About Station's Archived Memories (SAM)
By Laura Sampson, Founder | Station’s Archived Memories (SAM)
Rocky Mountain Public Media volunteers are passionate about public television – and especially about their local station. Since 2000, a group of dedicated volunteers has been developing, executing and growing an archive that is unique to Rocky Mountain Public Media and lauded nationally.
The project’s purpose is to document and preserve the station’s history as it relates to its volunteers, programming, community outreach and administrative operations. The award-winning project, originally funded by a grant from Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is known as “Station’s Archived Memories” or the nickname “SAM.”
The project began in 2000 when Laura Sampson, RMPBS volunteer since 1974, recognized the need to preserve Rocky Mountain PBS' history as the station’s 50th anniversary (2006) quickly approached. The goal was to include historical resources from internal and external publications, and make them available to staff, volunteers and the local community. In addition, the archive project would provide a cultural, political and educational history of the community as it related to public television.
Once the project began, it became apparent that SAM would continue beyond the 50th anniversary and develop into an ongoing archive endeavor that continues to this day. SAM volunteers serve as the go-to “archivists” and historians of Rocky Mountain PBS. As of 2021, volunteers work from home or in the SAM office at Rocky Mountain Public Media* identifying photographs, collecting and preserving memorabilia, conducting and transcribing oral history interviews, archiving and digitizing the station’s collection of local productions and digitally preserving thousands of station documents.
In 2003, the committee spent the year authoring a “SAM Toolkit” outlining how to develop and maintain an archive of public media history. As part of the CPB grant stipulations, the toolkit was written, published and distributed to every PBS station across the country. As presenters at the 2004 PBS Development Conference, SAM volunteers encouraged other PBS stations to preserve their own stations’
The SAM project received national recognition at the 2004 PBS Development Conference when awarded the National Friends of Public Broadcasting (NFPB) Community Development Award presented “to the station or volunteer group with an outstanding outreach project or campaign to raise community awareness and appreciation of their local public television station.”
Rocky Mountain Public Media is proud of its extensive archive and uses content regularly to answer viewer questions, conduct research, incorporate in publications and more. SAM volunteers welcome new volunteers throughout the year. If you are interested in joining this year-round volunteer-driven effort please visit Station's Archived Memories(SAM) or e-mail SAM@rmpbs.org.
* Only essential staff are currently working at the Rocky Mountain Public Media offices. Volunteers will return to the SAM Office when it is deemed safe to do so.