Guggenheim Receives Grant to Plan an E-Repository
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) recently awarded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives a grant to begin work to establish an electronic records repository. Starting in early 2013, the 18-month project will develop a comprehensive plan to create and manage a repository of electronic records related to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and its flagship museum in New York, making the digital collections available for current and future scholarship.
As more and more records are created and stored electronically, the Archives needs methods of collecting, preserving, and providing access to electronic records before the information they contain is permanently lost. The project will focus on all electronic records, current and past, with the greatest challenge being the records from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many of these records were created in obsolete proprietary software, such as WordStar and Lotus Notes, and are stored on obsolete media, such as floppy and zip disks. In their current form, these records risk becoming inaccessible or corrupted and need to be migrated to a stable environment.
The archives, an integral part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, was formally established in 1973 and actively collects and holds information that illustrates the Guggenheim’s history. Through its collections, the Guggenheim Archives documents the development of Solomon Guggenheim’s private art collection, the activities of the foundation, and the functions of the museum from its inception in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting through its present incarnation. The archives’ collections include exhibition records; publications; administrative papers of previous museum directors and curators; records pertaining to the construction, renovations, and restorations of the museum’s landmark Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building; and other materials, including the papers of current and former trustees and audiovisual collections.
By laying the groundwork for a repository of currently inaccessible records, the archives will become better equipped to fulfill its mission to collect, preserve, and make available the activities and history of the Guggenheim.