The museum for years struggled to find a location to store its archives, existing as a mobile museum since its inception in 2010. It was not until Norie Guthrie, an archivist and special collections librarian at the Woodson, who overheard the news that the Museum needed a facility to hold its archives, that she offered her services and the Fondren Library’s resources as a solution.
“My reaction was like, ‘Oh my god, am I dreaming?’” said Sandy Hickey, the co-founder of the Blues Museum, in a press release. “This is what we’ve been looking for forever.”
The archives consist mostly of collections related to Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price, the famed blues harmonica player and elder statesman of Houston blues. Price died in 2012. Most of his possessions were saved from a storage locker by Hickey and Blues Museum co-founder Jomonica Phoenix just before they went on auction, with only one day to spare.
Among Price’s possessions are original recordings, metal molds used to cast vinyl records, contracts from Sunshine and Peacock Records, and glittering cufflinks.
Hickey and Phoenix both promise that there’s far more to come. The archives will be carefully preserved and be available to researchers and scholars to document the rich history of the Houston Blues scene.
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