For at least five decades, scholars and archivists have illuminated a significant problem with the American historical record: missing from it are the experiences of our marginalized and underrepresented communities. Their histories have not just been excluded from the historical record – they have been actively suppressed. In response, there have been calls to reformulate archival studies around core values of social justice. The field has increasingly pursued efforts to make archives more inclusive, to expand and rethink archival concepts and training, to develop community archives, and more. Despite some momentum, there remains an urgent need to collect the histories of communities that are still missing from archives, to co-design archives to share these stories, and to reshape the historical record.
The Tacoma Community Archives Center was established to begin addressing the gaps and silences existing in the local history record through a community-driven, fully participatory process. In August 2021, the project was awarded a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Over the next two years, the Tacoma Public Library will partner with the community on digitization, oral history, and storytelling projects aimed at moving our city toward a more inclusive historical record.
Archives Co-Design and Participatory Mapping Workshops