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What Has Metro Archives Division Been Up to During Quarantine? Part III

August 29, 2020

Part III of the Archives' series is finally here, and has some great behind-the-scenes details from our Audiovisual Heritage Center staff. Kelli Hix is Metro Archives' Audiovisual Archivist and the Program Manager of the Center, and Carissa Riccardi is the Assistant Audiovisual Archivist.

First, if this is your first time hearing of this series, let me introduce you to Part I and Part II in the series, if you'd like to learn about what the rest of the team has been working on and discovering during quarantine. 

Quick recap of those projects though - they involve a Criminal Court case involving Rep. John Lewis, scanning photos from Nashville's Civil Rights Movement, love letters from World War II, and various old government records processed by Ken.

Here's the slideshow from the photos Drew has scanned, again...

Metro Photographer Civil Rights' Scans

And in previous posts in the series, I introduced everyone to the new "coworkers" we all gained during quarantine, including Kelli and Carissa's "assistants". Here they are again...

Kelli's "coworker", Melba
Carissa and her "coworker", Henna

And without further ado, here are the details of Kelli and Carissa's cool project, that will help patrons with their digitization projects. 

Creating Portable Digitization Kits

One of the project’s that Kelli and Carissa have been working on during quarantine is setting up portable audio and video digitization stations. When complete, the stations will be used to preserve fragile and historically significant audiovisual recordings from the collection, and can be checked out by local institutions.

The plan to create the portable stations was started earlier this year in partnership with the Community Archiving Workshop, an organization that helps communities jump-start preservation of archival recordings. 

After COVID-19 hit, the portable stations became more important than anyone could have foreseen. The ability to move equipment safely to an offsite location means that some audiovisual preservation work can continue to happen even if we are unable to work onsite in the preservation lab.

Assistant Audiovisual Archivist, Carissa Riccardi, performing test digitization of VHS tapes from her home office

Putting the stations together is complex. The storage cases must be large enough to contain all of the equipment, and the interior foam must be thick enough to protect the equipment from damage while being moved. The interior of each case is custom cut to fit the equipment.

Kelli creating custom storage for fragile digitization gear at home.

The stations are nearing completion, and digitization is scheduled to begin again in September for audio cassette and VHS. A portable film inspection kit is next on the list.

To see samples of footage from the collection that we have preserved, please visit our Vimeo channel here, or check out some example footage from the James Kilgore Collection below. 

Still frame from a Shrine Circus Performance, circa 1946, courtesy of the James Kilgore Family
Footage from the James Kilgore Collection

'Til next time, 


lucille ball


Sarah is a Program Coordinator with Metro Archives. Her interests and areas of expertise are history, reading books (of any kind), music, travel, Harry Potter, and bingeing a good comedy series. When not in Archives, she is either nose-deep in a book or planning her next trip. Learn more about the fascinating materials found at Metro Archives through their website.