THE STORY OF THE STUFF - A Web Documentary & Multi-Modal Digital Humanities Project - 2015

An investigation into America’s obsession with temporary memorials, THE STORY OF THE STUFF mixes documentary video and a personal essay as it tracks what happens to more than half a million letters, 65,000 teddy bears, and hundreds of thousands of other packages, donations, and condolence items sent to Newtown, Connecticut, in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting.

As Maynor tracks Newtown’s stuff she also reflects on her experience of working in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

In addition to the interactive web documentary, the website includes a Scalar learning module for students of Information Science and detailed case studies (in the form of a book chapter) of archiving in the aftermath of tragedy.

Book Chapter of Case Studies: 

Maynor, Ashley R. "Response to the Unthinkable: Collecting and Archiving Condolence and Temporary Memorial Materials following Public Tragedies." In Handbook of Research on Disaster Management and Contingency Planning in Modern Libraries, ed. Emy Nelson Decker and Jennifer A. Townes, 582-624 (2016). doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8624-3.ch025

Publication of Education & Outreach Materials: Winter 2015


  • Filmgate Interactive, Miami, Florida. February 2016. | Site-specific video and art installation; screening & presentation.

  • Made in New York Media Center, Brooklyn, New York. August 2015. | Video installation.

  • Storycode - Film Society at Lincoln Center, New York, New York. July 2015. | Screening & presentation.

  • Scribe Video Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. July 2015. | Screening & presentation.


  • “Within the Archives: Our Stories, Ourselves” at “Storytelling, Archives & Resilience” Keynote Presentation: Northeastern University Day of Remembrance for the Boston Marathon Bombing. Boston, Massachusetts. April 2018.

  • “Exhibiting Sorrow: Memorial Tributes to Victims & Community Healing in the Wake of Violence” Co-Presenter at National Council on Public History Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada. April 2018.

  • “Documenting Resilience: Condolence Collection Projects in the Wake of Violence.” Panel moderator/commentator at National Council on Public History Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada. April 2018.

  • “Documenting Sorrow: Collecting and Archiving Memorial Materials from School Shootings.” Panelist at Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. July 2017.

  • “Sustainable & Accessible Interactive Documentary Storytelling Without Heavy Coding.” Solo presentation at Digital Humanities Summer Institute Colloquium, Victoria, British Columbia. June 2017.

  • “Archiving the Aftermath: Curation & Access in American Grief Archives.”Panelist at joint forum coordinated by the Association of College & Research Libraries, American Library Association Conference, Orlando, Florida. June 2016.


“After A Tragedy Like The Marathon Bombing, What Do We Do With All The Stuff Left Behind?” WBUR. Ally Jarmanning. April 12, 2018. <>.

"Virginia Tech Shooting, 10 Years Later, Has Effect on UT Librarian." Knoxville News Sentinel. Rachel Ohm. April 15, 2017. <>.

"Tech on The Beach: The FilmGate Interactive Creative Conference 2016." Filmmaker Magazine. Lauren Wissot. March 4, 2016.  <>.

"In the Wake of Tragedy: Librarian and archivist’s web documentary explores makeshift memorials." American Libraries Magazine. George M. Eberhart. December 14, 2015. <>.

"This Documentary Explores the Deeper Meaning of the Gifts That Pour in After Mass Shootings." The Trace. Elizabeth Van Brocklin. December 14, 2015. <>.

"Redirecting Sympathy After Mass Shootings Toward Those Who Can Effect Change."  WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio. Diane Orson. December 14, 2015. <>.

“Web Documentary tells ‘The Story of the Stuff.’” Newtown Bee. Nancy Crevier. April 20, 2015. <>.

“The Story of the Stuff.” Radio IQ - WVTF Public Radio, Robbie Harris. April 16, 2015. <>.