Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Conversation with Emily Teis

Emily Teis, archival assistant
Emily Teis, who is coming up on her first year anniversary at the Arkansas State Archives, enjoys working with a team and helping people. She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in political science from Lyon College in 2014. She then graduated with a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 2016, where she also was a teaching assistant. Teis interned at museums, including the Clinton House Museum and the Old Independence County Regional Museum. As an archival assistant, Teis is dedicated to helping patrons with their genealogy research and preserving the collective identity of Arkansas.

Q: What’s your job title, and how long have you worked at the Arkansas State Archives?
A: I was hired as an archival assistant in January 2019.

Q: What do you do on a typical day at Archives?
A: My workday includes answering research requests, indexing historical court records from Hempstead County, helping in the research room and making information available for patrons.

Q: How did you become interested in Arkansas history or working at the Arkansas State Archives?
A: I have a master’s in anthropology and wanted to use my education to help preserve our state’s cultural memory. Our cultural memories, or collective historical experiences, help define who we are, our identity as Arkansans and our heritage. These memories are important because they imbue us with our resilient and adventurous spirit. The Arkansas State Archives is the place where those memories are written down and preserved for all of us.

Q: What’s the most important or interesting thing you’ve discovered while working at Archives? Why?
A: The most important thing I’ve discovered is the different steps needed to help patrons with questions on genealogy research. Many people come to us with questions about where or how to start their research. Sometimes researchers get stuck, too, so it’s important to know how to look for alternative records. My goal is that I want to be able to help people to the best of my ability.

Q: Why do you think the Arkansas State Archives is important for Arkansans?
A: The Arkansas State Archives houses the most historical records related to Arkansas history of any place in the world. We are the go-to place to find information about family, state history and historical artifacts. We help preserve the history and cultural memory of Arkansas. We are a place people can come to learn about their own family histories, and we are an important part of maintaining Arkansas’s heritage. We keep history alive.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The most rewarding part of my job is helping patrons find that missing piece in their research and seeing them get excited to be able to move forward.

Q: How do you see archiving evolving in the future?
A: The future is digital. Like other archival entities across the U.S., the Arkansas State Archives is embracing new and evolving technology and is moving forward in making more records available online.

Q: What do you wish people knew about Archives?
A: I wish people knew we are here to help them and answer questions. People are not alone in their research. We are here to help.