Monday, 28 September 2015

Precarity of collections held in DIY Institutions: case of the American Museum of Telephony

News that the American Museum of Telephony (aka JKL Museum of Telephony) has been destroyed by a fire is a reminder of the precarity of collections held in many community heritage institutions. 

The non-profit museum, located near the town of San Andreas in California and dedicated to the preservation of telephone history, lost all its holdings to the Butte Fire which raged through northern California in early September. Founded by an individual and run by a small army of volunteers the telephony museum is very much akin to the DIY popular music institutions of this research. The DIY spirit and commitment of volunteer preservationists is certainly shining through in the news updates being provided on the museum website where it is clear a community is rallying around the re-establishment of the museum collection and have a strong desire to see the museum rise from the ashes.