Preserving our past…enriching our future

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Western Territory’s Multimedia Ministries department maintains media library.

by Josh Cowing – 

The Salvation Army’s relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina were documented on film by OMM. Film has been used since the early years of The Salvation Army to communicate its mission and to provide a visual history of its efforts around the world.

The Western Territory of The Salvation Army has a long and rich history of using modern means for spreading the message of the gospel. Over the years, the Army has produced television shows, commercials, radio promotional spots, full-fledged stage productions, informational and devotional videos, film, recorded band and songster concerts, and more.

For the last 15 years, a longtime volunteer at THQ, Ken Bricknell, maintained a large collection of these recordings. Ken, a lifelong Salvationist with a passion for preserving the history and heritage of The Salvation Army, augmented THQ’s media library with many items from his own personal collection. He dedicated his time and technical abilities to ensuring that these recordings were saved and made available for future generations of Salvationists.

After Ken was promoted to glory in August of 2006, THQ was left without a curator for this vast collection, and discussion ensued about what should be done with the collection. Ultimately, the Multimedia Ministries department acquired the task of maintaining these materials.

The department has begun the lengthy process of digitizing all of the media in the library—that is, capturing it digitally so that time won’t continue to degrade the tape or film on which it was recorded. This allows us not only to preserve these recordings for the future, but also to make them available to the field in a variety of forms. Our goal is to create an online database that is keyword searchable, so that Salvationists from around the world will be able to locate a piece of media, preview it online, and download it for general interest use or for inclusion in media projects of their own.

Just a few examples of what the library includes are recordings of past commissioning events, celebrity radio spots from the 1940s and 1950s, recordings of Evangeline Booth, musical productions, and a wide variety of band recordings.

We hope to continue the legacy begun by Ken Bricknell—to preserve the rich media heritage of the Western Territory and to expand on that legacy by providing more people better access to these recordings for the future.

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