A post from our most recent digital archives intern…
I joined the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) as a digital archives intern in July of this year. Along with becoming familiar with archival management practices; learning Archivist’s Toolkit, CONTENTdm, and other processes in the digital lab; and digitizing work for CAHC archivists, she completed an online exhibit on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
I digitized the oral history audio cassettes from the UALR Seminar in Public History Files on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, UALR.MS.0231. The oral history interviews in this collection highlight the history, people, and development of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) from its early years through 1998, and were collected through the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Project, a 1998 collaboration between the ASO and the UALR Public History program. The ASO Project’s oral histories and final report are useful for patrons interested in the activities of the Symphony Guild, the Symphony Board, particular ASO conductors, and specific people who assisted in the ASO’s development. One oral history recording is access restricted and was not digitized, but the remainder of the interviews (and all of the transcripts) are available to the public. Listen here.
The ASO celebrates the opening of its 50th season on September 26 and 27, 2015, and I created an online exhibit featuring stories from the ASO Project interviews. Fifty years of professional music-making involves far more than just a group of musicians who rehearse and perform together, as the ASO Project interviews demonstrate! To round out the exhibit, I also visited the University of Central Arkansas to view their Arkansas Symphony Collection. At UCA I found photographs corresponding to the ASO Project oral histories, and other fascinating documents, including a proclamation signed by then-Governor Bill Clinton designating September 17-23, 1979 as the fifth Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Week. The oral histories and photos combine nicely for a brief introduction to the ASO’s development.
What’s next? My experience interning at CAHC solidified my plan to continue combining my interests in librarianship/archives and music. My CAHC digital archives internship, plus my musical training, can help me better assist an orchestra or music organization with the preservation and access of its historical records, musical compositions, and audio-visual materials. Another possibility could include working as a performance librarian for an orchestra in which I might also perform. Digital archives management skills will serve me well in my future pursuits, and will benefit the organizations I hope to serve.
Anna Cooney worked with the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) as a digital archives intern summer/fall of 2015.