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The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is a high functioning volunteer run space with a rich history of supporting the underrepresented artistry of puppetry and the allied arts within the entertainment industry. With a team of volunteer, activist archivists, we have been tasked with creating an inventory of the theater’s vast and eclectic multimedia archive. 

Objective: Initiate an organizational workflow that creates safer, more effective access to the Bob Baker Marionette Theater Archive/Library.


Space organization

  • Mapping physical space

  • Identifying and labeling shelves

  • Assessing environmental and architectural concerns



  • Consolidating paper inventories created over the pat 55 years.

  • Consolidating information on drives and cloud services we manage. 

  • Created and follow a circulation file to help keep track of artifacts entering and leaving the archive.


Organizing show folders/artwork

  • Collecting water damaged art for conservation.

  • Reorganizing concept folders by subject.

  • Researching archival boxes or folders to house files.


Creating a public catalog

  • Creating an online database of published books, magazines, and music in collection. This will allow puppeteers, volunteers, historians, and researchers to investigate and use specific titles in the collection.


Audio preservation

  • ~ 3000 1/4" reel to reel = about 1500/2000 hours of show soundtrack. ~ 10-50 splices per reel. 

  • Due to the passage of time and storage conditions the tapes need to be inspected for possible deterioration. 

  • Each reel is inspected and re-spliced before digitizing. Restoring reels can take between 20min-2hrs depending on the quality of the reel and it's splices.


Film and video preservation

  • With Bob Baker’s passing, much of the archive’s organizational structure has been lost. To understand the creative efforts of this community space we have had to rely on a collection of oral histories, television interviews, and experimental test footage. It is through these materials that we believe a historical context can be understood, and be used to describe the paratextual records in the collection. ​​

  • Creating an inventory of video tape and film elements, identifying unique elements to be digitally preserved, and performing outreach to the community by way of archival screening nights.

  • Producing new oral histories with current staff.

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