The Virtual Museum
The virtual museum is the latest innovation in the Milken Archive’s ongoing effort to expand the awareness and appreciation of music pertaining to the American Jewish experience. It allows for all of the Milken Archive’s resources to be presented simultaneously, interactively and, most importantly, contextually.
When the Milken Archive was founded in 1990, CD technology was still relatively new and quickly becoming the industry standard. So, when the Milken Archive began the bulk of its recording sessions in 1998, before the digital revolution had begun in full swing, a 20-volume set comprising more than 100 CDs seemed the most effective and efficient way to see the project to fruition. The advent of the digital revolution and Internet technology have not only made that model untenable, but also undesirable. To produce and distribute the assets of the Milken Archive in physical form would require more than 100 CDs, more than 1000 DVDs, and several books. Furthermore, utilizing these various media simultaneously would be at worst impossible and at best laborious.
The virtual museum takes advantage of both digital music distribution and the Internet’s multi-media capabilities to present the Milken Archive’s assets in their full context. Everything is in one place, one form, easy to use, and easy to tailor to one’s desired experience. Get an overview of a particular theme or genre by exploring at the Volume level: sample the various musical works, view some videos or photographs, and learn about the key people. Or, go deep by exploring the oeuvre of a single composer or performer, experience all of the Related Media associated with a particular work, and read the extensive program notes and thorough Volume introductory essays for cultural and historical context. And, thanks to the advent of social media, you can share our holdings with your friends and family with a simple mouse-click. Music, video, text, photograph—all these media can live side-by-side in the virtual museum, finally realizing founder Lowell Milken’s vision of a “living archive.”
The virtual museum will be an ongoing project. It currently contains 20 themed volumes, which will be released over the course of approximately one year. However, the Milken Archive is constantly in search of historical recordings that will be added to the volumes as they become available.
Structure and Organization
The virtual museum is divided into four main sections:
The materials in The Archive section comprise the lion’s share of the Milken Archive’s holdings, including: all currently available music; an index of all composers, artists, cantors, and ensembles featured on the recordings; collections of photographs and videos documenting both the history of the Milken Archive and the history of Jewish music in America; audio excerpts from the oral history project; and several articles. All of this content can be accessed from the left-hand accordion menu on the home page.
The central organizing concept behind the Milken Archive is the Volume, a multimedia collection that includes musical recordings, photographs, videos, oral histories, and a significant amount of written material explaining the historical and cultural contexts from which the music came. There are 20 volumes in the virtual museum, each of which explores a particular aspect of the American Jewish experience.
The materials in the Newsroom include: listings of media events and publications directly related to the Milken Archive, its music, and affiliated individuals; press releases and multimedia press materials for media professionals; a listing of media coverage of the Milken Archive; and information for journalists covering any aspect of the Archive.
In the About Us section you can find general information about the Milken Archive and the key people behind it, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and information on how to contact the Archive.
The Resources section includes a glossary, an index of all tags used throughout the site, a list of Internet resources related to Jewish music, and a site map.
The Milken Archive’s virtual museum is a dynamic website designed to grow and change over time. Keep up with new developments by finding us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or visiting the What’s New feed on our home page. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments.