"What Are You Working On, Dorothy Dougherty?"

Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!

This week, we introduce Dorothy Dougherty, Public Programs Specialist for the National Archives at New York City.

Dorothy Dougherty at her desk in New York City.
Dorothy Dougherty at her desk in New York City.

What is your name and title?

I am Dorothy Dougherty, Public Programs Specialist for the National Archives at New York City.

Where is your job located?

My office is located in the West Village/Greenwich Village area of Manhattan and has a nice little view of the Hudson River.  The other offices and our research room have great views of uptown. Because we do public programs both onsite and off, my position allows me to travel to different places in the New York City Metropolitan area such as Ellis Island, Manhattan in general, Long Island and New Jersey.  I also have the opportunity to visit our other NARA facilities and attend national conferences.

What is your job in a nutshell?

I coordinate all aspects of public education and outreach efforts for the NY office and education programs for the Northeast Region.  I am fortunate to have a few dedicated and hardworking educators as part of my team; as a result we have some very successful programming.

What are you working on right now?

Currently I am working quite a bit on space and design planning for our new office in downtown Manhattan at the U.S. Alexander Hamilton Custom House building at One Bowling Green.  It is a landmark structure, so we are working with GSA and the design contractor to build out a functional space to meet current archival standards as well enhance public spaces to address growing patron needs and host more programs.  We also want to maintain the integrity of the structure while being as “green” as our budget allows.  It is an especially exciting time for us, and we plan on moving in the next eighteen months.

One of the other projects I’m involved with is preparing materials for new exhibits, programs and outreach efforts especially in preparation for our office relocation.  To help this effort, this summer we completed a comprehensive digitizing project of select images.  I’ve showcased a selection of them our NARA at NYC Facebook page already but we plan to also add many of them to the NARA Flickr photostream. These photos hadn’t been inventoried or made available previously, so now we hope their inclusion on NARA Flickr will help generate some interest in this collection.   We have also been very busy identifying additional materials for our opening exhibit in 2012, The World’s Port: Through Documents of the National Archives.

View of the Hudson River from the National Archives at New York City right before sunset.
View of the Hudson River from the National Archives at New York City right before sunset.

How long have you been at NARA?  Have you worked at any other NARA location?

A little over ten years ago I moved from NY to DC begin my career at NARA as an Archives Specialist. I worked at Archives II in NPOL as part of the Archival Research Catalog team, and our primary goal was development, deployment, and training for ARC.  It was a great experience that allowed me to meet a number of NARA staff from many different offices.  When I came back to NY, I was briefly a Senior Records Analyst and soon after moved into my current position.

What has changed since you started at NARA?

I think a good deal has changed at NARA since I started  – on many different levels, but the one thing that never changes is the passion and commitment NARA staff show for their work.  This is one agency were many people show a great deal of personal ownership for their work, and it is a wonderful thing to witness.

Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?

Hmm. That’s a tough one.  When I officially became the first Public Programs Specialist in the regions, it solidified my past museum experience and career goals of the time.  For me program development is an ongoing chance start something new and challenging, and continually learns about the history within our records. One year we did a huge Veteran’s program. We offered a full day of films, lectures, and activities.  Many veterans expressed their sincerest thanks for being invited to such an event that had great meaning to them personally. They felt so honored.  That was a great day.

Research Room view of Uptown with the Empire State Building in the right corner.
Research Room view of Uptown with the Empire State Building in the right corner.

What are your passions or interests outside of work?

I know it sounds corny, but I love spending time with family and friends. My husband, daughter and I love visiting historic sites, museums and area farms. Although I work in the city, I someday hope to live on a farm and even have a goat or two–that’s right–a goat…  My husband and I met on a farm so the idea of it has a special place in our hearts.  When my daughter was born our former farmer friends named a cow after her- again kinda corny but also really cool in my book.  I also recently started cycling again – not only is it great exercise but very therapeutic!

What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?

The last book I enjoyed reading was Pride and Prejudice for Zombies.  It was a fun twist on a classic (and one of my favorite stories) with not too much blood and guts.

Meet more NARA employees: http://www.archives.gov/careers/employees/

3 thoughts on “"What Are You Working On, Dorothy Dougherty?"

  1. Another great WAYWOW feature this week. I especially love the NYC skyline views.

    Thanks Dorothy for your contributions to NARA’s public programs in the regions. (BTW – I will really miss Varick Street, but I am sure I will love the Custom House!)

  2. I am trying to locate info on my husbands mom
    Her name was Virginia Lillian Moore and she was born on an Indian Reservation November 20, 1925. That is all I know .

    1. Hi Sherri,

      If she was born on a reservation, there probably won’t be a birth record at the state level. Do you know what tribe she was? If you don’t, it may be difficult to find any records. If you do know the tribe, though, you may be able to find something by contacting them directly.

      Even if you can’t find a birth record, you might be able to find something else. Again, it will greatly help to know the tribe. Take a look at our website- we have a lot of information on researching Native American heritage. http://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/

      – Katherine

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