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​​Past Dialogs

Monday, September 14, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Organizing a Community to Preserve its History 

How does a community begin preserving its history? Learn how the LGBT Center of Central PA History Project first organized, found volunteers, and collected stories and history from members of the LGBT community in Central Pennsylvania.
Barry Loveland, Chair, LGBT Center of Central PA History Project


Tuesday, September 15, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Capturing Black History through the Lens of Black Art

Using art as the power to interpret memories, when traditional photography does not exist for your community, and the story still needs to be told. 

Ophelia Chambliss, Artist, Commissioner, PA Historical & Museum Commission  


Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

What if your History is not Written? Collecting Oral Recollections and Histories

What if your community’s history isn’t written down? Learn how to capture the verbal memories of your community or family members and preserve them for future generations.

Pam Whitenack, Director Emerita, Hershey Community Archives


Thursday, September 17, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Preserving Stories Digitally  

Not all stories are saved on paper. Discover how the South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA) evolved to give voice to its community through documenting, preserving, and sharing stories digitally.  

Samip Mallick, Executive Director, South Asian American Digital Archive

Friday, September 18, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 

Resources: Where to find Money and Assistance

There are many places that communities can go to find advice, funding, and partners to help preserve their history and memories. In this session we will discuss some of the resources available in Pennsylvania and where communities can go for more help.

Dana Payne, Director of Diverse Cultures and Heritage at the Pennsylvania Council  on the Arts
Dr. Jennifer Garcon, member of Archivists for Black Lives in Philadelphia
Laurie Zierer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Josh Stahlman, Archivist, Pennsylvania State Archives; Historical & Archival Records Care Grants; Archives without Tears

November 18, 2020; 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Caring for Artifacts and Objects

A pocket watch. Dog tags. A quilt. Trophies. Whether they're brand new or passed down through many generations, objects carry the stories of our communities and are just as important to preserve as photographs, documents and oral histories. Join us as we discuss ways to handle, clean, and store your important family and/or community artifacts.

Rachel Yerger- Museum Curator, PHMC Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums
Dodie Robbins- Collection Manager, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

December 16, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Collaborating with Curators and Archivists to Preserve Community History

How can a community start preserving the many stories that make up its history? Discover how the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action ConsortiumOpens In A New Window has collaborated with the Senator John Heinz History Center to develop a unique community preservation strategy to preserve and share the stories of Western Pennsylvanians with disabilities. We'll share the ins and outs of this partnership and how it can be replicated for other communities and historical organizations.

Tina Calabro, Founding Member and Disability History Consultant, Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action ConsortiumOpens In A New Window
Sierra Green, Archivist, Senator John Heinz History Center
Anne Madarasz, Director of the Curatorial Division and Chief Historian, Senator John Heinz History CenterDirector of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. 
Emily Ruby, Curator, Senator John Heinz History Center

January 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Documenting and Preserving Community Cemeteries 

Burial grounds and cemeteries are among the most valuable historic resources we have. They provide a direct link to the history of the individuals and communities where they are located. Discover how the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project, Historic Eden Cemetery, and Friends of Lebanon Cemetery are working to preserve their community history with an emphasis on African American cemeteries across Pennsylvania.

 Barbara Barksdale, Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project
V. Chapman Smith, Eden Cemetery Historical and Archival Records Care Grant Manager
Samantha Dorm, Friends of Lebanon Cemetery


Stories of a Pleasant Green Space: Cemetery Records and Archives


February 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 

The Black Bethlehem Project is a first-of-its kind effort that seeks to document the experiences of Bethlehem's Black community. Since 2020 it has collected oral histories, documents, and photographs. Learn how librarian M. Rayah Levy started the project, found resources and support, and built up trust with the community to preserve their history.
M. Rayah Levy, Bethlehem Area Public Library



April 28th, 2021, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.

Preserving Your Congregation's History

Many communities are brought together by shared religious views, beliefs and experiences. Preserving the stories of congregations— whether they are newly formed or have gathered for generations— is critical to understanding that community's history and the larger history we all share. Join us to learn how Mother Bethel AME Church, Christ Church, Philadelphia, and Beth Sholom Congregation of Johnstown have been working to preserve the records and stories of their congregations and how your worship community might preserve its own history.

Margaret Jerrido, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church
 Carol Smith, Christ Church, Philadelphia
 Barry Rudel, Beth Sholom Congregation of Johnstown



August 26, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

The records and artifacts that tell a community’s history are often times preserved in many different places such as individual homes, businesses, religious organizations, and with civic groups. By digitizing these materials, a community can bring their history and memories together in one place and make them easier to share. Join us to learn how  Cambria Memory Project have been working to digitize and preserve community history in Cambria County, PA, and how your community might preserve its own history.
Dr. Barbara Zaborowski, Cambria Memory Project 


December 15, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Moving images and recorded sound come in many forms like film, tape, discs, and digital. All of them are fragile in different ways and present unique challenges when they preserve a community's history. Join us and learn how Sandra Yates and the Community Archiving Workshop organization has been helping community groups all across the United States preserve their audiovisual materials.

Sandra Yates from Community Archives Workshop


January 31, 2023 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Building a More Inclusive Archives

Join Dominique Luster in a discussion on the role that intentionality takes in the work of memory-keeping. The Luster Company seeks to create a space for Black first-person narratives and to make them accessible in the historical record, but her experience applies to any community that may be underrepresented in traditional archives. What happens when we do not find minority first-person narratives in archival repositories? What is lost? Does that elevate the power of some at the expense of others? Can we do the work of memory-keeping in a way that ensures that the stories of all communities are told? What role can you play in preserving and telling the story of your community?  Ms. Luster will focus on ideas around the historiography and construction of memory created by Black people and how those memories are included in English-speaking institutional practices. Her talk is certain to generate discussion on the role that archives and archivists (professional and non-professional alike) hold in our communities and how we can create a more just and equitable world through memory work.


Dominique Luster, The Luster Company

March 27, 2024 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Planning a Scanning Day for your Community

Join The Pennsylvania State Archives in this discussion to inspire ​and help communities think about how they can preserve their own history by holding a scanning day event for their community. A scanning day is an event where community members are asked to share photos and documents to be digitally scanned for possible inclusion in an archives. It’s a great way to bring a community’s history together in one place! 



The Community History Dialog series is an initiative of the Pennsylvania State Archives made possible in part through a National Historical Publications and Records Commission State Board Programming Grant.