The Bracero History Archives was created after the Bracero Program started in the United States during World War II. The program was intended to help with labor shortages on farms while men were off at war. This was an intergovernmental program that lasted between the 1940’s and 1950’s bringing Mexican guest workers into the United States. The archive works to collect items, oral histories, photographs, and so much more of the Mexican workers who came to the United States through the Bracero Program to document what happened.
The archive has 6 tabs to explore different topics including “Archive,” “Teaching,” “History,” “Resources,” “About,” and “Partners.” I will be looking at each throughout this blog post. Below is a photo of the homepage that serves as a starting point for research and exploration. A very nice feature is that you can also see the site in Spanish since most of the people who are stakeholders are going to speak Spanish.
The “Archive” tab is the main function of this site since it focuses on the archive itself. When you click it, it takes you to the page on the left. Here, you can browse all of the items in their collection or narrow it down to just photos, only documents, oral histories, or contributed items. This helps to navigate and narrow down the options for what you might be looking for since these are their main donated collection pieces. Within the names as seen below, you can listen to and see a transcription of the oral histories.
The “Teaching” tab includes a short background and timeline for teachers to look at to get an understanding of the topic. Below that, the archives have three lessons based on their content for teachers to give in class. On the right is an example of one of the lesson plans using their photos archives. These lesson plans include so much for teachers and are a great resource to use in a classroom!
The “History tab is very straight forward but not what I expected it to be. Instead of having a history of the archive or of Bracero’s it is a Bibliography of books that you can look at to further your knowledge.
The “Resources” tab is very helpful. First, it explains that the site is an open access archives meaning you do not have to pay for its service or go through a university library that already pays for it. This makes the archive very accessible to the general public. The site then continues with a series of videos on how to navigate the site including ways on adding your own files to the archive to be looked at by the archives historian for publication in the archive. Having these tools and resources available to the public who may want to add to it is wonderful. The videos are sadly not in Spanish though which is something that the archive could improve on.
The “About” tab gives you a brief history of the Bracero’s but not about the archive which was a bit misleading. I wanted to know when it was founded and by who especially since the other tabs touch on this history. It does, further down, include biographies and credentials of those working for the archive.
The last tab, “Partners,” talks about universities that are helping with the oral history projects for this archive as well as partners who help with visuals and collections.
Overall, I would say this site is very user friendly and has a lot of great information especially for a public access archive. The videos on how to navigate the archive are very user friendly and are helpful in many aspects of navigating the site and how to use it to the best of your ability.