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Indiana Music History Project Receives Large Collection

The Indiana Music History Project has accepted the donation of a large, private collection valued at about $100,000. The collection was donated by former record store owner and co-founder of the Project’s parent nonprofit Rick Wilkerson.

The Indiana Music History Project is the primary initiative of Indiana Entertainment Foundation (IEF), an Indiana nonprofit whose mission is partially to preserve Indiana’s rich music history. Wilkerson currently serves as the IEF executive director.

Wilkerson wanted the rare recordings and artifacts to stay in Indiana.

“It’s the largest Indiana music collection we know of that will be archived and preserved, rather than sold off piecemeal to collectors,” said Wilkerson. “The historical value outweighs the money that could be generated from selling it.”

Wilkerson began collecting records as a teenager in the late 1960’s, later becoming an owner of two Indianapolis record stores, Missing Link Records (1993-2008) and Irvington Vinyl (2014-2018). He became focused on Indiana artists, gaining knowledge from the record inventory and his customers.

For the past 15 years, Wilkerson has actively collected Indiana recordings in all formats, amassing more than 1,500 different Indiana-related LP’s, more than 1,000 different Indiana-related 45’s, more than 1,000 Indiana compact discs, and hundreds of tapes, home demos, and 78’s. Wilkerson also has collected hundreds of Indiana concert posters and flyers. The entire collection has been donated to the Project.

“Rick’s donation is a major victory for future generations,” said Indiana Entertainment Foundation President Bruce W. Buchanan. “Now the rich history of Indiana’s deep and diverse music experience will be preserved, documented, and made available to the public. On behalf of musicians and music lovers everywhere, I give him a standing ovation!”

The Rick Wilkerson Collection includes rare, original vinyl releases by artists such as John Mellencamp, Hoagy Carmichael, Zerfas, Sir Winston and the Commons, Anonymous, Zero Boys, Primevil, Billy Wooten, Rhythm Machine, Turner Brothers, Phil Ranelin and many others. Among one-of-a-kind recordings is an unreleased 1964 performance by Wes Montgomery, recorded by a fan at the Circle Theatre.

Part of Wilkerson’s collection is currently on display at the Indiana State Library in an exhibit titled “Amazing Indiana Music Stories.” The exhibit runs through the end of March.

The Indiana Music History Project has also started digitizing audio and images to make the collection more accessible.

The Indiana Music History Project is the primary initiative of Indiana Entertainment Foundation (IEF), an Indiana nonprofit whose mission, in part, is the preservation of Indiana’s rich music history. IEF is a small nonprofit organization that relies on donations to operate. Visit www.indianafound.org for more information or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The Waynedale News Staff
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