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Georgia Southern’s Henderson Library Receives 2023 Excellence in Archival Program Development by a State Institution Awarded by Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council

The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC) Board recognized the GHRAC Award winners during the twenty-first annual awards ceremony held at the Georgia Archives on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. The GHRAC Awards recognizes outstanding efforts in archives and records work in Georgia.Criteria for the Award for Excellence in Archival Program Development by a State Institution include new or on-going programs based on the agency’s or institution’s actions to take systematic steps to help identify appropriate care and management for archival records in its custody.

For three years, Henderson Library Special Collections at Georgia Southern University has successfully developed game-based instructional programs that have come to be a highlight of Georgia Archives Month on the Georgia Southern campus. Special Collections most recently partnered with Georgia Southern’s Botanic Gardens to offer an experience that explored the rich natural and cultural history of the community. “Bland’s Botanical Bequest: An Escape Game for Georgia Archives Month,” was launched in October 2022. It was situated onsite in the early 20th-century farmstead of Daniel and Catharine Bland. 

The game experience was thematically centered around the Bland’s benefaction of the land to the University. The game incorporated high-quality surrogates of archival collections including photographs, maps, letters, oral history recordings, and other materials housed in Henderson Library Special Collections that documented the lives of the Bland family in Bulloch County. The result was an instructional game experience that appealed to a wide and diverse group of patrons. During the two-week program, there were 240 registered players from both the campus and community. The project demonstrated the importance of innovative archival outreach.

“GHRAC awards are important for our faculty and staff because they are an opportunity to showcase the innovative and frequently imaginative efforts of archival professionals, educators, and students statewide,” said Georgia Southern’s Dean of University Libraries, Lisandra R. Carmichael, Ph.D. “The programs and research recognized are often those that shed light on essential aspects of Georgia’s history that may not be widely recognized, bringing them to the forefront. The long term goal of these types of programs is to celebrate the value of GS Libraries’ Special Collections as one of the caretakers of historical records and memory on campus and within the greater community in southern Georgia and across the State.”

The GHRAC Council promotes the educational use of Georgia’s documentary heritage by all its citizens, evaluates and improves the condition of records, encourages statewide planning for preservation and access to Georgia’s historical records, and advises the Board of Regents and the Georgia Archives on issues concerning records. The Council has twelve members appointed by the Governor and represents citizens, educators, local governments, historical repositories and professional organizations.

Georgia Southern strives to continue to celebrate the libraries’ Special Collections as one of the caretakers of historical records and memories on campus and within the greater community in southern Georgia and across the State.

Last updated: 2/2/2024