Archives Night at the Fox Theatre

Submitted by Leigh Burns, Director Fox Theatre Institute

The Fox Theatre, in partnership with Atlanta History Center (AHC), hosted our first Archives Night here at the Fox Theatre on Thursday, June 16th. The evening was planned originally for 2020, then later revived in 2022, with the support of our colleagues at AHC. We had more than one hundred attend the event with members from both AHC and our Friends of the Fox. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm for the event and the attendance exceeded our expectations.

Beyond collaborating with AHC staff on the event, we also enjoyed hosting many of their devoted members here to discover our own Fox Theatre archival collections. The special event gave our guests an opportunity to discover firsthand dozens of artifacts, many for the first time, from the Fox’s archives by rotating presentations from three archival experts. Our experts included Paul Crater, Debra Freer, and Josh Kitchens. These individuals have worked in our archives in different capacities throughout the years and have exceptional archival experience. In their individual, rotating presentations, each highlighted some the Fox’s original furniture, lighting, artwork, movie and show posters, and our 1970s Save the Fox campaign memorabilia. Before the rotating presentations began, Paul Crater gave an informative and enjoyable opening address. Paul’s personal interest in our own collections and his devotion to preserving Atlanta history is admirable. We are so grateful that Paul helped us lead this first-time effort. Well beyond that evening, Paul continues to support all our archives through consulting as needed.

The Fox Theatre Archives is located onsite here at the Fox Theatre. Our archives space was formally integrated into the Restoration department of the Fox Theatre in 1996. Following the 1996 fire that began in the adjoining restaurant, our Fox Theatre leadership established a permanent, climate-controlled designated area for our irreplaceable items. The archives were built out of a previous administrative area and established to protect the various artifacts important to legacy of the theatre. Beyond thousands of paper artifacts, our collections within our “living museum” includes historic furniture, historic lighting, our Moller “Mighty Mo” organ, and other artwork including architectural features. The Fox Theatre funds the ongoing care of the collections through a restoration fee added to all ticketed, public events. Every time one of our patrons join us at the Fox, they are contributing financially to the care of our collections, including our Fox Theatre archives. In addition to the physical objects, we maintain our collection electronically through the Access to Memory database. The database was implemented in 2018 and we use this to assist with external and internal requests from the public and staff as needed. We maintain architectural drawings, historical photographs and other historical documents that support the work of our marketing and facilities and restoration team members.

We look forward to hosting additional public events relating to our Archives and we hope potentially another Archives Night in early 2023. We are grateful for the support of many archivists from the metro-Atlanta area for attending this first special event. For more information about the history of the Fox Theatre please feel free to visit our website at https://www.foxtheatre.org/about/fox-historystory

For questions about the archives please feel free to reach out to me at leigh.burns@foxtheatre.org

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