We had a busy week at the Center last week, including a visit from artist Jim James, writer, vocalist, guitarist, and lead singer for My Morning Jacket, and we also have Gustavus Stadler, Professor of English at Haverford College, visiting and researching in the archives.
Related to this topic, in an abstract way, let’s talk about being in the light!
As you know after this weekend the “This Land is Your Land,” lyrics will return to their cozy home in the vault to spend a period of rest in the dark and quiet. They need this, as any of us would, after being on stage non-stop for several months.
I get a lot of questions from visitors about the lighting in the Woody Guthrie Center. You may have noticed that the Center is dimly lit and is kept cool in temperature. We cycle new artifacts out on average of every three to four months, and this is for the same reason. For all but a certain few kinds of artifacts, darkness is best for preservation, as is an environment with a stable cool temperature and relative humidity.
I like to compare an archives to a vampire’s retreat during daylight hours: just remember when you think about preserving anything for as long as possible (be it supernatural-human or otherwise), darkness and a nice vault to sleep in are best. How does an archivist fit in? Well, I’ll let you draw the comparisons there 🙂 -Kate