Q&A with Lisa Kruczek, Archival Intern and Curator of The Best of Times Exhibit

Q&A with Lisa Kruczek, Archival Intern and Curator of The Best of Times Exhibit
Jenny James Lee
July 1, 2014

A recent graduate of the College of Computing and Informatics, Lisa Kruczek spent her last term working as an intern in the University Archives. There, she processed the papers of William Walsh Hagerty, who served as the President of the University from 1963 - 1984. Before Lisa completed her internship with the Libraries, I had a chance to sit down with her to talk about the exhibit and her experience in the Libraries.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the work on the W. W. Hagerty papers in the University Archives? What did you learn?
This was the largest collection I've processed up to now, so it took me some time to decide on how it would be arranged. The exhibit that I needed to create was always in the back of my mind, so examining the materials without taking too much time was important. Working with the records, utilizing the proper methods in arranging and describing and using Archivist's Toolkit were all beneficial for my training.

Q: What made you want to work with the Archives?
Needless to say, since it's my recent alma mater, I'm interested in the history of Drexel. When the opportunity of processing a collection and creating an exhibit was offered to me, I was thrilled.

Q: Tell me a little bit about why you chose to work in Archival studies?
I've always been interested in history and research, and as I learned more about archival studies I realized how I enjoyed the many facets of the job. There's always something new to be working on, whether its outreach (like the exhibit), preservation, arrangement and description, there's a lot to keep you busy. That variety keeps it interesting and fresh.

Q: What is your dream job?
I have a background in video and film production, so I enjoy working with audiovisual materials. I'd love to be an audiovisual archivist, but I also am interested in the digital side of archival work. I've had a lot of experience with scanning and metadata and here at Drexel, I got to do some digital records accessioning which I found very interesting.

Q: Before you started working on the exhibition, you arranged and described President Hagerty’s records of office. How did the idea for the current exhibit on President Hagerty evolve (or not) as you processed those materials?
As I went through the collection, I always had the exhibit in mind. Normally, we process at the folder level. So I could learn as much about his administration as possible, it was closer to item level for this collection. I found his speeches very illuminating, he had very strong ideas about certain topics. For example, he believed strongly in continuing education. There are two news clippings in the exhibit about his idea to have 35 hour work weeks, and to use the other 5 hours a week for enrichment. Dr. Hagerty felt it would be a benefit to the individual and the company. He was ahead of his time in many ways.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned about Drexel or President Hagerty while you were pulling together the exhibit?
I suppose the transformation that took place in the 21 years he was president of Drexel. When you think about it, it was a time of change in society as well, 1963-1984, so it makes sense. But the school could have remained stagnant, he really was behind a metamorphosis of the university that seems to be still evolving.

Q: What are some of the highlights of Hagerty’s tenure?
There's so much! The growth of the campus, it grew from 10 to nearly 40 acres. He separated the Engineering and Science Colleges into their own distinct colleges as well starting the Humanities program. The name change from Drexel Institute of Technology to Drexel University happened in 1970 under Hagerty's administration. Of course, probably the most well known highlight would be the directive that freshman had to purchase computers for the first time. The fact that they were MacIntosh was prophetic too, considering how successful the company would become. They took a chance choosing them and it paid off, at least with publicity!

Q: The exhibit is displayed and organized very nicely -- what inspired you?
I had the idea to create sections that reflected the transitions that took place during his tenure; the growth of Drexel, the transformation that took place and the engagement Hagerty had with organizations and students. When processing the collection, I enjoyed reading his speeches and was inspired by many of his ideas. So I decided to include two quotes for each table of the exhibit that corresponded with the theme of the table. I wanted to add color as well, and happily Drexel has a palette of complimentary colors to the blue and gold of the logo, so I incorporated those as well.

Q: You’ve recently graduated from Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics. How did the experience working at Drexel Libraries complement your studies?
I found it especially helpful since it gave me hands-on experience working with a large collection. There isn't too much real world training in the curricula, so I've found it imperative to get as much experience as I can. Creating the exhibit from the collection was really useful because it made me look at the materials in a different way than if I was just describing them for access.