How Facebook can actually be a good use of time: Social media and the promotion of archives

By Colleen Hansen
Processing Assistant, Social Welfare History Archives

A photo showing children on a playground created to look like a pirate ship.Whatever study promoted the idea that using social media cuts into work productivity might be a slightly mistaken. Without Facebook, the promotion of the newly acquired (and not quite processed) National Parks and Recreation Association collection might never have happened!

In 2013, the Social Welfare History Archives acquired a collection of materials from the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). This is a sister collection to the existing National Recreation Association (NRA) collection already housed in the archive. 

While the NRPA collection was being processed, a sampling of the photos were scanned and posted on the SWHA Facebook page on a weekly basis.

In early June 2014, Children playing on a horse drawn coach made up to be Cinderella's coach.the associate editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine, Samantha Bartram, contacted Linnea Anderson of the Social Welfare History Archives looking for photos. Ms. Bartram found our images on Facebook and was “quite taken” with a photo we posted of a street shower from the 1930s. She was looking to write a short piece in honor of their promotion, “July is Parks and Recreation” month. 

Ms. Bartram was looking for historical photos of diverse groups of children playing together like those from other Facebook posts. She requested that we send her any pictures that we found interesting that fit her criteria. 

The result is this article entitled “Out of the Past.” The magazine article features the photo of a 1960s rocket ship playground on a full page spread. The online version also features a few more photos that we provided from the collection. This magazine is distributed worldwide as the NRPA has members and partners across the globe.

Keep those posts and “Likes” coming! 

Pages 64 and 64 from "Parks and Recreation," the magazine of the National Recreation and Parks Association, showing children climbing on playground equipment crafted to look like a space ship.

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