Meet Daniel Willis, the new Audiovisual Archivist
Posted May 22, 2023
Topics: Archives & Library

Daniel Willis, Audiovisual ArchivistDaniel grew up near Dayton, Ohio. He loved visiting museums as a child and developed a love for history. He attended Miami University and graduated with a degree in history. While in school, Daniel discovered an interest in paper manufacturing and pursued a minor in paper science. His love of both history and paper led him to the wonderful world of archives. Daniel attended graduate school at Wright State University where he earned a master’s degree in public history.

While getting his master’s degree, Daniel worked as an intern at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in the museum’s archive. During his internship he was responsible for processing and arranging manuscript and photo collections. The largest collection he worked on was the Yvonne Walker-Taylor Manuscript Collection. Walker-Taylor was the first woman to be president of Wilberforce University. Her collection contained materials from her presidential administration and distinguished career in higher education.

Yvonne Walker-Taylor sitting with Wilberforce University Students in the Wilberforce Carnegie Library.

This image of Yvonne Walker-Taylor and Wilberforce University Students was one of the many images Daniel Willis processed in the Yvonne Walker-Taylor Manuscript Collection.

After graduating, Daniel spent time as a member of the Ohio History Service Corps, an AmeriCorps program dedicated to the advancement of local history organizations across Ohio. His host site was the NAAMCC. Daniel’s service in the program allowed him to further develop as a professional. He enjoyed working with members of historical organizations  across the state and hearing the stories about their sites. He continued to work with the NAAMCC collections and projects during his service.

Daniel was hired as the university archivist for Wilberforce University where he was responsible for cataloging and processing the university’s historical collections. His favorite materials to handle were the university yearbooks. The students loved to see how their school was decades before their time. Working at Wilberforce was also an opportunity for Daniel to see similar collections to those he had worked on as an intern at the NAAMCC. He got to handle more of Dr. Walker-Taylor’s administrative papers and other collections from the university’s past presidents. In addition to his role in the archives, Daniel worked in the university’s library and assisted patrons with their research. While working at both the NAAMCC and Wilberforce University Daniel found himself enamored with their photograph collections. He enjoyed how researchers eagerly engaged with images and how the myriad of photograph formats helped place an image in time.

Daniel is excited to be a part of the Ohio History Connection as the audiovisual archivist. The audiovisual collections come in all types of formats including film, photographs, posters and more. He is excited to work with all of them.

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