The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 169: Archivist of the United States David Ferriero
Today, we’re honored to be joined by the 10th Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. Ferriero was confirmed to the position on November 6, 2009, and – surprisingly – he’s the first librarian (by training) to hold the position. Earlier in his career, Mr. Ferriero served on the executive team at two of the country’s top academic libraries: at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Duke University. Immediately prior to the National Archives, though, he served as the director for the New York Public Libraries.
If you recall, we previously had on the show the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden. Talking to Hayden and Ferriero so close together is incredibly revealing in how those two institutions differ. Too many people see the National Archives as a single building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where you can see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. While that’s true, it’s so much more than that. The National Archives is not only that stately building with the magnificent rotunda. It’s also research centers dotted across the country, it’s 14 different presidential libraries, and it’s millions of documents that tell the story of our country.
And that’s still just scratching the tip of the iceberg. Regular listeners to our show will likely have heard us talk about the amazing Sleepover at the National Archives event. It’s incredible. Where else can you get served breakfast by the AOTUS himself? Seriously, he’s flipping pancakes in the morning. Read my write-up here, and make your own reservations here!
On this episode, we talk to Mr. Ferriero about his mission to further the principles of Open Government, how the National Archives is free from the swinging pendulum of partisan politics, collaboration with the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, the value of a liberal arts education, and the merits of Wikipedia!