Chicago Open Archives 2018


What is Chicago Open Archives?

Chicago Open Archives is a month-long opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the history and cultural heritage of our city, state, and world through the collections of institutions through the Chicagoland area. This event is a great opportunity to showcase your collections to a wider audience than is usually possible.


Where can I register to be a host site?

Registration to be a COA host site is now open for 2018.


What is the theme?

This year, in conjunction with the Illinois Bicentennial, we are highlighting items and collections that celebrate Illinois with the theme Chicago Archives 200: Celebrating Illinois History. Visit the Illinois Bicentennial website and get inspired! #illinoisproud


Do I have to follow the theme?

Following the theme is not required for participation in Chicago Open Archives and all events submitted will be included on the calendar. You can also highlight materials related to other anniversaries within your own institution.


I really like the idea of celebrating the 200 years, but I don’t know where to start.

Don’t worry, you can join us for a brainstorming session to get inspired, share ideas, and design activities on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m at the Women & Leadership Archives. Register for the brainstorming session here.


I can’t make the brainstorming session, but want to host an event. Do you have any suggestions for an event?

  • Show and Tell: staff share select items from the collections with visitors

  • Behind the Scenes: staff give visitors a guided tour of closed stacks, a conservation area, or other space not usually open to researchers in order to share information about the breadth of collections, areas of expertise, and/or services offered by your institution.

  • Exhibit Plus: staff give an exhibit tour or talk  and provide details about the items/collections that enhance the exhibit experience for visitors

  • Combination: for example: show and tell combined with a behind the scenes tour

  • Other: possibilities include film screenings, author readings, workshops, and more


What days can I participate?

You choose! You get to pick the date (or dates) of your event, and it can be any day(s) in October.


My site requires registration, how can I manage this?

If you require visitors to register in advance, and don’t have a system to manage it, we recommend https://www.eventbrite.com/ as a possible tool. (CAA is not responsible for event registration.)


How can I promote this event?

Host sites will receive customizable promotional materials as PDF files in early September.


When is the deadline?

All events must be submitted by August 17, 2018.


Who should I contact with questions?

Email Amber Dushman, Chair of the COA subcommittee Subject: COA Host Site.


Don’t forget to follow CAA/COA on social media!

Twitter: @ChicagoArchvsts

Facebook: @chicagoarchivists



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