Your History Month

Previously unpublished photos like this one of Lena Horne (copyright Sam Falk/The New York Times) are showcased by The Times for Black History Month. The collection includes Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, and other historic figures, as well as scenes of daily life.

Bravo to The New York Times for showcasing a trove of newly unearthed photos for Black History Month—and for admitting that its own narrow vision may have precluded publication decades ago. On a narrower scale, the same thing happens time and again when corporate history researchers and writers delve into client archives. One of the best parts of our jobs at is to discover and share compelling, tear-at-the-heart, enlighten-the-mind client material that has simply been overlooked or forgotten. Your organization can declare its own History Month and follow the same process.
* Dig into a sampling of boxes stored offsite; marketing department files make a good starting point
* Ask employees to upload pictures of their work spaces on Instagram or Pinterest
* Do outside research on your founders and share the findings
* Conduct oral history interviews with people from every level, not just the corner offices; audiorecord and transcribe them, or videorecord and post them
* Start a resource file of corporate history anecdotes and factoids that can pep up executives’ public speeches

Your business anniversary happens once a year, not just at 10 or 25 or 100. Make it an annual focal point for employee engagement.