Contributions from volunteers are valuable and appreciated by the Penn Museum Archives.
Our archives holds modern records regarding ancient (and modern) subjects – mostly archaeological and anthropological records produced by Penn affiliated researchers, and the institutional records of the Penn Museum.
Archival work is the process of extracting meaning from chaos, thumbing through stacks of papers, sorting them, and describing them for future researchers. The work is often collaborative, but does require extensive periods of quiet, solitary analysis and organization.
Volunteer contributions are invaluable. A volunteer will typically provide intellectual and physical control over a given collection. This process includes: sorting materials into intellectually-coherent groups; describing these groups; researching the topics, people and places described in the records; housing materials in archival-quality containers; and creating what is called a "finding aid" -- a document that explains the content and organization of a collection. This process is the foundation for the rest of the work conducted in the archives, and requires a certain degree of care and dedication.