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Every month the archival institutions of this nation unleash tiny particles of the past in a frenzy of online revelry

The New York Times – “The hashtag parties are the handiwork of a small group of employees at the National Archives. Their aims are twofold: to draw public attention to the holdings of the National Archives, and to refract that attention widely, across a community of like-minded organizations, which can themselves refract it on. “A lot of times people think of the National Archives, and they stop at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,” said Hilary Parkinson, a public affairs specialist for the agency. “So this was a great chance to show more documents and more records and go beyond just the big anniversaries of things.” Conceived as a six-month campaign, the parties proved far too popular to stop. Since the first hashtag party in August of 2017 (#ArchivesSquadGoals, which surfaced images of Louis Armstrong with his trumpet teacher and of two men pushing 1.5 tons of nickels), Archives data indicates these digital events have prompted some 120,000 tweets, from more than 70,000 contributors. “Archivists tend to be really passionate people,” said Jeannie Chen, a digital engagement manager at the National Archives. “They know their collections so well.” Ms. Chen and Ms. Parkinson are one half of a four-person team at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. that concocts the themes and spreads the word to other organizations in advance through an email sent out roughly two weeks before a party. The recipients are nearly 300 institutions that have asked to be kept in the loop, to have time to scour their own records for relevant content. (Parties typically occur the first Friday of every month; following a New Year’s break, the next is scheduled for February 5.)

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