Way back in April of 2008, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead held a press conference to announce a deal they struck with the University of Califonia at Santa Cruz to house the band’s archives. We haven’t heard much about this project since that day…until now. UC Santa Cruz announced that they have been awarded a National Leadership Grant of $615,175 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)–the primary source of federal funds for the nation’s museums and libraries.
The grant will enable the UCSC Library to digitize materials from its Grateful Dead Archive and make them available in a unique and cutting-edge web site titled, “The Virtual Terrapin Station.”
UCSC is one of 51 institutions nationwide that received National Leadership Grants this year totaling nearly $18 million. Projects funded by the IMLS are designed to “advance the ability of museums and libraries to preserve culture, heritage, and knowledge while enhancing learning.” [UCSC Press Release]
We can’t imagine the conservatives behind the Tea Parties are going to be happy when they hear about this use of federal funds. Regardless, Deadheads everywhere will benefit from the fruits of the grant money. The money will ensure that the band’s fans from around the world will be able to view the contents of the band’s archives without having to make the trip to Santa Cruz.
Digitizing the archive should take about two and a half years according to UCSC head of special collections and archives Christine Bunting as per an article in the Contra Costa Times. Bunting also reveals that the band donated 2/3rds of the material in the collection while Deadheads have supplied the rest. We’ll look forward to the day in 2012 when we get to see this “Virtual Terrapin Station” and hope it doesn’t get delayed for over a decade like the band’s first attempt at a “Virtual Terrapin Station” back in 1997. The $615, 175 of federal funds should help this time around.