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Kitchen Sisters Productions (San Francisco, CA 94133-5107)
Nikki Silva (Project Director: January 2020 to present)
The Kitchen Sisters Archive

A preservation assessment and the purchase of preservation supplies for a collection of over 7,000 hours of audio footage recorded by producers Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, also known as The Kitchen Sisters. Material from the collection was gathered for award-winning series such as “Lost & Found Sound,” “The Sonic Memorial,” and “Hidden Kitchens.” Among the everyday voices captured include Mohawk iron workers in New York, Vietnamese immigrant women working in nail shops in California, raw milk dairy farmers in Indiana, Lebanese immigrants in the Mississippi Delta, and barbecue pit masters in Kentucky. Documentary series have covered the immediate impact on the World Trade Center neighborhood following 9/11, hunger and poverty in America, and a coming-of-age ceremony for girls on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The award would also support an audio preservation workshop for staff and independent audio producers.

The Kitchen Sisters, have created hundreds of stories for NPR and public broadcast since they began working together in 1979. In gathering recordings for these stories they have amassed over 7000 hours of audio documenting the lives, histories, rites, rituals and traditions of people, well known and seldom heard. Stories rich in all aspects of the humanities featuring interviews, oral histories, the context and perspectives of scholars, music, field recordings, archival audio—collected over four decades in nearly every state in the nation. WE are applying for NEH funding to 1) Purchase storage supplies to properly rehouse and preserve at risk media in our archive as recommended in our preservation assessment. 2) Contract with a paper conservator to prepare a preservation assessment of our paper collection. 3) Contract with an audio archivist to offer a workshop for our staff, interns, and open to other independent audio producers, focusing on audio preservation.

Project fields:
History, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

$10,000 (approved)
$10,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 2/28/2022