The Oklahoma Historical Society has received a donation from Oklahoma's Griffin Communications that contains video, film and other artifacts documenting the nearly 50 years of significant news and events coverage by the company. The donation was accepted by the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) staff Wednesday in a ceremony at the state Capitol.
The collection includes more than 34,000 tapes with images that illustrate Oklahoma history from the 1950s to the 1990s.
“The addition of television news archives is extremely valuable in helping us preserve and share the history of our state,” said Bob L. Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “The fact that the Griffin family understands the importance of preserving this collection speaks volumes about their commitment to Oklahoma.”
Most of the footage featured in the collection was produced by KWTV-9 broadcast journalists in Oklahoma City and KOTV-6 journalists in Tulsa, but it also contains archives from other media entities owned or operated by the Griffin family from the past 50 years, according to a news release. This footage represents a real-time, eyewitness account of important historic events as they were unfolding across the state.
To preserve the images and create a finder's guide to individual scenes, the Oklahoma Historical Society will transfer the tapes to digital format and create systems where museum visitors can interact and view the collection, officials said.
“Our family has been involved in the Oklahoma broadcasting business since the beginning, first when my father launched KTUL radio in Tulsa, and then when he purchased KOMA radio in Oklahoma City,” David Griffin, chairman and CEO of Griffin Communications, said in the release.
“With the launch of KWTV in 1953, he continued to be an Oklahoma broadcast pioneer,” Griffin said. “We grew up with a sense of history instilled in us at a very young age and feel very strongly about the donation of our archives to the historical society and OKPOP.”
KOTV was the 19th television station to be built in the U.S. and the second in Oklahoma, having signed on the air on Oct. 15, 1949. With the recent construction and relocation of KOTV to the Brady Arts District, the station is now a short distance from where the OKPOP museum will be built.
The OKPOP Museum is planned as a 75,000-square-foot, four-story building dedicated to the creative spirit of Oklahoma's people and the influence of Oklahoma artists on popular culture around the world. The underlying theme of the interactive museum will be “Crossroads of Creativity” in the fields of music, film, television, theater, pop art, comic books, literature and humor.
With approval of a $42.5 million bond issue by the Oklahoma Legislature, the OKPOP Museum could open as early as 2017.
To see a selection of video clips from the Griffin Communications donation, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7-2YDLx0QE.