In a new blog series created by Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), archivists, librarians and library staff share items from their personal collections of documents, books and ephemera. Show and Tell: Selections from our Personal Archives and Libraries is a journey through heirloom recipe books, salvaged wallpaper, childhood sketches, World War II diaries, and many more items of deeply personal significance. The stories are by turns entertaining, compelling and nostalgic in a way that makes you want to settle in with a mug of tea to hear more.

The series takes its inspiration from “Museum of Me: Stories From Our Homes,” an initiative created by the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in June 2020, in which MOA staff took snapshots of objects, photos and artworks from around their own homes to pair with thoughtful captions describing the item’s personal significance.

UBC Library Archivist Krisztina Laszlo thought MOA’s concept, which she described as “brilliant,” would translate well to a personal library and archival setting. “In the early months of the pandemic and with the uncertainly surrounding what was happening, I felt it was a good way for those who wanted to participate to reflect on what was meaningful and significant to them at a time when we felt adrift. It was a way to ground us and remind us of what was truly important.”

With seven instalments and counting, the Show and Tell series is an ongoing project, with contributions from Jacky LaiChelsea ShriverHiller GoodspeedClaire WilliamsBarbara TowellKrisztina LaszloStephanie Plumb, Weiyan Yan, Natalie Trapuzzano, Eleanore Wellwood, and Dr. Susan E. Parker. The first few instalments, published in June, capture stories from the RBSC team, but expanded over the summer to include voices from other Library teams.

Those interested in contributing their own entries can contact Krisztina Laszlo (krisztina.laszlo@ubc.ca) as the series aims to expand further. “We’ll keep adding instalments as long as we keep getting submissions.”

Read the full series on the RBSC website.

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