Becoming first Greek-letter organization to commit to transforming its vast archives into a 21st-century digital collection
Columbus, OH, November 10, 2017 – Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity and its Foundation today announced it has embarked on a ground-breaking project to build a comprehensive digital collection that showcases its vibrant history in the context of the women’s movement.
Through a partnership with digital history pioneer HistoryIT, Kappa is transforming its memorabilia, documents, scrapbooks, photographs and more into a fully searchable digital collection that will tell the story of the organization dating back to its founding in 1870.
“As we prepare for the next chapter of Kappa’s history, it’s important to capture the stories of our past,” said Beth Burkes, Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation Executive Director. “Partnering with a cutting-edge digital history company will enable our members to have the entirety of Kappa’s history, including the local chapter narrative, available at their fingertips by our Sesquicentennial in 2020.”
Kappa is the first Greek-letter organization to commit to preserving its extensive archives in its entirety for future generations while also using archival resources in innovative ways to support work with members and alumnae. Plans for this project also call for digital exhibits, education modules, and interactive experiences.
“In Kappa, we found a forward-looking organization eager to preserve its history, both as a way of engaging its members and as a way of sharing the myriad ways in which it has long supported the social and intellectual growth of women,” said Kristen Gwinn-Becker, HistoryIT chief executive officer. “It’s a great pleasure to work with partners who recognize the value of their heritage.”
In addition to presenting archives in an accessible way, HistoryIT provides its clients with high-resolution images stored on digital files to ensure that historical collections are secure in the event physical assets are destroyed due to aging, fire or some other disaster.
“There are thousands of stories buried in Kappa’s archival collection that we don’t want to lose,” Burkes continued. “Such as the story of member Mareta Nelle West, the geologist who selected the landing site for Apollo 11 and other manned missions to the moon. Or of member Jane Emig Ford, who at 105 pounds and five feet tall signed up immediately after graduation to serve with the Red Cross during World War II and drove the first Red Cross clubmobile over the Burma Road. Once the digital archive of Kappa is complete, these stories will come to life on screen in a whole new way. It is truly an exciting project to embark upon.”
About Kappa Kappa Gamma:
For 147 years, Kappa Kappa Gamma has provided leadership opportunities, educational programs, and, most importantly, the unwavering support of loyal sisters to help members cross the bridge from dreams to reality. With 141 active chapters in the U.S. and Canada, more than 250 alumnae associations around the world, and more than 280,500 initiated members since its founding, Kappa empowers women to pursue a lifetime of excellence. The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation delivers educational and leadership training, preserves the Fraternity’s heritage, provides scholarships, and offers financial assistance to members in need. For more information about the Fraternity or its Foundation, visit www.kappa.org.
Digital history leader HistoryIT helps transform archives into engaging websites that are easily accessed by scholars and the general public alike. The company’s team of historians and technologists partners with organizations of all types and sizes to develop and implement strategic plans that leverage historical collections. Clients include the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.