SALVAGING AN INSTITUTION THAT INSPIRED US
In 2015, Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) announced that it has been donated the artifacts of the former Graystone International Jazz Museum (GIJM) and would be accessing and activating the collection.
The GIJM was founded in 1974 but closed last decade as the original board members began to pass away and funds finally ran out. Some of the artifacts—photographs, posters, records, musical instruments, paperwork, historical research, and physical materials from the Graystone Ballroom itself which was torn down in 1980—were left in a local warehouse by the last board president. The rest of the artifacts were left in the Book Tower, the last location of the museum. DSC has worked for over two years to secure ownership over all the Graystone materials from the final GIJM board members and, in late 2014, secured gift forms for the collection.
In 2013, DSC digitized a number of videos and artifacts from the GIJM held then in private hands. You can see and hear these materials here.
In 2015, with a space provided by the Detroit Historical Society (DHS), DSC began accession of the collection.
Spring 2015, we produced an exhibit at the Detroit Public Library to coincide with the DSC’s Michigan Sound Conference.
Summer 2015, a team of volunteers salvaged GIJM materials from the Book Building in downtown Detroit.
Fall 2015, a selection from the GIJM Collection was moved to a temporary exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) in downtown Detroit.
2015-2016 Survey and Inventory
In 2015-2016, we completed a survey and began an inventory of the collection with the help of interns from Wayne State University.
2017-2018 Activation and Curation
As we move forward we have begun to activate pieces of the collection (see for instance our use of the Graystone Ballroom windows in our Detroit Sound Hall of Fame programming) and look forward to making the entire collection open to researchers beginning in 2018….
Updated September 2017