Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Receives Save America’s Treasures Grant

Funding Will Preserve Alexander Graham Bell’s Experimental Sound Recordings

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has received a $488,000 grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant program, for conserving sound recordings from Alexander Graham Bell’s Washington, D.C., Volta Laboratory. Dating from 1881 to 1892, they are among the earliest recordings ever made.

Disc recording in green wax on brass holder, probably 1885. Content: male voice reciting opening lines of “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet.

This is one of 41 grants awarded this fall, totaling $12.6 million, given in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With Save America’s Treasures funds, organizations and agencies conserve significant U.S. cultural and historic treasures, which illustrate, interpret and are associated with the great events, ideas and individuals that contribute to the nation’s history and culture. The Alexander Graham Bell Foundation in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada, has pledged matching funds.

The National Museum of American History, through an ongoing collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has recovered sound from 20 experimental Volta Laboratory recordings in 2011, 2013 and 2019, including the only documented recording of Bell’s voice. The earlier conservation work received funding from the Grammy Foundation, Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies program. The SAT grant will permit the continuation of this project, enabling the team to work with the museum’s collection of nearly 300 more experimental recordings from Bell’s laboratory and with additional Bell recordings in the collections at Parks Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck.

Recovering sound from these recordings will be a major advance in the study of our sonic heritage,” said Carlene Stephens, curator at the museum. “This project allows us to revive sounds from recordings in two Bell collections and reunite the collections digitally. These sounds will enrich what we know about the earliest days of experiments with recorded sound and let us hear history.”

The noninvasive optical technique that scans and recovers sound was first conceived by Berkeley Lab in 2002 and jointly developed with assistance from the Library of Congress and other institutions over the past 15 years. The process creates a high-resolution digital map of a disc or cylinder. This map is then processed to remove evidence of wear or damage (e.g., scratches and skips). Finally, software calculates the motion of a stylus moving through the disc’s or cylinder’s grooves, reproducing the audio content and producing a standard digital sound file. For more information, visit www.irene.lbl.gov. For more information about the museum’s Bell collection, visit the online exhibition.

The National Museum of American History, through an ongoing collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has recovered sound from 20 experimental Volta Laboratory recordings in 2011, 2013 and 2019, including the only documented recording of Bell’s voice. The earlier conservation work received funding from the Grammy Foundation, Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies program. The SAT grant will permit the continuation of this project, enabling the team to work with the museum’s collection of nearly 300 more experimental recordings from Bell’s laboratory and with additional Bell recordings in the collections at Parks Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck.

Recovering sound from these recordings will be a major advance in the study of our sonic heritage,” said Carlene Stephens, curator at the museum. “This project allows us to revive sounds from recordings in two Bell collections and reunite the collections digitally. These sounds will enrich what we know about the earliest days of experiments with recorded sound and let us hear history.”

The noninvasive optical technique that scans and recovers sound was first conceived by Berkeley Lab in 2002 and jointly developed with assistance from the Library of Congress and other institutions over the past 15 years. The process creates a high-resolution digital map of a disc or cylinder. This map is then processed to remove evidence of wear or damage (e.g., scratches and skips). Finally, software calculates the motion of a stylus moving through the disc’s or cylinder’s grooves, reproducing the audio content and producing a standard digital sound file. For more information, visit www.irene.lbl.gov. For more information about the museum’s Bell collection, visit the online exhibition.

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We Are Family Foundation® To Honor Dolly Parton And Jean Paul Gaultier At 2019 Celebration

We Are Family Foundation® (WAFF) will honor legendary artist Dolly Parton and iconic fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier at its 2019 Celebration on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

(PRNewsfoto/We Are Family Foundation)

WAFF, a not-for-profit organization founded by legendary multiple GRAMMY® Award winning musician Nile Rodgers, is dedicated to the vision of a global family. WAFF creates and supports programs that promote cultural diversity while nurturing the vision, talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing the world.

Nile Rodgers (Photo: Jill Furmanovsky)

We’ve wanted to recognize and honor the extraordinary accomplishments of Dolly Parton for many years. Her exemplary work as an artist, businesswoman and philanthropist is an example for us all. She symbolizes everything that is great about music and America. Jean Paul Gaultier is someone who I’m happy to call a friend. His incomparable work as an iconic fashion designer and forward thinker has changed our culture in a way the world has greatly benefitted from. We are enormously grateful to our honorees for their exceptional work to improve humanity and we warmly welcome them into our WAFF family“, said Rodgers.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton, legendary singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman and humanitarian will receive the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award. Over the years, Parton has supported many charitable efforts, particularly in the area of literacy, primarily through the Dollywood Foundation. Her literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a part of the Dollywood Foundation, mails one book per month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. In August 2019, the Imagination Library gave away over 1.4M books, and has given away a total of over 125M books to date. In 2018, Parton was honored by the Library of Congress on account of the “charity sending out its 100 millionth book”.

With a record for any female artist of 26 songs reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country charts; 42 career top-10 country albums, a record for any artist; and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years, Parton remains one of the most-honored female country performers of all time.

To say that I am honored would be quite an understatement. I am so humbled to be included in with such an amazing group of people. I have often said that I don’t count my awards, but this is one I will not soon forget. The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award from the We Are Family Foundation represents so many of the characteristics that I strive every day to live by. I believe in family, I believe in love, and I believe that together we can change the world“, said Parton.

Previous honorees of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award include: President Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Roger Daltrey CBE, Paul Simon, Dr. Maya Angelou and Quincy Jones.

Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo: Peter Lindbergh)

Jean Paul Gaultier will receive the Humanitarian Award. Gaultier, a French couturier started an apprenticeship at eighteen in the fashion house of Parisian designer Pierre Cardin and by 1976, founded his own eponymous fashion label. Gaultier started his ascent in the fashion world in the early eighties adding a men’s collection in 1984, and two years later opening his first boutique in Paris. In 1997 with his showing of his first haute couture collection, Gaultier secured his place in the fashion industry.

With Gaultier’s desire to illuminate and support human individuality and beauty, he used unconventional models for his shows. This earned him both criticism and enormous popularity. In acknowledgement of his role in reshaping popular perceptions of humanity through fashion and in redirecting the creative process, Gaultier was awarded in 2001 the title of Chevalier de la Lègion d’Honneur (“Knight of the Legion of Honor”), one of France’s highest honors, amongst many other awards and accolades he has received.

It is with great honor that I receive the 2019 Humanitarian Award. I have always believed that all people are beautiful, no matter what their color, shape, size, creed, or sexuality. It is the inner beauty of all people and what we do for others that contributes the most to our beautiful global family“, said Jean Paul Gaultier.

Previous honorees of the Humanitarian Award include Bono, Sting & Trudie Styler, Steven Van Zandt, Nile Rodgers, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel and Sir Elton John.

Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Dolly Parton will perform live at the event.

To purchase tickets or to contribute to We Are Family Foundation, please visit www.wearefamilyfoundation.org. Contributions are fully tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Legacy Recordings Commemorates Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday with…Frank Sinatra: A Voice On Air (1935-1955)

A New 4-CD Collection Featuring 100 Rare Sinatra Tracks including 91 Previously Unreleased Live Performances – Recorded During the ‘Golden Age’ of Radio

In a matter befitting the 100th birthday of an American icon, Sony Music‘s Legacy Recordings announces the November 20th, 2015 release of Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955), a historic 100+ track, 4-CD deluxe box set culled from an invaluable collection of rare radio broadcasts and rehearsals – immaculately restored from the original recording masters for unprecedented high-fidelity sound. (The set is available for pre-order on Amazon here: http://smarturl.it/Sinatra_AVOA_amazon)

"Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955)" to be released Nov 20th (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

“Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955)” to be released Nov 20th (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

Luxuriously packaged with a 60-page book, Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955) is an essential addition to Sinatra’s voluminous discography, offering a unique glimpse into the formative period of America’s first teen idol: Frank Sinatra, the man who became known the world over as “The Voice.” Included in the book are an introductory essay by renowned singer, pianist and archivist Michael Feinstein; a personal remembrance by Frank’s eldest daughter Nancy Sinatra and detailed essay by foremost Sinatra historian, author and box set producer Charles L. Granata. The package was designed by noted Art Director Maria Marulanda, who created the landmark 2007 Columbia/Legacy box set Frank Sinatra: A Voice in Time. Continue reading