Epelbaum project

Hello, my name is Selina Antonucci and I’m an Honours student in the Public History with Internship program at Concordia University. I also go by the name Archive minion #2. 

I know what you’re thinking… Public History? Internship? Public History can’t be easily defined but it does include methods from the discipline of History and ties in with professions in museums, historic sites, and archives to name a few. So what does this have to do with an internship? Apart from the fact that it’s mandatory for my program, I gain experience as well as putting into practice what is preached in the classroom. There’s also something exciting about unearthing the past and interacting with it!

History isn’t one large timeline of events with dates and important people. In fact, there are an infinite number of smaller historical narratives and when studying each of these, we must maintain an objective point of view while keeping in mind the beliefs of people in the past. In looking at the past, we not only learn from previous events but more importantly, we can learn where we are going in relation to it.

When I was looking for a place to intern, I knew I had to work in archives. My love for organizing runs deep and I am happy when I am on the move. Isn’t archive a sedentary job though? Not necessarily and fortunately for me, the project I am undertaking isn’t just about identifying and arranging documents. This project is Norman Epelbaum’s life’s work. Epelbaum, who passed away last spring, was not only a photographer but also the owner of the Regent Photo Studio.

The Jewish Public Library Archives wishes to commemmorate Epelbaum and his work by creating a temporary exhibit, using photographs he took throughout his career. The exhibit will include a variety of events Epelbaum photographed and is scheduled to be opened by spring 2012. 

Epelbaum’s work spans across decades, so it wasn’t a suprise to see the mountain of boxes waiting to be opened, sorted and digitized. Just to give you an idea of how big this project is, I’ve been going through photographs and negatives for two months now and there are still more boxes to sort! I will post more updates throughout the progress.

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