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Archives Month is over!  While we loved sharing stories from people who’ve influenced their communities, we really wanted to hear people’s thoughts about our archives.  We got a great response from our month-long survey; many thanks to everyone who participated!  The answers we received from you helps us to understand what you’re interested in.  Hopefully, we can address your questions so we can help you can understand us (and what we can provide) too.

Thanks for your questions!  Here are our answers:

Can you put all of VC’s content online for people to see?  Can I subscribe to access the archives online?

Unfortunately, we cannot put all of VC’s content online.  Several reasons exist for this.  The cost of digitization and storage is prohibitive.  Digitization takes a long time (just think about how long it takes to scan a photo, then multiply that to 300,000 photos at high resolution, which takes even longer).  We don’t have the funds, or the staff, to do this.  Our small online content is material we’ve carefully selected that we think is particularly interesting to people, and we hope to put more online in the future. We do not have subscription services.

How does one gain access to the archives?  Can I use the archives for academic research? Can I bring my class or group to visit?

If you’re interested in viewing the archives, for any reason, including academic research or just because, just email us.  We just need to schedule an appointment.  We can discuss class and group visits!

I don’t live in the LA area. How can I take advantage of the archives?

Many people who use our archival materials live all over the country.  We work with people over email frequently, and in some cases, they get proxy researchers to visit us on site if needed– just email us!

Do you have films for me to view?  How do I borrow DVDs of films featured in previous Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festivals?

We have lots of films for you to view– including VC productions as well as films from previous LA Asian Pacific Film Festivals.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the capabilities to allow people to borrow them.   If you want to view films, you can do so at our office.

Can you tell me how to convert old formats to newer formats?

Yes! Lots of resources exist online that can help you understand many types of materials (paper, video, digital, etc.) but not all up to archival standards.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your materials.

Can I access the archives on the weekend?

We’re closed on the weekends.  Sorry!

Second, is there an index of archives across the country that collect Asian American community assets?

A specific index of archives that collect Asian American community assets doesn’t exist (that’s very specific!) but you can check ArchiveGrid, which is a nationwide directory of archives.  You can also check more narrow indexes like the Online Archive of California, which lists collections in California repositories.  Plug in any terms and collections with those matching terms will come up.  Happy Hunting!

Is Historypin a site for APIAs in California/LA only or is it nationwide? Does it include information on adopted Asian Americans?

Historypin is a user-generated, online portal of photo collections that’s based in England, so it’s worldwide!  Institutions and individuals from all over the world have channels on Historypin.  It does not have information on adoptees.

Many people requested workshops related to filmmaking (directing, screenwriting, editing, etc.).  We regularly hold workshops for filmmakers. For more information, please check our website.  You can also contact our Director of Artist Services, Milton Liu, for more questions.

As for archives-related workshops, we’ve held some on digital asset management and photo preservation.  We wanted to host one on how to manage personal collections, but unfortunately did not have enough people sign up.  We’d hold more workshops if the interest was there.  We don’t host online workshops, but many already exist!

Hope you enjoyed learning about the archives, and if you have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact us!
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At the tail end of 2012, Visual Communications embarked on a fundraising campaign to support our programs, including our archives and preservation activities.  Funds are needed for the immense amount of work that lies ahead of us—digitizing, cataloging, and creating access records is a tedious process that requires dedicated resources.  Even proper archival storage and handling demands the specific and costly resources.  For example, the large bulk of our moving image collection is kept in offsite cold storage.  While we need offsite storage for the lack of space in our own offices, we need cold storage to ensure that we are keeping our unique materials in the best possible conditions without fluctuating temperatures.  Cold storage (in addition to a host of other conditions) helps us ensure that deterioration is stalled and that the materials will be available for future generations. 

To celebrate our archival materials and to thank our generous donors, we are giving a gift from the archives in return for their generosity—although not unique or original materials, of course!

Mugs for our donors-- thank you!  Photo courtesy of Michelle Ko.

Mugs for our donors– thank you! Photo courtesy of Michelle Ko.

  • For $125 and above, donors will receive the above mug donning a historical print from our holdings of an anti-Vietnam War protest on January 17, 1970 in Little Tokyo. Demonstrators assembled at the old Union Church (now the Union Center for the Arts) and marched through the streets of Little Tokyo.  A Rally was held in front of the old Sun Building on Weller Street. Speakers included Monique Truong, the daughter of South Vietnamese political prisoner Truong Dinh Dzu, Yuji Ichioka, Warren Furutani and Issei minister Sozaburo Watanabe. Estimated number of participants was 200.
  • For $250 and above, donors will receive a black and white matte 8×12” unframed print of 1970s LA Chinatown from our archives.
Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 6.36.51 PM

The digital print doesn’t do it justice.

  • For $500 and above, donors will receive the mug, unframed print, and one of the following two books: Moving the Image and Shôson Nagahara’s Lament in the Night

To all our donors, thank you so much for your support and enjoy your new goods!

Today we remember Senator Daniel Inouye, who passed away yesterday at the age of 88.  He was the most senior member of the U.S. Senator, and served nearly 50 years. He was a World War II veteran from the celebrated 442nd regiment comprised of Japanese American soldiers.  Inouye was highly decorated for his service:  he was conferred the Bronze Star Medal, a Medal of Honor, a Purple Heart, and a host of other awards for his bravery.

VC has an interview with the Senator about his involvement with the redress and reparations movement and his personal experience as a soldier.  You can read an excerpt of that interview on a previous post here.

Daniel Inouye screenshot from his interview from the JACL Redress Collection.

Daniel Inouye screenshot from his interview from the JACL Redress Collection.

Thank you, Senator Inouye, for your service and inspiration to many people– especially Asian Americans.

For more information on Senator Daniel Inouye’s life, please read the statement from his office here.

Remember our post several weeks ago about the wonders of Historypin?  Well, on Friday while everyone in the States was reeling from Black Friday madness and the after effects of Tryptophan, Historypin featured Eddie Wong, one of VC’s founders (and VC, by default!) on their blog!

Eddie Wong, one of the four VC founders, at the old VC office in Griffith Park. Circa 1974-1978.

Historypin collections allow people to suggest additional details for posted photos, and Eddie Wong suggested more details about the photo of him.  From there, the Historypin staff got to know him and his involvement with VC and decided to post a “Story of the Week” about him.  They were kind enough to tweet about us (and the archivist here nearly died from excitement) and link to our blog, too.  You can read the “Story of the Week” here.

Thanks, Eddie!

We’ve got some beautiful protest photos to share today, but first, we need to voice a plea.

Like so many other institutions, we depend on funding from external sources.  To keep our goal of strengthening the archives and preservation program at Visual Communications, we are participating in the Chase Community Bank Giving Campaign, a grant giving campaign to hundreds of charities.  However– the catch is that the funding is dependent on votes– so we need your help to win!

Please visit https://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charity/view/ein/23-7108393?ref=0cb8c1fd33, like the page, and vote for Visual Communications (search for Southern California Asian American Studies Central). Voting is from September 6-19, 2012!

Thank you for your time and investment as we continue to create a space for creative content by and about Asian Americans to foster a more diverse and engaged society.
You have 2 opportunities to vote:
  • Through the Chase Community Giving app on Facebook
  • Via your Chase online account if you bank with Chase

Indeed, the more votes we get, the greater the funds we may receive. But Chase Community Giving makes it possible for people all around the world to know who we are and the exciting programs we are producing, such as the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Armed with a Camera Fellowship, and one of the largest photographic and moving image repository of 20th century Asian American experience.

Now, here are those protest photos that we’ve dug up:

Please vote for us.  Your help keeps us on the path to making our archival materials accessible!
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