2020 Project Spotlight: Archival Collection Support Services for USACE CEHO (SEARCH)

01/14/2021 4:33 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

ACRA is celebrating the work of its member firms through this new series highlighting 2020 projects. To be featured, submit your project here.

Archival Collection Support Services for USACE CEHO
Greater Washington, D.C. Area
SEARCH, Inc.


SEARCH conserved, arranged, and digitized collections from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Office of History (CEHO). The Norfolk District album was an amazing collection of carefully captioned photographs documenting civil works completed in the 1930s. SEARCH delivered high resolution scans with metadata to CEHO for incorporation into their publicly accessible Digital Library.


Some of the photographs in the album are featured on the USACE exhibit page on the project. From the exhibit page:

The album provides a snapshot of a brief three-year period in the history of Norfolk District. It illustrates the work the district undertook, as well as the equipment, the tools, and the methods used to do so. It also provides a glimpse of people involved with the district’s civil works—employees, hired hands, and contractors. Finally, the photos frequently reveal the landscape of the time, both the natural environment of land and water but also the built environment, including locks, dams, and weirs; bridges, piers, and docks; and offices, houses, and other facilities.

Of the twenty or so large civil works projects listed in the Norfolk District section of the Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers for fiscal year 1932, most are represented here pictorially. Listed first in the report and foremost in the district’s workload is Norfolk Harbor itself. Maintaining a navigable harbor through dredging and deepening of several channels and inlets in the area occupies many pages in the report and a multiplicity of the photos in the album. The album also features river work, such as dredging and straightening, from the large James River in Virginia to the smaller Scuppernong and Knobbs Creek in North Carolina.


The album features large and small projects alike, and also includes many images of the various boats owned and employed by USACE (great for boat enthusiasts!). The photos are available to browse, search, and download on the USACE digital library. You can learn more about the projects and people featured in the album on the exhibit page.


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