D.C.’s Kennedy Center and National Theatre each embark on archiving projects

Posted on: April 23, 2019

“Washington’s National Theatre has been in business since 1835, yet its archives are largely stuffed into a single small dressing room,” writes Nelson Pressley in Friday’s (4/19) Washington Post. “The disorganization is more grandiose at the Kennedy Center … ‘basically what we as hoarders have collected,’ Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter says…. Both the National and the Kennedy Center are pondering how to collect and protect the historical assets that tell their institutional stories…. Looking ahead to its 50th anniversary season in 2021-22 prompted the Kennedy Center to get a grip on … 9,000 cubic feet of files, images and who knows what else, according to Eileen Andrews, vice president for public relations, who has been tasked with shepherding the archives out of darkness…. The center just hired archivist Sofia Becerra-Licha…. Staff members often need basic information. Andrews cites a recent instance where no one could be sure whether a major composer was performing at the center for the first time. Rutter wants the history not only at the staff’s fingertips, but also displayed, as it is at the Chicago Symphony (where she was president for a decade)…. ‘It infused how you think that you’re creating history today,’ Rutter says.”

Posted April 23, 2019

In photo: The Hall of Nations, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.