Gelman to house radio archives

A new alliance between GW and the Radio History Society will create an on-campus exhibit and archive at Gelman Library commemorating the history of radio and television broadcasting.

RHS, a non-profit organization, has gathered materials for the archive as part of its dedication to the preservation of broadcasting history, according to Mike Freedman, GW’s director of public affairs.

No archive of broadcasting exists in the area – materials for the exhibit were sitting in boxes in people’s garages, Freedman said.

GW’s partnership with RHS sets the framework for the transfer and preservation of the exhibit and archive material to Gelman. The collection includes radio and television sets, microphones and other broadcasting equipment. Further plans for the exhibits and archives will be confirmed soon, Freedman said.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for GW to help preserve broadcast history for generations to come,” University Librarian Jack Siggins said in a press release. “In addition to aiding research efforts, access to this archive will open a new door to history for students and faculty on our campus and visitors from around the world.”

A new exhibit, “Washington’s Broadcast Legacy” – set to open April 20 in GW’s Colonnade Gallery – will examine the history of broadcasting in the nation’s capital. The exhibit will run until May 26.

“GW is just a perfect fit for the materials that RHS has accumulated,” Freedman said.

“The research materials will benefit our own faculty and attract outside scholars to the University,” said Jean Folkerts, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, in a press release. “The artifacts will enable our students to understand the rich history of broadcasting pioneers.”

Ed Walker, a Washington radio legend, serves as founding president of RHS.

“We will be able to preserve the legacy of radio and television in documents and equipment and pass this information on to future generations,” Walker said of the archives in a press release.

GW and RHS sponsored a month-long exhibit celebrating broadcasting’s 75th anniversary in 1995, an exhibit that led to the new long-term relationship, Walker said.

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