Adapting Traditional Processes to
Nontraditional Collections: Putting
the Dance Theatre of Harlem
Archives Back Together
A...
The Dance Heritage Coalition
An alliance of major dance
collections in the United States:
● American Dance Festival
● Ariz...
DHC Mission
To document,
preserve, and create
access to the dance
legacy of the United
States.
Daniel Nagrin in his work N...
Dance Company Assessments:
Lessons Learned
● Dance companies save everything, are
overwhelmed by lack of space, time,
reso...
Outcomes From 2011 Dance
Archives Project
● Scholarly assessments
● Inventories of their
archives
● Video preservation
and...
The Dance Theatre of Harlem
Archive Lives and Breathes
School, Company, and the Dancing Through
Barriers® education progra...
Dance Theatre of Harlem Co-Founders
Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook
Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook.
Photograph by Marbeth...
DTH’s Place in African-American History
Photograph by Sharon Perry.
8
DTH Archives
(Top Left) The Company with Nelson
Mandela. Photograph courtesy of Dance
Theatre of Harlem Archives.
(Bottom ...
put some
pics here of
Judy
dancing?
Judy Tyrus, former
principal dancer,
began volunteering in
the archive in 2007
before ...
Finding Treasures Amidst Chaos
Handwritten score by Karel Shook. Photograph by Kat Bell.
Original drawing for Footprints D...
Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts
Installation image of exhibition at the California African American Museum.
Ph...
Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts
Installation image of exhibition at Texas Southern University.
Photograph by E...
DTH Archive Project 2011
http://preservingdtharchives2011.wordpress.com/
Archive Room Before
Photograph by Judy Tyrus.
Arc...
What did the inventory need to look like?
Screenshot of DTH Audio Inventory.
15
How would we locate and number items?
Room designations in map form.
Created by Kat Bell.
Previously numbered moving image...
Why is it important to have Judy and Kat
work as a team?
Dougla
Ginastera
Scheherazade
CaravanseraiFlower Festival in Genz...
How can we improve the storage and accessibility of
items with limited resources and time?
Surrounded by
moving image
obje...
Setting Priorities / Take Time to Save Time
(Above) Smaller audiovisual formats before and after
relabeling. Photographs b...
You can’t inventory miscellaneous piles:
Before and After images of Lib-2 project,
thanks to help from Fellow Patsy Gay.
P...
Adapting standards to what is
achievable improvement:
(Left) Fellow Patsy Gay and Judy Tyrus with weeded posters.
(Below) ...
Lessons Learned
• You have to start somewhere
• DTH alumni are great resources (and everyone’s
memory is different)
• Impo...
Next Steps
(Above) Intern Sha’qeem Clarke works
with programs in the archive.
Photograph by Judy Tyrus.
• Tackling smaller...
Media In Motion
…is a course that provides students with an introduction to Dance
Theatre of Harlem’s history with integra...
Questions?
Imogen Smith, Project Manager, Dance Heritage
Coalition, ismith@danceheritage.org
Judy Tyrus, Archives Exhibiti...
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Putting the Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives Back Together

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How the Dance Heritage Coalition aided in the creation of an archival system for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The organizers share lessons learned and their next steps!

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Putting the Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives Back Together

  1. 1. Adapting Traditional Processes to Nontraditional Collections: Putting the Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives Back Together An initiative of the Dance Heritage Coalition with funding support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Save America’s Treasures, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Imogen Smith, Project Manager, Dance Heritage Coalition Judy Tyrus, Archives Exhibition Curator, Dance Theatre of Harlem Kat Bell, Project Director and former Archive/Preservation Technician, Dance Heritage Coalition Photograph by Joseph Rodman.
  2. 2. The Dance Heritage Coalition An alliance of major dance collections in the United States: ● American Dance Festival ● Arizona State University ● The Dance Notation Bureau ● Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival ● The Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the NYPL ● Harvard Theatre Collection ● Library of Congress Dance Collection ● Museum of Performance & Design ● Newberry Library ● Ohio State University ● UCLA Hanya Holm in 1937. Photograph by Benedict Frenkel. Courtesy of the Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations. 2
  3. 3. DHC Mission To document, preserve, and create access to the dance legacy of the United States. Daniel Nagrin in his work Not Him But Me, 1965. Oleaga Photography. Daniel Nagrin Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 3
  4. 4. Dance Company Assessments: Lessons Learned ● Dance companies save everything, are overwhelmed by lack of space, time, resources ● Dance company archives are working collections ● Companies need ready access to their archives for core mission activities 4
  5. 5. Outcomes From 2011 Dance Archives Project ● Scholarly assessments ● Inventories of their archives ● Video preservation and digitization Scholar Thomas F. DeFrantz (L) and Judy Tyrus look through the Marbeth Collection in the DTH Library. Photograph by Kat Bell. 5
  6. 6. The Dance Theatre of Harlem Archive Lives and Breathes School, Company, and the Dancing Through Barriers® education program all utilize archival materials Photograph courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives. Photograph by Marbeth. Photograph courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives. 6
  7. 7. Dance Theatre of Harlem Co-Founders Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook. Photograph by Marbeth. Arthur Mitchell as a dancer with New York City Ballet. Photograph by Martha Swope. 7
  8. 8. DTH’s Place in African-American History Photograph by Sharon Perry. 8
  9. 9. DTH Archives (Top Left) The Company with Nelson Mandela. Photograph courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives. (Bottom Left) The main library area. Photograph by Kat Bell. The 152nd Street building. Photograph by Kat Bell. 9
  10. 10. put some pics here of Judy dancing? Judy Tyrus, former principal dancer, began volunteering in the archive in 2007 before joining the staff as Archives Exhibition Curator. Judy Tyrus and Eddie J. Shellman in Le Corsaire. Photograph courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives. DTH Archivist 10
  11. 11. Finding Treasures Amidst Chaos Handwritten score by Karel Shook. Photograph by Kat Bell. Original drawing for Footprints Dressed in Red by Salvatore Ferragamo. Photograph courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives. Lib-2 before. Photograph by Kat Bell. 11
  12. 12. Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts Installation image of exhibition at the California African American Museum. Photograph by Gene Ogami. 12
  13. 13. Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts Installation image of exhibition at Texas Southern University. Photograph by Earlie Hudnall Jr., courtesy of University Museum. 13
  14. 14. DTH Archive Project 2011 http://preservingdtharchives2011.wordpress.com/ Archive Room Before Photograph by Judy Tyrus. Archive Room After Photograph by Judy Tyrus. 14
  15. 15. What did the inventory need to look like? Screenshot of DTH Audio Inventory. 15
  16. 16. How would we locate and number items? Room designations in map form. Created by Kat Bell. Previously numbered moving image material (mixed formats). Photograph by Kat Bell. 16
  17. 17. Why is it important to have Judy and Kat work as a team? Dougla Ginastera Scheherazade CaravanseraiFlower Festival in Genzano Who is that dancer? What piece is that costume from? I hear three voices on the interview, but I can’t tell who is who? A content specialist has intimate knowledge of the organization that is vital to identifying material, enhancing metadata, and understanding the current records management system. What year did the company tour China? The date on this label is a little fuzzy… What’s in this drawer? Do we have to keep this shovel? 17
  18. 18. How can we improve the storage and accessibility of items with limited resources and time? Surrounded by moving image objects. Photographs by Kat Bell. 18
  19. 19. Setting Priorities / Take Time to Save Time (Above) Smaller audiovisual formats before and after relabeling. Photographs by Kat Bell. (Right) Moving image material received priority housing on new shelves in interior room (Lib-4). Photograph by Patsy Gay. 19
  20. 20. You can’t inventory miscellaneous piles: Before and After images of Lib-2 project, thanks to help from Fellow Patsy Gay. Photographs by Kat Bell. 20
  21. 21. Adapting standards to what is achievable improvement: (Left) Fellow Patsy Gay and Judy Tyrus with weeded posters. (Below) Creative storage solution for rolled posters. Photographs by Kat Bell. 21
  22. 22. Lessons Learned • You have to start somewhere • DTH alumni are great resources (and everyone’s memory is different) • Important to move beyond project into a program with sustainable and continued work o Integrating the archive into the work of the organization (e.g. education programs) o Advocate for the archive among staff; support from staff will help create stakeholders within organization on projects o Consistently improving access o Financial commitment o Documentation to maintain consistency in work among staff, interns, and volunteers 22
  23. 23. Next Steps (Above) Intern Sha’qeem Clarke works with programs in the archive. Photograph by Judy Tyrus. • Tackling smaller projects: Score Inventory, Program Inventory, mini-projects • Nichole Arvin, DHC Fellow 2012 • Media in Motion • Bloomberg Philanthropies Art + Culture Internships Program • NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Award (Right) Warehouse in New Jersey. Photograph by Kat Bell. 23
  24. 24. Media In Motion …is a course that provides students with an introduction to Dance Theatre of Harlem’s history with integrating and initiating them into the great legacy holdings of the archive. Photographs by Judy Tyrus. 24
  25. 25. Questions? Imogen Smith, Project Manager, Dance Heritage Coalition, ismith@danceheritage.org Judy Tyrus, Archives Exhibition Curator, Dance Theatre of Harlem, jtyrus@dancetheatreofharlem.org Kat Bell, Project Director, Dance Heritage Coalition, kbell@danceheritage.org 25
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