A retrospective of the Bob Moog Foundation’s efforts to rescue, restore, catalog, and share Bob Moog’s Archives over the past seven years.
Several months after Bob’s passing, The Bob Moog Foundation (BMF) staff rescued Bob’s priceless archives from its home on pallets in his former vacant workshop space in the country, where it was exposed to heat and humidity. It was Bob’s intention to take care of the archives himself after his retirement. Unfortunately, he passed away prior to his retirement.
The BMF, through Michelle Moog-Koussa and key volunteers and consultants, acted decisively and responsibly to ensure that the majority of Bob Moog’s archives were rescued from conditions that would have certainly led to deterioration and damage.
- In the early spring of 2007, Michelle and a team of volunteers swept away the mold, mouse droppings, spiders and the occasional snake skin and brought in consultants to assess and prioritize the collection.
- The Bob Moog Foundation incurred the costs associated with the purchase of archival-quality storage containers and the transportation of much of the archives to climate-controlled storage, where documents, hardware and reel-to-reel tapes could be reviewed and cared for in greater detail. Over time, we assumed the costs for climate controlled storage and administration of the archives.
- At her insistence, most of the paper documents (about a third of the entire collection) remained in Ileana Grams-Moog’s dirt-floor basement and laundry room for much of the past seven years, despite findings from an N.C. state archivist that “the basement of the house suffers from high levels of humidity in the summer risking development of mold and mildew.”
- The Bob Moog Foundation, with the assistance of many dedicated, skilled volunteers and consultants, cataloged much of the collection and sought grant funding for its restoration (including two grants from the GRAMMY Foundation), always with the intention of sharing it with researchers and the general public. With that in mind, BMF secured state-of-the-art archival storage space at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources – Western Division (NCDCR), where it could be protected and made widely available.
- The Bob Moog Foundation’s work to preserve and protect the archives in a timely manner was done in good faith, pending the signature of Ileana Grams-Moog on legal documents that would have transferred legal rights of the entire collection to BMF. Negotiations regarding these contracts have languished for two years due to Ms. Grams-Moog’s health issues. Sadly, our progress was slowed by this delay. The decision to send the collection elsewhere was done without consulting the BMF.
From the Workshop into the Hands of Skill, Experience, and Expertise
Many thanks to all of the volunteers and professionals who dedicated their time to improving Bob’s archives. We are ever grateful for your generosity of spirit and intellect. Your work will live on in the collection of materials.
Bob Moog Foundation archivist Susan Granados, pictured below, worked closely with the archivists-in-residence at the NCDCR, as well as with the network of Moog history experts that are an important part of BMF’s work. This includes many individuals who are a part of that legacy. Her work, and that of Bob Moog Foundation, is to preserve Bob’s archives in a way that allows them to be shared with people from around the world through research facilities, exhibits, interactive displays, and online explorations.
Archival Displays in Museums and at Events
Parts of the archives have already been featured in Waves of Inspiration: The Legacy of Moog at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA (2009/2010); the Electronic Music Exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona; Moogfest 2010 and 2011 and HATCHfest 2010 in Asheville; Enter the Mind of Moog (200?); and Pushing the Envelope (2011).
At each and every exhibit, people express their fascination at being exposed to the foundations of Bob Moog’s work — hand written schematics, hand built prototypes, vintage equipment, and a vast range of paper material. They leave inspired by how Bob and the many people who inspired his work were able to revolutionize the face of music.
Please Note: Bob Moog’s Archives are only part of the Bob Moog Foundation Archives. We maintain a robust collection of material, which we acquired or were donated to us, that traces the evolution of Bob’s career and the history of electronic music. We remain dedicated to exploring this fascinating history with you.
For complete articles on our efforts on the Bob Moog Archives please see the links below:
Seva’s Complete Blog Series on Restoring Reel-to-Reel Tapes
MoogHistory Unveiled: Brian Kehew Explores 1965 R.A. Moog Co. Electronic Music Workshop