The mission of the AVHC is to preserve and provide access to audiovisual recordings documenting life and culture in the Southeastern United States and beyond. Our public programs bring the collection out of the archive and into the public sphere. Our workshops empower professionals and the general public to preserve their own audiovisual collections. Our creative access initiatives explore what it means to be a contemporary, community-centered archive.
At the core of the program is the Metro Archives audiovisual collection. It contains approximately 7,000 objects on analog film, video, audio formats, as well as digital files.
AVHC’s Core Objectives
The AVHC develops access initiatives within and without the sphere of the archive. It supports the creative use of archival audiovisual collections by researchers, filmmakers, artists, historians, and the public.
AVHC holds Community Archiving Workshops which teach essential audiovisual preservation skills for professionals and the general public. We foster community networks and support the sharing of resources and knowledge.
AVHC prioritizes the preservation and collection of audiovisual documents which represent diverse voices and experiences.
AVHC adheres to and adapts international best practices for physical conservation and digital and photochemical preservation as supported by organizations including AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists), FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives), ISO (International Organization for Standardization), FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative) and IPI (Image Permanence Institute).
In 2015, Nashville Metro Archives performed an assessment of its analog audiovisual recordings stored at its off-site storage facility. The assessment found that the collection contained unique footage documenting events and culture vital to the history of Davidson County and beyond. It also found that the collection was at a high risk due to decay and lack of playback equipment. Unless swift steps were taken to digitize and preserve the collection, total loss of the collection was inevitable. The Audiovisual Heritage Center (AVHC) was founded as a program to save the collection.
In 2017, the Nashville Public Library Foundation supported the AVHC with an annual budget. Since then, AVHC has cataloged 70% of the collection, moved it into safer storage, digitized over 200 rare recordings, established an onsite digitization program, and made significant portions of the collection accessible to the public-- some of which had not been seen in over half a century.
AVHC's newest endeavor is its Digital Audiovisual Collection Sustainability Project (DACS), a project to safeguard its digital collections in perpetuity.