Save Our Sounds:America's Recorded Sound Heritage Project
Mountain Chief of the Blackfoot Tribe listens
to a cylinder recording of a Blackfoot song made by Frances Densmore
(left), 1906. Library of Congress.
A Save America's Treasures Project of the Smithsonian and the
Library of Congress
The American Folklife Center in the Library
of Congress and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in the
Smithsonian Institution are collaborating on a landmark project to preserve
heritage--irreplaceable recordings of America's music and the voices
of her people.
The Save America's Treasures program of the White House Millenium
Council has awarded a grant of $750,000 toward this effort, recognizing
these recordings as irreplacable American treasures. We have eighteen months
to raise $750,000 in matching funds. We hope that everyone, citizens, musicians,
and cultural advocates everywhere, will support this crucial effort.
The archives at these two institutions include over 140,000 one-of-a-kind
non-commercial field recordings of American stories, songs, poems, speech,
and roots music from 1890 to the present. There are iconic recordings such
as Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land and Leadbelly's Good
Night Irene, and there are over a million other recordings from every
state in the nation and many nations around the world.
With your help, Smithsonian and Library of Congress experts, working in
concert, will recover, protect, and preserve the most endangered and priceless
recordings from their collections.
This high-profile national project will bring the critical issue of sound
preservation to the attention of the public and will help toward the preservation
of recorded sound throughout the nation.
The American Folklife Center provides presentations of selected ethnographic
collections online, with recordings, images, and text, through the Library
of Congress American Memory Project. These provide examples of the types
of collections the Save Our Sounds project hopes to preserve.