The Orlando Museum of Art is beginning "The Archive Project," an 18-month undertaking to document its history and institutional activities.
When I spoke with OMA director Glen Gentele in January shortly after he began the job, he said establishing an archive would be a top priority as the museum enters a milestone year. The museum will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2014.
"The main focus of initiating The Archive Project is to establish an institutional archive that will preserve the museum's history while providing access to the material in an organized way," Gentele said in the formal announcement of the program.
Creating the archive will be a community effort.
The Orlando Museum of Art will collaborate with the Orange County Regional History Center and will enlist students from the University of Central Florida's public history department to serve as interns on the project.
"The Archive Project will serve as a great opportunity for UCF students, who can benefit from gaining real experience in the field," said Cynthia Cardona Meléndez, curator of collections at the History Center,
The Orlando Museum of Art has been storing files that date back to the 1950s in the museum's crawlspace. The materials consist of financial records, meeting minutes, scrap books and architectural plans, as well as correspondence and information about previous exhibitions and programs produced by the museum. Items from as far back as the 1920s have been found that need to be managed and organized appropriately, the museum said.
Garret Kremer-Wright, the History Center's archivist, will come to the museum weekly to work through the stored boxes and files to create a functional and user-friendly database.
The Archive Project is underwritten by longtime museum supporters Audrey and Pat Knipe.