April 28, 1997

NARA Pittsfield Staff, Volunteers and Friends Receive
"Hammer Award" from the
Vice President's National Performance Review

Pittsfield, MA . . . On April 25, Archivist of the United States John Carlin presented a "Hammer Award" to the staff, volunteers and friends of the Silvio O. Conte Microfilm Research Room at the National Archives and Records Administration -- Northeast Region in Pittsfield. Through the "Hammer Award," Vice President Gore's National Performance Review recognizes teams of Federal employees who have made significant contributions in support of reinventing government operations. The Pittsfield staff, volunteers and friends were honored for their high-quality public service and for instituting public outreach programs that make Federal records more available to citizens.

The research room in Pittsfield operates with only two full time Federal employees, Jean F. Nudd and Walter V. Hickey. To improve the services offered to the community, the two developed an extensive volunteer program that provided enhanced service while saving taxpayers over $70,000. Seventy dedicated volunteers and friends of the facility assist researchers, respond to requests for information and prepare indexes to the microfilm collection.

Ms. Nudd and Mr. Hickey have also developed an extremely active public outreach program, educating citizens about their government and access to its records. They teach workshops on researching family history and, using Federal records, make presentations to school children, community groups and social organizations.

In nominating Ms. Nudd and Mr. Hickey for the award, Diane P. LeBlanc, Administrator of NARA's Northeast Region, said, "Both Jean and Walter have a contagious passion for the history of this great country and for helping its citizens discover it. Because of their program, their passion is now shared by seventy volunteers and friends who help them accomplish great things."

Since June 1994, more than 25,000 have visited the Microfilm Research Room. Visitors from all 50 states and as far away as Australia, England, and France have used the facility.

The recognition of the staff, volunteers and friends at the Pittsfield research room marks NARA's third "Hammer Award." The Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch in College Park, MD received the award in 1995, and the staff of NARA's regional facility in Waltham, MA received it a year earlier.

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