Thursday, March 5, 2020

NEARA Public Outreach a Success

Archival Assistant Taylor Harbin represented NEARA at
the Winter Genealogy Night in Jonesboro in February.
History buffs, genealogists and researchers had the opportunity Feb. 1 to learn about the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives during an event organized by the Craighead County Public Library in Jonesboro.

“We are grateful to the Library for the opportunity to let residents know about the research services and vast historical holdings NEARA has,” said Dr. Fatme Myuhtar-May, archival manager at NEARA. “The Library annually invites us to attend their Genealogy Night events.”

More than 100 people attended the Winter Genealogy Night. Archival Assistant Taylor Harbin represented the Arkansas State Archives branch and operated a display table that showcased NEARA.

“I talked with many people who were experienced in genealogical research or were enthusiastic about history,” Harbin said. “It was amazing to interact with so many people who recognize the importance of studying and preserving Arkansas history.”

Harbin gave a brief overview of NEARA’s history and described some of the research services provided by the Archives. He distributed promotional materials, including NEARA leaflets, and contact information.

Visitors, who had not heard of NEARA before, were thrilled to discover the historical repository exists in Northeast Arkansas. Harbin said most visitors had attempted genealogical research before but were pleasantly surprised to learn NEARA offers free access to at its branch location. NEARA also fulfills long-distance research requests and offers programs, such as collecting oral histories.

Participants were asked to consider donating materials, too. Those materials are preserved at NEARA for future generations. At least one woman said a photo of her family had been donated to NEARA years ago as part of a larger collection, most likely the Tom MacDonald Photograph Collection. She said she plans to email a research inquiry about the photo as part of her research.

For more information about the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, visit archives.arkansas. gov or call 870-878-6521.