In 2019, Archives preservation coordinator Alison Reppert Gerber and digital media coordinator Kira Sobers completed a preservation readiness assessment and concluded that at the current rate of preservation, 188,890 audiovisual collection items around the Smithsonian will be unpreserved and face total loss by 2034. We have no light-hearted jokes in our pockets for this one. The potential risks are scary. Fortunately, there are some pretty talented staff across the Institution who are working to digitize and make accessible these recordings.
This American Archives Month, we teamed up with archivists and conservators around the Smithsonian to highlight the breadth of the Institution's AV collections. Five participants, listed below, took over our Instagram feed for the day to share about their work, discuss the collections, and update our audiences on what they've been up to during the Smithsonian's period of extended telework.
The AV Experts:
- Kira Sobers, Digital Media Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Pam Wintle, Senior Film Archivist, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
- Eddy Colloton, Project Conservator of Time-based Media, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Luke Moses, Time-Based Media Art Conservator, Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
- Dave Walker, Audiovisual Archivist, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Though we're in a constant state of doin' it for the 'Gram, we recognize that not all of our audiences might be all-consumed by social media, so we're reposting the takeovers below. Here's a tip for Instagram beginniners: click the arrow to the right of each post to view all of the clips and images.
So with that, slather some butter on that popcorn, kick up your feet, and get ready for some fascinating glimpses into the Smithsonian's audiovisual collections and the staff who work on them.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Human Studies Film Archives at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
- Audiovisual Preservation Readiness Assessment, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- TC Sound-Transcribing Audio Collections, Smithsonian Transcription Center
- Smithsonian Instituition Archives YouTube page
- "Hearing the World Is Yours," by Kira Sobers, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- "Stabilizing Lacquer Transcription Discs," by Alison Reppert Gerber, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives