News From Our Blog

Ask an Archivist on June 9

June 9 is Ask Archivists Day, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is participating in the event on Twitter.

Archivists collect, preserve, and protect our historical records and documents. This could be anything from old letters to photographs to emails. An archivist might be able to help you find information about your family using historical military records, land records, or ship passenger logs.

Archivists can help you answer questions such as:

  • What was the occupation of my great great grandfather?
  • Did I have any relatives immigrate through Ellis Island?
  • Who owned my house 100 years ago?

If you have a question for an archivist, just ask it on Twitter using the #AskArchivists hashtag on June 9. The @USNatArchives will be fielding questions for NARA and individual employees will be ready to help. You can also contact NARA via email or phone.

Other government agencies participating in Ask Archivists Day include:

  • Archives of American Art, Smithsonian, @ArchivesAmerArt
  • Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, @CarterLibrary
  • National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress, @ndiipp
  • National Museum of American History, Smithsonian, @amhistorymuseum
  • Smithsonian Institution, @smithsonian

Please note that archivists can’t perform detailed research for you, but they can point you in the right direction. If you’re new to archival research, NARA’s Getting Started Overview is a good introduction.

Motion-Triggered Cameras Capture Animals in the Wild


Photo of a Jaguar in Peru from the Smithsonian WILD project

This picture of a Jaguar was captured by a motion-triggered camera as part of the Smithsonian WILD project.

Scientists are using these cameras, which automatically take pictures when they sense the body heat or movement of an animal, to help answer a variety of ecological questions about the animals and their habitats

You can see more photos and videos of animals these cameras have captured from all across the globe at