In the Summer of 2016, I began the process of establishing an archive out of artifacts local musicians and friends at The Pumphouse had collected over the past ten years of touring and playing music in the Midwest. Their collection includes fliers and posters, stickers, buttons, set lists, correspondence and general tour ephemera. I named the collection, The Pumphouse Archive.
The Pumphouse is the Lawrence, Kansas home and “band house” of Sam and Will Gunnerson: brothers, musicians, artists, and active members of the Midwestern DIY scene. The Pumphouse has been a popular tour stop for bands since 2004, becoming an accidental repository in the process. The Pumphouse Archive documents the web of interconnected bands that developed around the resurgence of the DIY ethos, covering the past decade of punk, metal, math, indie, and garage rock shows in the Midwest.
I processed, created an inventory and arranged the entire collection, and through my job at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center, I was able to digitize the posters and fliers. I took preliminary steps to develop a metadata schema, but found myself too busy. So, in the Fall of 2016, four of my classmates agreed to work with this collection for our group project in our Metadata class (LIS 853), taught by Bronwen Masemann.
We addressed preservation challenges, copyright and access concerns, and digital repository possibilities. We also identified potential user groups, their needs, and access points. Our biggest challenge was establishing ways to describe the most important characteristics of both the physical object and its digital copy. The collection is still growing, will continue to be digitized, and made available online. The DIY music community in the Midwest depends on the passion, talent, and dedication of its many contributors. Our contribution to the DIY community is using our training as archivists to preserve the history of a community which might otherwise not be preserved.