This year, the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections at North Park University received a grant from Swedish Council of America to hire a project archivist to improve and expand access to the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago. The primary goals of the project were to migrate existing finding aids to the archive’s new administrative and user interface, update and strengthen existing finding aids, and finally, to promote the collections by partnering with the Chicago Collections Consortium.
Archives staff migrated finding aids to the new system and student workers completed a detailed shelf inventory to ensure findability of the materials. Gretchen Stroner, an archivist hired for this project, improved the finding aids in many ways. Most notably, she created additional access points by adding local name authorities and applying Library of Congress Subject Headings for the Chicago neighborhoods associated with each collection.
Lastly, the archives will enhance public access to these collections through a new partnership with the Chicago Collections Consortium. This consortium is a group of member institutions made up of libraries, museums, and archives in the Chicago area who have brought their collections together to allow searchers to search collections simultaneously and to discover resources city wide, despite being held in various cultural heritage institutions. This partnership will allow the Swedish American Archives of Greater Chicago promote our rich collections and reach a wider audience. You can view descriptions for the 60 collections in the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago in the Explore Chicago Collections portal at this link.