Through the Years
Stations Archive Memories
Rocky Mountain PBS volunteers are passionate about public television – and especially about their “home” station. For the past decade, a group of dedicated volunteers have developed, executed and grown an archive project that is unique to Rocky Mountain PBS – and lauded by the PBS system.
The project’s purpose is to document and preserve the history of Rocky Mountain PBS as it relates to its volunteers, programming, community outreach and administrative operations. The award-winning project, funded by a grant from Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is called “Station’s Archived Memories” and is fondly referred to as “SAM.”
The project began in 2000 when Laura Sampson (RMPBS volunteer since 1974) recognized the need to preserve Rocky Mountain PBS' history as the station’s 50th anniversary (2006) was quickly approaching.
The goal was to include historical resources in internal and external publications, and make them available to staff, volunteers and the local community. In addition, the archive project would provide a cultural, political and educational history of the community as it related to public television.
Once the project was on its way, it became apparent that SAM would continue well beyond the 50th anniversary celebration – and become an ongoing volunteer project.
Today, more than 40 volunteers work from home and in an office at the Denver station exploring the history of Rocky Mountain PBS. The SAM committee consists of both volunteers and retired staff members.
On any given day, the SAM office is buzzing with volunteers busy identifying historical (and current) photographs, collecting and preserving memorabilia, conducting oral history interviews, archiving the station’s collection of local productions and preserving thousands of station documents.
SAM volunteers serve as the go-to “archivists” and historians of Rocky Mountain PBS. In fact, the entire “RMPBS – Our Story, Our Legacy" online exhibit that you are currently browsing was researched and written by SAM volunteers using the extensive SAM archives!
In 2003, the committee spent an entire year (2003) creating a “SAM Toolkit” outlining how to develop and properly maintain an archive of station history. As a part of the CPB grant stipulations, the toolkit was authored by volunteers, then published and distributed to every PBS station across the country. As presenters at the 2004 PBS Development Conference, SAM volunteers encouraged all PBS stations to follow the lead of Rocky Mountain PBS by preserving their own stations’ histories. If you would like a copy of the toolkit, call 303-620-5734.
The SAM project received national recognition at the 2004 PBS Development Conference when awarded the National Friends of Public Broadcasting (NFPB) Community Development Award. This award is presented annually “to the station or volunteer group with an outstanding outreach project or campaign to raise community awareness and appreciation of their local public television station.”
Rocky Mountain PBS is proud of its extensive archive and uses its content regularly. SAM volunteers continue to work daily, welcoming new volunteers throughout the year. Anyone interested in joining this ongoing volunteer-driven project should visit Station's Archived Memories (SAM) to learn more or e-mail SAM@rmpbs.org.
FAST FACTS ABOUT "SAM" AS OF MAY 2010
- 33,000 photographs have been digitized, identified and archived in a “Photo” database
- 2,500 memorabilia Items have been preserved, photographed and digitized in a “Memorabilia” database
- 140 Oral History interviews have been videotaped, transcribed and archived in an “Oral History” database
- 5,150 videos and tapes have been inventoried and archived in a “Film & Video” database
- 10,100 station documents have been digitized, summarized and archived in a “Research” database
- Station’s Archived Memories (SAM) archives of Rocky Mountain PBS