The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies: A Case Study in Sustaining a Single Author Archive
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The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies (cited also as the “Bradbury Center” or the “Center”) is a single author archive, museum, and outreach center housed in the Institute for American Thought, located in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. This dissertation employs a case study methodology to explore the complex issue of single author archive management and sustainability as it applies to the Bradbury Center by extending the research process beyond working with primary sources and published materials. The applied research project unfolded in two phases. The first involved an intensive four-day on-site consultation in which five professional archivists and preservation experts from across the Midwest visited the Bradbury Center and examined its collections and policies. Following their visit, the consultants prepared recommendations concerning artifacts, manuscripts, correspondence, physical layout, access, operational procedures, processing priorities, and environmental/climate control for artifacts. The on-site consultation team also informed objectives, goals, and strategies for addressing the preservation needs of the Center’s vast and varied collections, aiding in systematically moving forward with curatorial initiatives, and planning for general organizational development. The second research phase involved site visits to five peer institutions to tour facilities, interview directors and archivists about best practices, and established a plan for adapting these practices to the Bradbury Center. Findings from both research phases inform the Bradbury Center’s immediate and long-term plans for center staff, fundraising, spatial expansion and renovation, and the Center’s strategy for identifying key constituencies as it endeavors to serve a broad spectrum of public and academic audiences through various outreach and programming initiatives. Upon completion of the case study field research, a formal report was prepared. That report serves as the cornerstone for this applied dissertation. Additional chapters cast a vision for the Bradbury Center and address potential opportunities to serve the Indianapolis region by tapping into tourism markets, conventions, and local cultural festivals and celebrations while also developing into an international research hub as the sole entity that preserves the material legacy of Ray Bradbury. The introductory chapter situates the Bradbury Center within the legacy of the central figure of the Center—Ray Bradbury.