Antioch A.M.E. Digital Archive

UWG Public History students and interns scanning Antioch church member collections on History Day, July 2016.

UWG Public History students and interns scanning Antioch church member collections on History Day, July 2016.

On behalf of the Center for Public History I partnered with Antioch A.M.E. Church (founded in Decatur, Georgia, in 1868 and now in Stone Mountain) to produce a digital archive of church records (https://antiochamehistory.org/archive).  The project team (Tigner Rand, Elayne Washington Hunter, and Calvin Washington, all church members, and Robin Morris of Agnes Scott College) held a History Day in July 2016 where members brought photographs and documents to be scanned.

The digital archive reflects a “post-custodial” move in archival and public history practice where, instead of removing objects from the communities in which they are created, public historians provide consultative work to instead help preserve records but leave them where they matter most. The items in the digital archive, which is built on the Omeka platform, are described using the Dublin Core metadata schema—each object has a set of descriptors that make it easier for researchers to access the information. The archive will be connected (via its metadata structure) to the Digital Library of Georgia and, hence, the Digital Public Library of America, giving it a much broader audience of church members and scholars.

I built the Omeka site and continue to manage it, but students and church members have played a critical role in creating and describing its content, including the creation of object descriptions and metadata.