University of Louisville Libraries Archivist Heather Fox recently traveled to Whitesburg, KY to assist in cleaning and preserving damaged archives at Appalshop, an arts and education center focused on Appalachian culture. The organization’s building and contents were badly damaged during recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky where rainfall swelled the North Fork of the Kentucky River and inundated Whitesburg’s downtown.
The organization’s archive holds roughly 20,000 items, including oral histories, musical recordings, film, videotape, records and photos. Some of the film and videotape was seen in the streets following the flooding. Efforts to retrieve and clean archives will be slow and painstaking but necessary to preserve the rich historical record of Appalachian culture.
Fox, who directs Archives and Special Collections’ Oral History Center, joined a number of archivists from around the state who will assist in moving Appalshop’s video and film collection into freezer trucks, among other tasks.
If you need help or have help to give, go to appalshop.org/floodsupport.