Tropea – Question 3
3How do people use your material? What uses do you hope to enable?
Curator of Films & Photographs – Maryland Historical Society Project Manager – Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Our initial hope was to preserve materials that bolstered a range of narratives about the Baltimore Uprising, and especially to counter mainstream media coverage. Television and internet news consumers were led to believe the entire city of Baltimore was on fire, every store was being looted, and masses of city residents were committing violent acts against police on April 19 and in the days that followed. Those of us who live in Baltimore know that the entire city was not ablaze in April and May of 2015. We know that not every neighborhood had cars set on fire. Not every Rite Aid was looted. We know that City School students were put in an untenable situation, in which transportation was shut down, leaving them stranded and confronted by police in riot gear. And we know firsthand that rumors at the time were rampant. For example, I was personally led to believe that my neighborhood Rite Aid had been looted and burned, when in fact it had not. Clearly some rioting occurred, some fires were set. But, just as clearly, we saw a city come together to raise concerns with systemic issues. And we saw city residents come together to clean up the aftereffects of destructive events. It was necessary to collect documentation of the uprising that could reveal the problems with reported versions of events.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Because the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive is a website that can be accessed by anyone, we have no way of knowing for certain how the materials we’ve collected can or will be used, despite our Google Analytics. Based on the requests we have received, we know that academics are using the collection for journal articles and undergraduate and graduate-level research. We have also worked with youth and young-adult video and filmmaker programs such as the Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program and Wide Angle Youth Media. They teach young people how to use archival materials to create media content. We hope to continue these types of collaborations.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 We know that people can use our materials for a wide variety of reasons beyond the archive’s obvious focus on a specific historical event. Future researchers may want to know how certain blocks along Pennsylvania Avenue appeared in 2015. Others might want to know what type of clothing people wore to protests in 2015. We have them covered. The possibilities are both endless and unknowable, and we have to be okay with that.