A busy pandemic for the Portman Archives

by Jill Sweetapple, SGA Blog Contributor

Westin Peachtree Plaza; ca.1976
© 1976 Alexandre Georges courtesy of the Portman Archives Interior of the Westin Peachtree Plaza by John C. Portman, Jr. with Olga De Amaral’s commissioned work, ‘El Gran Muro’, hanging within the central atrium.

Tell us a bit about the Portman Archive, for those who may not know about it.
The Portman Archives is the repository for the architectural and artistic contributions of John C. Portman, Jr. serving to promote and preserve his architectural philosophy and legacy. We are centrally located in the heart of Peachtree Center, one of his lasting contributions to the architecture of downtown Atlanta. The Portman Archives act to provide resources for research, digitization, and circulation of information and assets from our collections, internally, locally, and internationally.

What is your staffing, are you a lone arranger or are you a team?
Here at the Portman Archives, we are a team of three, directed by the leadership of the Portman Foundation. In addition to myself, the visual materials archivist, there are two other wonderful archivists, Becca Brown and Katie Twomey.

What kinds of collections do you have in your archive?
Our collections include architectural drawings, paintings, sculptures, artifacts, photographic materials, and marketing materials all related to Mr. Portman’s career as an architect and developer.

What were some of the changes in your job due to the pandemic and lockdown, and how did these changes reveal new opportunities?
During the pandemic we shifted our focus to digital projects, while also using the time away from our physical assets as an opportunity to revamp our archival policies and procedures. During this initiative, we streamlined our mission statement and collection policy and began working on a collaborative deaccession project that focuses on reducing our physical footprint, while ensuring retention and expansion of our digital collections. This exercise has been both challenging and rewarding!

My favorite example from our deaccession project has been working to rehome a beautiful set of Olga De Amaral weavings titled, ‘El Gran Muro’ that were commissioned by Mr. Portman in the 1970s to hang in the central atrium of the Westin Peachtree Plaza. While these weavings help to tell the story of Mr. Portman’s Westin Peachtree Plaza, we have come to realize that keeping the physical items is outside of our collection policy due to their scale and our inability to display them, especially with our move to smaller square footage on the horizon.

While the pandemic certainly made it more of a challenge to handle and show the weavings in-person to interested institutions, our deaccessioning initiative has really proven to create a new and exciting opportunity to build relationships with institutions who share our goal of making these assets accessible and able to be enjoyed by the public once again!

What prompted your move?
Our move represents a new direction for the Portman Archive as we aim to be more outward facing in our promotion of Mr. Portman’s legacy. Our new space will also position us closer to our sister companies within the Portman Companies so that we can collaborate more efficiently. We are excited about what the future holds for The Portman Archives and look forward to sharing with SGA in the future. If interested, please visit our website at www.portmanarchives.com!

Celebrating Georgia Archives Month with The Case of the College Sweetheart

By Autumn Johnson, Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University Special Collections continues its tradition of celebrating Georgia Archives Month with another exciting game experience for their campus community. This year’s The Case of the College Sweetheart is an immersive mystery game in which players must examine historical evidence and digital clues to solve the forgotten mysteries of Georgia Southern’s “Sweetheart” Campus. The game offers players an opportunity to engage with archival primary sources that document the historic area of campus in a fun and engaging way. The program builds upon the success of their 2019 Secrets, Sources, and Swamp face-to-face escape room but in a safer, semi-virtual environment that allows players to socially distance themselves.

The Game
Case of the College Sweetheart mystery game sets are available for checkout at the library checkout desk. A welcome letter included in the set introduces players to a fictitious, but real-world scenario that includes a series of interconnected puzzles. Working individually or in small groups, participants have a two-hour checkout window to examine physical game materials including archival documents, private correspondence, and campus memorabilia to help solve seven interconnected puzzles. Access to digital clues and puzzle prompts are available through the online game portal at georgiasouthern.libguides.com/sweetheart. The mystery is revealed to players by solving the final clue. Participants who successfully complete the game are eligible to enter a grand prize drawing.

The program will be available throughout October and is partially funded by the 2020 Georgia Archives Month Spotlight on Archives Grant.

2015 Georgia Archives Month "Spotlight on Archives" Grant

The Georgia Archives Month (GAM) “Spotlight on Archives” Grant is meant to help archives, museums, or heritage institutions in Georgia promote public awareness of their archives and manuscript collections. This grant will help selected organizations fund their events promoting the theme of “Snapshots from the South” during Georgia Archives Month in October.
The GAM Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s “Spotlight on Archives” grant will have two award levels – $500 and $250! The grant application can be found at http://soga.org/page-1825398. Please send any questions and completed applications to ga.archivesmonth@gmail.com. The deadline for receiving grant applications has been extended to June 10!

Show Your Support for Georgia Archives Month!



It’s time to begin the celebration of Georgia Archives Month with a proclamation from the Governor!

The Georgia Archives Month Committee is going to have a photo op on Thursday, September 1st with Governor Nathan Deal.  We will be celebrating his proclamation of October as Georgia Archives Month. Please come and join us at 10:30 a.m. at the Governor’s Office (Room 203) at the State Capitol.  This is a great opportunity to publicize our cultural institutions statewide.
For further information, please contact the Georgia Archives Month committee at ga.archivesmonth@gmail.com

*Too see more photographs of last year’s GAM presentation by Governor Sonny Perdue, like the photograph included above, please visit  http://tinyurl.com/3t2zjhb

Georgia Archives Month Event at Georgia Archives

The Georgia Archives is pleased to announce that Documentary Director Ben Loeterman will join them for a Special Edition of Lunch & Learn at the Georgia Archives on Thursday, October 7, from noon to 1 p.m. Please join them to learn about how Mr. Loeterman transforms archival records into “living” documents through film.
His most recent work, The People v. Leo Frank is a 90-minute feature documentary about one of the most complex and compelling criminal cases in American history: the 1913 murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in an Atlanta pencil factory, and the trial and lynching of her accused killer, Leo Frank.  Scholar interviews and major dramatic recreations for The People v. Leo Frank were shot on location in Atlanta. 
Lunch & Learn is a free lecture series sponsored by the Friends of Georgia Archives and History.  Bring your lunch to enjoy during the lecture.  For more information, please call 678-364-3730.
Georgia Archives
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

Georgia Archives Month Proclamation



On September 9, 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue issued a proclamation designating October as the 11th Georgia Archives Month.  Several institutions across the state are hosting events encouraging people to “Travel Back in Time,” the theme for this year’s celebration.

A complete listing of events is listed on the SGA web site at http://soga.org/activities
It is not too late to plan something special for your institution and call attention to the work that you do.  If you need advice or have any questions, contact Bridget Lerette, blerette@archatl.com, (404-978-2772) or Elaine DeNiro, edeniro@roswellgov.com, (770-594-6405). 

*Photo by Alana Joyner. Additional photographs are available.

Georgia Archives Month event at Clayton State

In celebration of Georgia Archives Month, the Masters of Archival Science program at Clayton State University will be hosting speaker Jason R. Baron, Esq., on Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:30.

Mr. Baron will speak on the topic “What Do I Do With a Billion Emails?: The Future of Information Retrieval in E-Discovery.”

For more information on the event, contact Richard Pearce-Moses at rpearcemoses@clayton.edu

For more information on Mr. Baron, visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonrbaron

To learn more about Georgia Archives Month, visit http://soga.org/archivesmonth

Georgia Archives Month Update: Get Your Flyer!

Flyers for the 2010 Georgia Archives Month are available for download at the Society of Georgia Archivists website: Download here.

Don’t forget to print your flyer and post it around your workplace. It’s an easy way for you to contribute to the promotion of this Georgia Archives event.

If you are planning an event for GAM, be sure to visit the website or contact co-chairs Bridget Lerette or Elaine DeNiro.

Georgia Archives Month: How Will You Celebrate?

In October, Georgia will celebrate its 11th archives celebration — Georgia Archives Month. This year’s theme is “Travel Back in Time.”  There’s plenty of time to plan special events such as exhibits, tours, lectures, workshops, collection viewings, etc.  For information and ideas, visit our web site at http://soga.org/archivesmonth.  It includes lists of events held in past years as well as an event guide to assist with planning.
The purpose of Archives Month is to celebrate the value of Georgia’s historical records, publicize the many ways historical records enrich our lives, and recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records. This is the ideal time to call attention to your organization or local government, and its work in preserving Georgia’s documentary heritage.
We encourage you to think of ways in which your organization or local government can celebrate Archives Month in your community.  If you are planning an event, please email blerette@archatl.com and we will add your event to the upcoming 2010 Archives Month web site.
If you have any questions, please view our web site at http://soga.org/archivesmonth or contact Bridget Lerette, blerette@archatl.com, 404-978-2772; or Elaine DeNiro, edeniro@roswellgov.com, 770-594-6405). Thank you.