Archiving a Legend

With the generous support from last year's Kickstarter campaign the archiving process has hit full force! We have been able to start the Herculean feat of moving a quarter million 4x5 black and white negatives from Bob Mizer’s original paper storage sleeves to new archival poly pages. In addition, the new database is constantly growing and we are learning new ways everyday to propel the process even faster to get Mizer’s work to its new home. Along the way we’ve come across artifacts such as letters to and from Mizer and of course hundreds of models who've been unseen for decades.

By buying in enormous bulk, we were able to save over half the retail price on these expensive pages.  We used roughly 60% of the funds to purchase these materials alone, another 20% on filing furniture, 10% on other supplies including the new hanging system and barcode labels, and the rest went to canned air, white gloves and Amazon's fees.

Thanks to the Kickstarter fundraiser we were able to invest in new material such as archival pages for both the 4x5 black and white photos that comprise most of Mizer’s earliest work, as well as pages for the the wax paper envelopes Mizer originally used to hold the large negatives.  The original envelope artifacts are scrawled with Mizer’s handwriting, identified with his complex numbering system [which changed through the years] and original contact prints. We've also researched the best methods to hold the archive's total of one million images in the smallest space possible. After some experimentation, we developed a new type of book with a sturdy spine that handles anywhere from 500 paper sleeves to 2,000 negatives. These are being housed in museum-quality filing furniture and are already filling up fast as we chip away at the archive, frame by frame..

These developments are all moving toward one of the main goals, to create an online digital archive of the Foundation's collections using an open-source [ie: free] software called CollectiveAccess, a collections management and cataloguing system for museums and archives.  Already in use by institutions such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, New York's New Museum and White Columns, and many universities. Each negative artifact and its accompanying sleeve are photographed and entered into the database one by one, with a unique image code so that in the future there will be an amazing and complete reference for models, images and films.