$1 Million Challenge Grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Matching Gift from Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation Enables Carnegie Hall To Launch Long-Range Project Digitizing Archival Collections
Carnegie Hall today announced that it has received $2 million in major support for a new Digital Archives Project. A $1 million challenge grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and a matching gift from the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation will help Carnegie Hall to digitize archival collections documenting the Hall’s 120-year history, ensuring that they are preserved for future generations and made increasingly accessible to the public, both on-site in its Archives and online. These generous gifts will enable Carnegie Hall to enter into the first major phase of this comprehensive, long-range project to be carried out over the next several years, with total project costs estimated at over $5 million.
“This year, Carnegie Corporation of New York is observing its Centennial. To commemorate this landmark occasion, the Corporation decided to celebrate not only its own accomplishments, but also the extraordinary philanthropic legacy of our founder, Andrew Carnegie. Hence, we are proud to make this challenge grant to Carnegie Hall,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “In 1889, when Andrew Carnegie first gave the funding to begin building Carnegie Hall, he intended it to be a magnificent public palace for music, but also a cultural center that would enrich the lives of the citizens of New York City. With this new project, Carnegie Hall, which has long since become one of the premier international musical venues, will further its mission of bringing music to a wide audience as well as disseminating learning and knowledge around the world.”
“Elly and I have had the pleasure of working with Carnegie Hall’s Archives for more than twenty years,” said Susan Rose. “Therefore, we’re especially thrilled to play a part in its next chapter that will make so many treasures from the Hall’s collections accessible to researchers, students, and music lovers around the world.”
“On behalf of Carnegie Hall, I would like to express our deep appreciation for this incredible show of support,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “As one of the world’s greatest concert halls, located in one of the top cultural capitals in the world, the 120-year history of Carnegie Hall directly reflects the history of music itself. We know that there has been great interest by the public in these materials. This project will be transformative in enabling us to share them more broadly than ever before.”
The Carnegie Hall Archives was established in 1986. Since no central repository existed prior to that time, a significant portion of the Hall’s documented history had been lost, discarded, or otherwise forgotten. Over the last twenty-five years, Carnegie Hall’s Archives team, led by Director Gino Francesconi, has painstakingly re-constructed the Hall’s history, collecting more than 300,000 items related to close to 50,000 performances and events in its three concert halls; construction of the building and its subsequent alterations; and the many notable artists, world figures, and personalities who have graced the Hall’s stages.
Today, the Archives is the permanent and official repository for Carnegie Hall’s historical collections including 120 years of concert programs; promotional flyers; select audio, video, and film recordings; photographs; autographs; musical manuscripts; correspondence and business records; architectural drawings, objects, and other materials that provide rich detail of the origin, history, activities, and growth of Carnegie Hall. Some of these items have been put on display to concertgoers and the public in Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum, opened in 1991 and funded by the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation.
The Digital Archives Project represents a new chapter in the development of the Archives. It will enable Carnegie Hall to digitize most of these historic materials—many of which are now available only on paper or in media formats likely to become obsolete—ensuring that the Hall’s legacy is preserved for future generations. It will create a dynamic digital repository designed to house digital legacy collections and to capture new content and materials developed by Carnegie Hall in support of its artistic and educational initiatives. As part of the project, archival materials will be made accessible in a much greater way—both on-site at Carnegie Hall and online via carnegiehall.org—in support of the Hall’s mission, serving the widest possible audience.