September 27, 2023

Crummé secures additional federal funding for Vietnamese Portland Project

Head of Watzek Library Special Collections and College Archivist Hannah Crummé has secured a $150K National Historical Publications and Records (NHPRC) grant from the National Archives and Records Administration. Beginning in September 2023, this competitive grant will provide two years of support for Special Collections’ Vietnamese Portland: History, Memory, Community Project.

As the proposal indicated, “For the past five years, Special Collections has been working to build a resource that contributes to a more robust and inclusive history of the city of Portland, a city of immigrants.” For example, the College Archives have already collected 140 oral histories documenting 60 years of the Vietnamese-American experience in Portland; these oral histories and more than 140 digital objects are accessible by researchers. Further, some of these materials have been used to develop curriculum in Portland Public Schools and create podcasts. This new NHPRC support will allow the project team to work with partners to promote outreach and use of the collection in local schools and libraries through presentations and publications, and to create resources for heritage organizations interested in community archiving practices.

In order to be successful, this project requires collaboration with many partners, including the Multnomah Education Service District (MESD). The team will work with middle school social studies teachers to develop lesson plans and resources based on the Vietnamese Portland archive, and to train other teachers on the use of these curricular materials. This project also involves expanding work with the Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion (VDLI) program in Portland Public Schools, which has used some of these materials as part of their eighth-grade capstone project in the past. Other local individuals, cultural consultants, and organizations, including but not limited to the Vietnamese Community of Oregon (VNCO) and the Asian and Pacific-American Network of Oregon (APANO) have been and will continue to be critical partners in making sure Lewis & Clark’s collection and activities meet the needs of the local Vietnamese-American community. Beyond introducing the Lewis & Clark team to participate in events to meet people, they have provided useful feedback, made important suggestions about the project direction, helped the team create culturally appropriate activities, provided translation and transcription, and will help Lewis & Clark accession community records into the archive. The project will also further facilitate Watzek’s collaboration with the Multnomah County Library system, which brings a traveling exhibition exploring this collection to branches around the city.

More information about the project is available at Crummé and her team have sought and received multiple external grants to support this project, including this new NHPRC award (2023) as well as funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2021), the Library Services Technology Act (2018, 2019, and 2020), and the Council of Independent Colleges (2019).

September 2023