Archiving project earns Oregon Heritage Excellence Award

Preservation of audio recordings wins heritage award
Preservation of audio recordings wins heritage award

A collaboration of the UO's Oregon Folklife Network, UO Libraries and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs has won an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award for its efforts to preserve and improve access to Warm Springs audio archives.

The award will be presented next month at the Oregon Heritage Conference in Albany.

The Oregon Heritage Commission uses the Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards to recognize outstanding preservation efforts by individuals, organizations and projects. The award honors those who effectively use available resources and develop innovative approaches.

The Warm Springs project involved preserving and improving access to the audio archives of the tribe's Culture & Heritage Language Department. A grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission helped fund the project.

Sound reels most in danger of degradation were prioritized, audio preservation equipment was installed and volunteers were trained in how to best preserve the recordings.

Those directly involved in the project include James Fox, head of UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives; Valerie Switzler, director of the Warms Springs tribe's Culture and Heritage Language Department; archivest Dallas Winishut; UO librarian Nathan Georgitis; and tribal volunteer Greg Arquette.

Emily West Afanador, program manager for the Oregon Folklife Network, created video documentation of the project with interviews of those working directly with the archiving. The documentary aims to educate the broader Oregon public about the importance of preserving cultural sound recordings, and the challenges and rewards of partnerships.

The Oregon Folklife Network is a coalition of folklife stakeholders that is administered by the UO and was formed in 2010 at the conclusion of the Oregon Folklife Program. Its mission is to provide wide access to folk arts by investing in traditional artists and cultures, and advancing learning opportunities for Oregonians. The network also receives funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission.

Find more information about the Oregon Folklife Network here.

-by Sarah MacKenzie, UO Office of Strategic Communications intern