me away from my job,” Fisher said, “but I love filling requests, and that’s a huge part of my job.”
Alumni can contact Fisher via Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and are welcome to stop by the Archives Office in Packard Library.
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