UW Libraries Special Collections receives Allen Signature Award

Submitted by Yuko Mera on

University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections has received an Allen Signature Award to hire a project archivist to inventory and assess a newly acquired collection of more than 15,000 videotapes from KIRO-TV Channel 7, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. The collection includes a significant record of local Northwest and national history from the 1950s-2000s. Stories worth noting in the collection are: the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the Green River Killer, the first Seahawks, Mariners, and Storm games, the collapse of the Hood Canal Bridge, the WTO protests, and the Nisqually earthquake, the growth of cultural trends such as Grunge rock, building the new Seattle Art Museum and the construction of Seattle Center. The collection includes decades of daily broadcasts, air checks, locally produced documentaries and special programming.

The Special Collections moving image archive program is in a perfect position to care for this invaluable collection, with an award-winning track record of providing preservation and access to the film and videotape materials in its care. Special Collections has participated in a number of collaborative projects such as the Washington Film Preservation Project and is a founding member of Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound, a groundbreaking organization dedicated to addressing the magnetic media crisis in the Pacific Northwest. A commitment to up- holding archival standards and best practices has set an example for institutions throughout the region, raising the bar for providing access to previously hidden moving image collections.

The moving image archive program has become a destination for students and interns from the region (Western Washington University, Seattle University), as well as, from across the United States (NYU and UCLA) interested in learning moving image preservation and collection man- agement skills. The program has also offered workshops at local and regional conferences for archival, library and heritage professionals. This has made the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections the most important resource for the study of moving image manage- ment and preservation in Washington State.  

While there are some large moving image collections in the archive, the KIRO-TV Channel 7 News Videotape Collection will now be the largest acquisition and most valuable source for historical research and scholarship. Like newspapers, daily news broadcasts have the potential to become a definitive primary re- source for researchers, students, and filmmakers. Preserving and making the KIRO-TV collection available will serve to broaden the academic scope of the moving image collection, supporting a wide body of scholarship.  Professor Steve Groening will be using the archive for the Seattle Television History Project and in his Television history class. Cinema and Media Studies students can avail themselves of this invaluable resource for the study of local television. 

The Kenneth S. Allen Library Endowment was established in 1989 by Paul G. Allen in honor of his father.  In 2012, the fund was renamed the Kenneth S. and Faye G. Allen Library Endowment in recognition and in memory of both his parents. The purpose of the Kenneth S. and Faye G. Allen Library Endowment is to enhance the University's ability to acquire, supplement, and maintain the University Libraries' collections and to otherwise enhance the University Libraries’ programs. Funds from the Allen Endowment be allocated for significant collection development purchases and projects. 

For more information about the moving image collection at the UW Libraries, Special Collections see:

UW Libraries Digital Collections, Moving Image Collections 

UW Libraries, Special Collections

How Do I Find Moving Images

Historical Visual Materials

News Topic