FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 13, 2021) - In what can be only described as a seminal event in [its] 47-year history, the Stonewall National Museum & Archives (SNMA) has now taken three major steps in making its holdings available to a world-wide audience.
The SNMA was pleased to learn last week that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded it $50,000 to begin digitizing its archival collection.
"This is a big step for Stonewall," said Executive Director Hunter O'Hanian. "Our archive is over 2,700 linear feet, totaling more than 6 million pages of LGBTQ history, from the 1950s to the present day. With the help of the Mellon Foundation, we will begin the process of digitizing the collection and making it available to researchers, writers and artists around the world. Accessibility to our collection has long been a strategic goal of the organization."
With the help provided by the Mellon Foundation, Stonewall will hire a digital consulting firm to help map a plan for next steps. Additionally, the funds will allow the organization to retain a digital manager.
"We are so excited and pleased with this news," said Jacki Bennett, chair of the board of directors. "Digitizing our impressive collection propels the SNMA's archival leadership forward in exhibiting LGBTQ history and culture to all across time and geographies. We are very grateful to the Andrew Mellon Foundation for its support in this effort."
"Mellon has been a leader in providing support for organizations like Stonewall. They have expressed their appreciation for the work we have done in collecting, cataloging, and preserving these important materials," said O'Hanian. "Not only does digitalization make these materials available to a larger audience, it ensures the content will be preserved beyond the useful life of the paper they were printed on. Collectively, we are making sure that this history won't be forgotten."
Stonewall expects to start its work on the Mellon project in January 2021.
The support of the Mellon Foundation is timely, as the SNMA recently completed a project [that makes] a large portion of its serial collection available in digital format through existing repositories. With the professional assistance of queer-studies scholar Jackson Davidow, the SNMA now offers digital versions of nearly half of its non-erotic LGBTQ serials/publications. This goal has been achieved by matching materials with existing institutional digital archives. Access to this material is available on the SNMA's website Stonewall-Museum.org/archives/.
Third, SNMA has finalized plans to replace its outdated electronic database of archival holdings and is in the process of migrating the data to the latest version of Past Perfect, a well-respected software used by archives and museums throughout the county. Once this migration is complete, the entire archival database will be searchable online through the SNMA website. Look for this to be available in March 2021. The SNMA previously posted its entire database of LGBTQ books from the library on the website stonewall-museum.org.
Editor's note: The Stonewall Museum will be housing a full run of SGN archives at the conclusion of our sort/organization project.
Courtesy of Stonewall National Museum & Archives