Funds Will Support Regional Media Legacies: Archiving and Preserving Audiovisual Records of Long Island and New York City

student restoring film

NEW YORK – The NYU Tisch School of the Arts Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) Program has been awarded a $314,100 grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation to support its Regional Media Legacies project. The funds will be used to facilitate the archiving and preservation of audiovisual recordings that document the history, culture, art, and people of Long Island and New York City.

“Regional collections have been historically undervalued and often go unpreserved,” states Dr. Juana Suárez, director of the MIAP program and associate arts professor in the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “This grant will go a long way to fund MIAP’s ‘Regional Media Legacies’ project, which endeavors to preserve and to honor the unique, informative, often powerful stories that local media, given the attention and care of an archivist, can continue to tell.”

Media made for regional audiences, especially those housed in institutions that lack archival resources or the skills of audiovisual specialists, often constitute what libraries and archives call hidden collections—rare recordings that capture local history and culture in a way that larger and better-resourced media collections often do not. Most films and videotapes cannot be found in the handful of national film and video archives, but rather in smaller cultural memory institutions. The archival profession and scholarly community now recognize that local television, home movies, the works of independent artists, and region-specific productions tend to document lives and communities that are often invisible to national media and the entertainment industry.

“Through this project, historical societies on Long Island will get essential support in the cataloguing and preservation of the film and recorded materials in their archives. This program offers NYU graduate students practical field experience working to safeguard these important regional historical artifacts and our historic community the service of making their collections available for future research,” states Kathryn Curran, executive director of the Robert David Lion Foundation. “We are delighted with the impact this collaborative project will have on advancing regional history.”

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation grant will fund MIAP’s “Regional Media Legacies” project over a three-year period and will help NYU-trained archivists manage and care for film, video, audio, and digital media found across Long Island and New York. Between 2019 and 2021, work will be conducted by a project manager, post-graduate MIAP fellows, and MIAP graduate students. Additional funds will be used for project supplies and vendor services used for the inspection, repair, cleaning, storage, and digitization of film and tapes and for fellows’ ground transportation on Long Island.

Established in 1987, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation primarily supports the study of New York State history. Robert David Lion Gardiner was, until his death in August 2004, the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, NY. The Gardiner family and their descendants have owned Gardiner’s Island since 1639, obtained as part of a royal grant from King Charles I of England. The Foundation is inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history. For more information, please visit rdlgfoundation.org.

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the largest private universities in the United States with a mission to serve students and the public as a top-quality international center of scholarship, teaching, and research. The Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) Program awards a Master of Arts degree and is situated within the Department of Cinema Studies. NYU MIAP trains future preservation professionals to manage archival collections of film, video, and digital media, working with all types of legacy and contemporary audiovisual formats. For more information, visit MIAP’s website.

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