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Abstract

The College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston, South Carolina is an archival repository, museum, and center for public programming dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making public the history of African-Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Currently, the social media strategy consists of maintaining a blog called “Not Just in February” and a Facebook page, but we are investigating other mediums. These platforms were chosen by the administration to promote the programs and archival collections at the institution. The effort to create an indelible Web presence is imperative if the institution wishes to stay engaged and current.

The Avery Research Center's staff uses Facebook to upload photos of its programs, highlight current news and events happening around Charleston, and share information on African-American history and archives on a national scope. Alternatively, the blog is a behind-the-scenes look at what archivists do, highlighting items within collections as well as bringing historical context to the records. The blog is used as a space for African-American and Charleston history scholars to engage the public with their history. As a result of using social media, the Avery Research Center has been able to connect with individuals and organizations locally and nationally to inform them of local African-American history that was hidden while concurrently getting people interested in preserving their own collections. However, some of the main challenges in using social media have been staffing and time to commit to updating the page and the blog.

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