The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The Fifty Nifty

In January 2010 I posted a piece offering a glimpse of the researcher population that visited the MHS in 2009. This morning I sat down to compose a similar piece for 2010. But then I got distracted. As I worked through our researcher database, tallying up the different places researchers had visited from, I discovered that in June of 2010 we had a multi-day research visit from a resident of West Virginia!

If you did not read the January 2010 post, you may not understand why I find it so exciting that we had a researcher from West Virginia, so I will explain. With the closing of the first decade of the 21st century, West Virginia was the only state not represented in our researcher database. We had recorded visits from researchers from all 49 other states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. But up to that point the West Virginians had eluded us. Now with the opening of the second decade of the 21st century we can claim visitors from all fifty states - an interesting piece of trivia and a testament to the widespread appeal of our collections to researchers around the country.

In 2010 alone, the MHS was visited by researchers from 47 states. Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota were the only states not represented this year. As usual we also had a number of international visitors. Folks traveled to the MHS library from Australia, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Russia, Scotland, and Taiwan just to name a few. Our international visitors comprise the smallest percentage of our individual researchers, but they often are in town for extended periods of time, making multiple visits to the library and are better represented in the total research visit category.

I ponder how I missed the West Virginian at the time of his visit. He was a researcher I spoke to - concerning his research, not his home! And I imagine that the staff member working the reception desk must have been one of our newer employees, not aware that I was on the look out for a researcher from West Virginia, thus not alerting me to the fact.

So now I must define identify a new geographical goal. I wonder how many of the Canadian provinces are represented in our database...



permalink | Published: Wednesday, 5 January, 2011, 8:00 AM