As The Arc celebrates 60 years of advocacy, we have taken a major step in the construction of a new headquarters building in Waltham: moving to temporary offices. Staff worked together over several months to prepare for the move. The move and the construction are being funded by our Home for the Future Capital Campaign, which has raised more than $800,000 toward our goal of $1.6 million.
Since the existing building needed to be demolished to make room for a new one, everything in the building needed to be moved or stored, including decades of historical materials. We soon discovered that this was going to be the most daunting aspect of the move. In addition to documents showing our work on advocacy and policy development, we found hundreds of articles, memorabilia, and numerous unique items.
We realized that preserving this history was very important and that we had to find a way to preserve it and share it with others.
Our search for a home for these historical pieces led us to Brandeis University, which is just up the road from The Arc. Brandeis has a wonderful social justice collection in the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collection. These archives include the collections of Samuel Gridley Howe, Gunnar and Rosemary Dybwad, and Irving Zola. The University graciously accepted a large portion of The Arc’s historical material to place in that public collection.
“We are excited to be able to share this material with Brandeis, researchers and the wider community. The Brandeis collection will be supplemented with a record of disability advocacy in Massachusetts, some of which had national implications. There is much valuable information for research and education,” said The Arc’s Executive Director, Leo Sarkissian. The close working relationship with the Heller School at Brandeis can be discovered too given the roles of Gunnar Dybwad, Marty Krauss, and others.
The materials are being processed, and once they have been added to the collection, they will be available for public view at the University. The other collections housed there can be viewed now. To make an appointment to view the material call 781-736-4686, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.