Meet Corry Kanzenberg: Curator of Norman Rockwell Archive – The Face Behind the Research: ProjectNORMAN and The Norman Rockwell Archives
Laurie Norton Moffatt: How did the new book, Behind the Camera recently featured in Vanity Fair, come about?
Corry Kanzenberg: “Ron Schick first contacted us three years ago about his book proposal focused on Norman Rockwell’s reference photography. Having learned of the Museum’s collections digitization efforts, ProjectNORMAN, Ron saw the perfect opportunity to explore our Norman Rockwell Archives. His research at the Museum formed the basis for Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera (Little, Brown and Company: October 2009), and an exhibition of the same name opens in our galleries on November 7.”
LNM – How is ProjectNORMAN making a difference for researchers?
CK – “Prior to Ron, researchers who have accessed the Norman Rockwell Archives have had to physically handle archival materials, or have a staff member assist them in doing so. Ron’s research was primarily conducted through the use of one of our library computer stations. There, he had access to over 18,000 high–resolution examples of Rockwell’s reference photography dating from 1939 to 1976. Aside from several folders of Rockwell’s original photographic prints, Ron did not need any other material objects to be retrieved from their shelves in the Archives.
“This is the result of Project NORMAN, the Museum’s long–term preservation, digitization, and electronic access initiative. Scholars like Ron are becoming more common in the world. With an ever–growing demand for quick information, museums, archives, and libraries are conforming to meet their patrons’ needs. As the Norman Rockwell Museum pushes ahead with its own ambitious digitization projects, collections all over the world are becoming more electronically accessible. Indeed, for most institutions, digitized materials are disseminated via the internet. In addition to all of the scanning, photography, and electronic record creation which must be completed, there are many other levels of preparation prior to a collection’s internet debut. For a Museum with collections largely still under copyright protection, we took careful steps to comply with the various rights holders’ requirements.”
LNM – Will researchers continue to need to come to the Museum to view the digital archive?
CK – “By mid-November, access to a large part of our collections will be available through our website, www.nrm.org. It is our belief that making this collection available via the internet will foster a new generation of scholarship and appreciation for Norman Rockwell and the art of illustration, and we will look forward to hearing feedback from you—our audience.”
LNM – Thank you Corry – your work on ProjectNORMAN is magnificent.
ProjectNORMAN is a Save America’s Treasures Project and has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Luce Foundation for American Art, The Stockman Foundation and a private corporate Foundation. Contributions are needed to continue to digitize the more than 150,000 additional materials in the archive.