VTDNP in Washington, D.C.

Hurricane Irene all but dashed the VTDNP plans to attend the yearly NDNP meetings at NEH and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.. The meetings took place on Aug. 29-31, 2011. Birdie MacLennan and Chris Kirby were prevented from attending, but I managed to make the trip because I left well before the hurricane struck and returned well after it. It was difficult to be away from home while Irene wreaked havoc on our state. The scenes of destruction and ruinous loss made it difficult to contextualize the NDNP meetings, but as the lone Vermonter there, I felt a responsibility to represent us as well as I could.

As a first-time attendee, it was nice to reconnect with old colleagues from the California Digital Newspaper Collection, and friends from the Kentucky NDNP Project. I also met many people I knew only from their emails or as voices on the phone, and met members of the new projects from Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

Work on the NDNP creates a unique set of problems and solutions. The NEH and Library of Congress sponsors arranged the meetings so that we not only got a top-down policy driven overview, but also encouraged work and discussion between state projects. In this regard, the meetings successfully modeled the structure of innovation and communication that exists in the day to day functioning of the national program.

Here is a photo of Errol Somay from the Virginia project, and Andrea Vanek from California presenting at the meetings:

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Between meetings I checked out the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, one of America’s great treasures:

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The NEH is housed in the Old Post Office Building, which is pretty awesome and worth a visit if you are in D.C.:

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Tom McMurdo

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