As HistoryIT celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2021, we want to take the time to share how amazing our team of history savers is. In this blog series, you’ll get to know each member of our organization who makes HistoryIT’s history-saving work possible. We’d like to introduce you to Judy Netherland.
Judy is the glue that holds HistoryIT together! As our Director of Operations, she makes our lives easier by ensuring we know who is doing what, when and for how long. We’re incredibly grateful for all the details Judy keeps tabs on to ensure that we can maximize our time spent saving history.
1. What about history inspires you?
Originally it was the everyday things that nobody else seemed to think were amazing, like the ordinary people and the little things they did every day. Then I realized it was preserving these little things that became my true passion. Things as little as family pictures, birthday cards, ribbons you earned in grade school, all these things are important in helping future historians understand us. We need to preserve these same items from the past because they will not last forever.
2. Why is it important to digitally preserve our history?
Historical archives provide a window into our past, into the past of our communities, country and this world. They are historical treasures. No matter how hard we try to protect them, age will invariably destroy them. If we do not digitally preserve these historical treasures, we stand to lose them forever.
3. In your role at HistoryIT what does a typical day look like?
I’m typically managing one thing or another — whether it is workflow or information. Everything I do is meant to increase efficiency so we can save more history
4. When did you discover HistoryIT and what is one of your favorite history saving moments so far?
I found HistoryIT as I was looking to move out of the industry I was working in and into the realm of Public History. I think one of my favorite history saving moments was being able to see a collection of dresses from one archive that dated back to the 1800s. Historical fashion and clothing are my historical chocolate. I think I had to act super cool at that moment, but inside I was like a kid in a candy store, with free reign.
5. What’s one thing you want your clients to know about HistoryIT?
I think that the most important thing to know is that the passion to save history is genuine. The work we do here is 100% about the need to preserve history and the desire that drives that. When you work doing something you are passionate about, work is no longer work.
6. In celebration of HistoryIT’s 10th Anniversary, what is one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
This is a hard question to answer because each project is full of great history, but if I have to give an answer, I’d probably say Kappa Kappa Gamma. I came in at the tail end of this project, but their collection is so vast and the great wonders within would marvel any historian.
7. If you were to look back on this interview in 10 years, what mystery of history do you hope will be solved?
This one is very difficult to answer. So many mysteries. I’d say my capstone thesis for my BA. I’d love to have DNA testing approved on Henry VIII to see why he was such a tyrant. Henry VIII was such a great example of Renaissance Princes. So much could be revealed through DNA testing, but the UK won’t allow it. My thesis was simply that he was ill prepared and spoiled but there are many other theories in the world of history and medical anthropology. A DNA test would prove or disprove other theories, proving my capstone thesis.
8. Who will play you when they create a movie about the making of HistoryIT?
Gwyneth Paltrow. That’s a shout out to my amazing mother who used to tell me I looked like her, which I never saw, but our mothers definitely look at us through rose colored glasses.