The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded a grant of $250,000 in support of the Save Our Sounds audio preservation project, a joint initiative undertaken by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution. Save Our Sounds is supported by Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership of the National Park Service and the National Trust for HistoricPreservation.
The purpose of the project is to restore, preserve, describe and digitize endangered sound recordings in the collections of the Library and the Smithsonian and to set standards for other institutions to preserve and make accessible their collections of sound recordings. The grant will help to finance this project over the remainder of this year.
"This award is only the latest in the Rockefeller Foundation's 60-year history of support for the Library's efforts to preserve its collections of sound recordings," said Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center. "We have been raising funds from many organizations and private citizens, including our own Folklife Center staff, to accomplish the work of the Save Our Sounds project. The generous contribution from the Rockefeller Foundation ensures that we will reach our goal of matching the original grant from the National Park Service, and that our precious heritage of sound recordings will be available for future generations."
Already undergoing preservation treatment are sound recordings of traditional singers from New England, song and storytelling from the Pennsylvania Germans, revival church services from Appalachia, and spoken-word recordings made by the American Dialect Society.
A major part of the endangered sound recordings earmarked for this project will undergo preservation and digitization, and, thanks in large part to the support of the Rockefeller Foundation and many other generous contributors, these recordings will soon become accessible to researchers.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.