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Songbook Foundation selected to continue national museum assessment
Archivist Lisa Lobdell reviews an incoming collection at the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Archives & Library in Carmel, Indiana.
Process lays groundwork for development of Songbook Museum
CARMEL, Ind. – The American Alliance of Museums has selected the Great American Songbook Foundation to participate in a second phase of its five-part Museum Assessment Program, which helps organizations strengthen their operations and plan for the future through a process of professionally guided self-study and on-site consultation.
The Songbook Foundation, founded by performer and music preservationist Michael Feinstein, maintains an exhibit gallery and a vast historical archive at the affiliated Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. One of the Foundation’s long-term goals is to establish a freestanding Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Museum dedicated to the timeless music of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood, akin to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and other such institutions.
AAM offers five one-year assessment programs corresponding to various aspects of museum management: Organizational, Collections Stewardship, Education & Interpretation, Community & Audience Engagement, and Board Leadership. The Songbook Foundation completed the Organizational Assessment in 2019 and is now proceeding with the Collections Stewardship Assessment, which focuses on practical, ethical and strategic collections issues and activities related to the care and management of a museum’s collections in accordance with professional practices and standards.
The effort is especially timely given that the Foundation’s Songbook Archives & Library have grown to more than 700,000 items after recently acquiring a massive trove of vintage orchestral arrangements and sheet music used at West Coast CBS and NBC radio stations. Spanning from the 1920s to the 1950s, the collection previously was housed at the Paramount Theatre Music Library in Oakland, California.
“We have seen such tremendous growth in the archives over the past decade,” said Chris Lewis, the Foundation’s executive director. “This is a time for us to assess our current status and chart a strategic path forward to pursue our broader vision.”
The MAP program has served over 5,000 museums since its launch in 1981. The Songbook Foundation’s participation is made possible through funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums.
“Choosing to be part of the MAP program is indicative of the Great American Songbook Foundation’s commitment to civic involvement, public service and overall excellence,” said AAM President Laura Lott. “Studies have shown America’s museums to be among the country’s most trusted and valued institutions. MAP is designed to make them even better.”
AAM is the only organization representing the nation’s entire museum community. More information on AAM and MAP is available at www.aam-us.org/map.
About the Great American Songbook Foundation The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of its creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at TheSongbook.org.