Miracle Theatre Archives ~ The Next Steps

Now that we know what is there, it is time to process the collection! Over the past months, the archives of the Miracle Theatre Group in Portland, OR have be massaged, fussed with, and inventoried. The sheer volume of materials that have accumulated over the thirty year history of the theater is staggering. It is, fortunately, very well organized. As an archival collection, it is rich with history, various forms of media and tons of ephemera.

As can be seen in the photograph, there is more to this collection than dusty old documents to put in acid free file folders.

The project is ready to continue to the next phase:  Arrangement and Description. We now have an idea of what materials are there, what needs to be weeded out, and a preliminary Series description to work from.

One last part of the inventory process will involve coming up with an estimate of what types and quantities of archival storage materials will be required for the processing. Due to the many different types of media in the collection, a variety of archival boxes will be required.

The VHS Video tape collections alone, again, remember we are talking 30 years, will require at least a dozen archival boxes.  Another concern involves the various forms of beautiful original artwork that has been accumulating. To preserve these pieces correctly, various sizes of oversize boxes will be utilized to store these items flat. Add to this mix a huge pile of cubic foot boxes to house paperwork. With proper records management procedures and a retention schedule for accounting records, we hope to reduce the volume by at least one third.

Changing of the Guard:

I will be relinquishing control of this project into the capable hands of Katrina O’Brien, a Graduate Student in Archival Sciences from San José State University. The next phase of the Miracle Theatre Project, sorting out this mess I’ve created, will be her capstone project for her Master’s Degree.

OMA Archivist Natalia Fernández, MTG Director José Gonzalez, and soon-to-be MTG intern Katrina O’Brien

A meeting of the minds was held, May 16th 2013, with Natalia Fernández, MTG Director José Gonzalez and the incoming and outgoing interns of this major project. It appears that the magnitude of the collection did not scare Katrina too much, so I consider this first contact a success.

The next phase of the project will involve the actual processing of the collection. This will be completed at the Miracle Theatre facility over the coming months. Decisions on what materials will be transferred to the Oregon Multicultural Archives in Corvallis will be made in consultation with José Gonzalez.  Some materials in the archive, such as the collection of scripts, will remain in Portland as they are accessed on a regular basis.  Old financial records, historically important production records and much of the ephemera will be housed at the OMA. This will insure the collection will be available to researchers and theatre historians.

I am confident the collection will be in good hands with Katrina. I will continue as a consultant to help her as required. The final phase of this project will include an exhibit of the collection and possibly a gala reception for the 30th Anniversary of the Miracle Theatre Group next spring.  Of course we will keep you all informed of the continued success of this project.

My next assignment will be equally challenging and exciting.  I will have the honor of working with another historic artist’s collection from Portland, OR. Stay tuned for an introduction to the Obo Addy Collection in a couple of weeks.

~ Mike Dicianna, Miracle Theatre Group Archives Project Intern

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