Workshops Filling Fast!

As you know, today is the last day of early-bird registration.  One of the biggest changes at this year’s conference is the addition of more hands-on learning in the form of workshops. These workshops cover everything that we encounter in our work.  The core areas of our field are represented in three workshops Metadata Basics: Understanding and Creating Metadata and Advanced Metadata Applications: Transforming and Sharing Metadata, and Basics of Digital Capture.

Introduction to Project Management,  What is, what wows, and what works: Design Thinking for Problem Solving, Innovation, and Leadership, and Visual communication, organization, and notetaking will each help you approach your day job more effectively and efficiently.

Putting Pen to Page and Accounting for Scope Drift are perfect workshops for professional development.

To encourage this more interactive learning environment, everyone gets a free workshop with their conference registration! Additional workshops are still very affordable at $15 each.  The only problem with workshops is that they are filling up very quickly.  Why not take advantage of early-bird registration to guarantee your slot into one of these great opportunities.

What if you already registered and want to add an additional workshop or tour to your schedule?  Just email and we can help you add it to your current registration.  I look forward to seeing all of you in surprisingly fantastic Louisville!

Chris Strasbaugh
Vice President of Conference Programming, Visual Resources Association

Old Louisville Historic District

Architecture fiends hold on to your hats (or whatever it is fiends wear these days). Louisville is more than baseball bats and horses and bourbon and music and dining. It is also a major stop for remarkable domestic architecture.

The Old Louisville neighborhood is home to one of the largest collections of restored Victorian homes in the country and is the third largest Historical Preservation District in the United States. Further reports claim that it contains the largest concentration of residential homes with stained glass windows, and has the largest collection of pedestrian-only streets of any neighborhood in the US.

The neighborhood was built as a suburb in the 1870s and grew to almost 50 city blocks over the next several decades through the 1920s. Starting in the 1930s the area went through a period of decline, but in the 1960s, Courier-Journal writer J. Douglass Nunn started an initiative to revitalize the area and restore the architectural treasures in danger of being demolished or neglected.

You can easily take yourself on a walking tour of the Old Louisville neighborhood. From the Louisville Marriott it is a 5-10 minute drive, and 30 minute walk to the heart of this charming area. If schedule allows, check out the neighborhood on your way to the informal tour at the Filson Historical Society.

More info: learn about the neighborhood, check out this tour site (though tours don’t start until May), or read up in Wikipedia (main page, historic places listings).

And if you need some eye-candy/Friday Fun at work today:

Google Images Search
Flickr Search
Flickr Album concentrating on Louisville


Looking forward to seeing you,
The Board

Louisville 2017 Tours: See the Sights, Experience the Concepts in Action

There is more to a conference then just sessions and meetings.  Tours are a fantastic way to see the host city of Louisville, Kentucky as well as see the concepts being discussed in action.  Not only are they useful, they are also a ton of fun.

Always wondered what all the hype about makerspaces were, join the New Way of Making: Louisville Hackerspace and Copper and Kings Distillery on Wednesday, March 29.  This engaging tour will allow behind the scenes access to the LVL1 Hackerspace.  What better way to cap off this tour but head around the corner to the Copper and Kings Distillery to see how they use music to produce their beverages. Stephanie Schmidt, Archivist of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, will be leading this group and answering questions along the way.

Like baseball or Americana?  The behind-the-scenes tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Archive on Saturday, April 1 is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. Need I saw more than special access to view the “Bat Vault” where all the original signed bats are kept? It is going to be a great experience for all.

Did you just think that the tour would be something a person traveling with you would enjoy?  Space is available on any tour and space can be purchased without a conference registration.

The three cornerstones of Louisville are baseball, bourbon, and horses.  What trip would be complete without a visit Churchill Downs?  In the Behind-the-Scenes at Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby Museum, you’ll get to meet horses, jockeys, and see the inner-workings of the blacksmith shop. at this first stop of the Triple Crown.

Lastly, what better way to finish the conference then a beautiful charter bus ride through the Kentucky Bluegrass and making a stop at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Here, Stephanie Schmidt will provide an in depth tour of the facility including the archive and art collection she manages.  It will be a unique way to see how the field of visual resources is spreading into these unique areas.

This year we are also doing our first informal tour.  The Filson Historical Society has generously opened its doors for two in-depth tours of their collection. The Filson Historical Society—The oldest private, non-profit historical society in the state of Kentucky just completed a $12 million renovation and expansion.  The project included the makeover of the stately 112-year-old Ferguson Mansion and carriage house (The Filson’s headquarters for over 30 years) and the construction of a new 20,000 square-foot multipurpose building behind the mansion.  The new Owsley Brown II History Center will provide The Filson with additional space for events, educational programs, much needed library, museum, and archival storage, and a state of the art digitization lab.  The lab has been stocked with a variety of equipment for digitizing manuscript and a/v materials.  Notable pieces include a large format camera with digital scanning back for overhead capture and a Konica-Minolta ScanDiva.  Both pieces will allow staff to digitize oversized materials such as maps, large prints, and architectural drawing in-house, in addition to photos, manuscripts, books, and pamphlets taking our digitization efforts to the next level.  Join us for a tour of our newly renovated campus and a sneak peak of our digitization lab. Best part, it’s free!  Transportation is not provided but it a short bus ride, taxi, or Uber away.

To register for this free informal tour, please use this Google form to save a place on the tour.

Can’t wait to see you all in Louisville!

Chris Strasbaugh
Vice President of Conference Programming, Visual Resources Association

VRA 2017: Volunteer Studio

Hello VRA members,
Just a reminder that the VRA’s 2017 Annual Conference is fast approaching (March 29-April 1), along with the early-bird rate deadline (February 28th). Here is a link to the program and here is a link to the registration page:

If you haven’t done so already, please remember to register for the VRA Volunteer Studio, which is FREE and the VRA Foundation is generously sponsoring. Everyone is welcome!
The VRA Volunteer Studio will take place on Thursday, March 30th from 12:10 – 2:10pm and includes lunch!

Lunch items will feature local favorites such as one of Louisville’s more famous dishes, the hot brown. But, if you are not into open-faced sandwiches covered with turkey, bacon, and creamy sauce, there will be vegetarian options available as well.

After lunch, the Studio facilitators (representing diverse aspects of the profession and the Association) will offer opportunities for attendees to engage in “real-life” issues/projects that are being addressed within the Association. I, for example, will be facilitating a discussion table that represents the VRA Executive Board, and would like to talk with anyone who is interested about our changing professional roles and the future of the VRA. So, if you’ve ever had questions about how your skills might align with the needs of the VRA in meaningful ways, the nitty-gritty of Association work, or the benefits our volunteers gain from active participating in the VRA–the Studio will be a place for you to explore those questions. Or–just come for lunch and observation. Either way, the Volunteer Studio will provide a multi-directional learning and conversation space for all.

To helps us get a general sense of our catering needs for the Volunteer Studio, please remember to select it on your conference registration form as an event that you will be participating in.

If you have already registered, and need to make that selection retrospectively, please email Jasmine Burns and she will make the adjustment on your behalf.
Have a great weekend!

Best of Bourbon

BOURBON! If you’re planning a trip to Kentucky’s largest city, you already know that you need to imbibe this local export in order to experience authentic Kentucky culture. But what is this stuff and where are the best places to try it and buy it? Should I go to a distillery? A bourbon bar? CVS? The answer could be all of the above! Here are some fun facts about bourbon whiskey and where you should go to experience the Kentucky spirit.

Fun facts:

There are 6 standards a spirit must achieve in order to be legally called bourbon whiskey:

  1. Must be produced in the United States.
  2. It must be aged in brand new charred white oak barrels at no more than 125 proof. After a barrel has been used to age whiskey once, it can never be reused to age bourbon.
  3. Bourbon must be at least 51% corn – other grains used include malted barley, wheat, or rye.
  4. It must be distilled at no higher than 160 proof.
  5. Must be a minimum of 80 proof at bottling.
  6. To be labeled “straight bourbon whiskey,” it must have aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years.

In 2015, the Total Bourbon inventory totaled 6.7 million barrels, meaning there are 1.5 bourbon barrels for every living resident of Kentucky.

In 1964, Congress declared bourbon as America’s only native spirit, and it remains so today.

During Prohibition, whiskey was only available in pharmacies in the form of “medicinal whiskey,” used to treat the symptoms of a variety of ailments. As a holdover from this time, in Kentucky drug stores, like CVS and Walgreens, are allowed to sell liquor, while grocery stores and gas stations are not.

95% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky, where a climate with all four seasons and pure limestone water contribute to making the world’s greatest bourbon.

Where to taste:

Haymarket Whiskey Bar, Downtown

This local dive features, on average, around 250 whiskeys, 150 unique bourbons, rare and private barrel selections, and a half dozen rotating craft beer taps. If the bourbons aren’t enough entertainment, check out the vintage arcade with pinball machines, skeeball lanes and more.

Silver Dollar, Clifton

Named one of GQ’s Top 10 Best Whiskey Bars in the Nation, the Silver Dollar honors the style, rhythm and taste of the Okies that founded the “Bakersfield Sound” of country music in the 1930s. The combination of neon lights, rough country sound, and vast collection of local bourbons makes for a can’t-miss brunch or dinner if you can make it out of downtown for a drink and a bite.

The Old Seelbach Bar, Downtown

Having hosted such infamous Americans as Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Seelbach Hotel is a step back into the turn of the century. Experience the heart and soul of Kentucky in this authentically restored, early 1900’s bar featuring an expansive bourbon collection – highlighting several impeccably smooth single barrel bourbons.

Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant, Downtown

Located in the heart of Louisville’s Whiskey Row, Down One’s bourbon list is so large it is divided into eras: Pre-Prohibition, Post-Prohibition, and Modern. And their “Get Splashed” wall is the perfect photo opportunity for the bourbon lover.

Where to learn (and taste):

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Still haven’t signed up for Archiving Outside the Norm: Buffalo Trace Distillery Archives and Factory Tour? There are still spots open for an in-depth tour of the archives at this facility highlighting how visual resources can be in niche areas such as this. There will be a tour of this facility, bourbon tasting (free), and the ability to ask questions about the industry as a whole. You will also get to enjoy a beautiful ride through the heart of Bourbon country and the Bluegrass. Perfect way to top off your conference experience in bourbon country.

Evan Williams Experience, Downtown

Located on downtown Louisville’s historic “Whiskey Row,” the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience features an artisanal distillery, guided tours, educational Bourbon tastings, and more! Celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first commercial distiller, this immersive experience brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit.

Frazier History Museum, Spirits of Bluegrass, Prohibition and Kentucky, Downtown

Prohibition and Kentucky brings the 1920’s to life & shows how millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans chose to violate the national alcohol ban to quench the country’s thirst for illegal booze. With two full sized bars, an event-ready Speakeasy with a lighted stage, and flapper dresses around every corner, Prohibition and Kentucky stands ready for a party. In 1920, you needed a doctor’s prescription or a Speakeasy password to get your lips on some liquor. Today, both the great stories, and the spirits, are much easier to come by. Prohibition and Kentucky traces the rise of the temperance movement, organized crime, and the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933, taking an in-depth look at America’s “Noble Experiment.” No tasting here, but lots of great info and exhibits!

Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery, Butchertown

If you’re not a bourbon fan or you’ve already checked all of the above destinations off your bourbon bucket list, Copper & Kings provides a fun tour and tasting of American Brandy, Gin, Absinthe and other spirits that also celebrate Kentucky culture. Copper & Kings combines high design, unique aging styles, and quality ingredients to create products that hold their own in the local whiskey market.

— Stephanie Schmidt, VRA member and Archivist at Buffalo Trace Distillery

Keynote Speaker: Brent Seales

This year’s convocation speaker, Dr. Brent Seales, paradoxically works with cutting-edge technology as well as some of the world’s earliest artifacts. Dr. Seales received his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Currently, our guest speaker is a professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and what’s more, the director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments (VIS Center) at the University of Kentucky. Another notable period in his career trajectory occurred in 2012-2013, when he was a visiting scientist with Google in Paris.

His work researching digital imaging in the fields of cultural heritage at the enviable VIS Center (basically a Visual Resources Center on steroids), is what makes Seales such an exciting and timely addition to this year’s program. The VIS website describes the Center as having produced fascinating research using advanced technologies that incorporate “computer vision and image processing, data acquisition, graphics, human-computer interaction, multimedia, and networking that are dedicated to research and development of computer-generated immersive environments, ambient environments, dynamic scene acquisition and preservation, advanced telepresence and telecommunications, and visualization applications in such areas as education and training, medicine, manufacturing, security, and daily life.”

Receiving international acclaim, the VIS Center has partnered with such renowned institutions such as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, The British Museum, IBM, FBI, Archivision, and a number of universities.

One of his most compelling projects developed at the VIS Center is known as EDUCE (Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration). It aims to produce readable images of ancient texts too fragile to open by using a virtual unwrapping tool similar to X-ray technology. Fortunately, (spoiler alert) for one particularly damaged ancient scroll from Ein Gedi, which resembles a lump of coal, Seales and his research team achieved the seemingly impossible by developing a software that involves layering digital images over the primary source, then altering the documents color and resolution. Thanks to Dr. Brent Seales for having securely laid the groundwork, we can only hope that such emerging technologies become common-place in the future within our field of visual resources.

Make sure to attend this engaging talk on Wednesday, March 29th from 5:00-6:30pm.

Things to check out in Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city is situated on the Ohio River along the Indiana border. Every May, its race course Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby, the run for the roses, and the fastest two minutes in sports! Kentucky is also known for its golden elixir, bourbon. About 95% of the worlds bourbon is made right here in the Commonwealth equaling more than 5.3 million barrels. Kentucky may be known for its horses and bourbon, but we have a lot more to offer including steamboats, baseball bats, art, museums, and a great culinary arts scene.

Here is a list of things to check out while you are here in our great city of Louisville.  Many of these destinations are within close proximity to the conference hotel, but a few are a short cab ride away. We hope you enjoy!

Horses, steamboats, bridges and more!

Museum Row on Main


Bourbon Tourism (all in downtown Louisville)

Other cool places to check out!

**Lucky for us, the FAT Friday Frankfort Avenue Trolley hop is happening March 31, 2017!!!**

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Shopping and dining in Louisville!

The local planning committee has compiled some local shopping and eating/drinking spots for you that are near to or accessible from the Conference Hotel [Louisville Marriott Downtown].

Here is a link to several handy maps of downtown courtesy of the City of Louisville including: parking, transportation, attractions, restaurants, and more!


For any items you may have forgotten to pack there is a CVS Pharmacy about a 6 minute walk from the conference hotel.

  • CVS Pharmacy, located at 501 S 4th Street
  • Baders Food Mart, convenience store, located at 300 S. 1st Street


  • Heine Brothers’ Coffee, 462 S. 4th Street
  • Sunergos Coffee, 231 S. 5th Street
  • Starbucks, 101 S. 5th Street & 500 S. 4th Street (in The Seelbach Hilton)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, 312 S. 4th Street
  • Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants and Bars

For you foodies out there, Louisville is just the place for you, with everything from pub grub to Five Diamond dining, with a wide variety to suite your palate.  Restaurants closets to the conference hotel: Gordon Biersch, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and Smashburger on 4th Street.

The local planning committee members struggled to narrow down a list of fun/cool/comfortable restaurants and bars in Downtown Louisville near the Marriott!  Here are a FEW places we can recommend, but this list is far from comprehensive and this doesn’t even touch on all the great food options around the city.

  • Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar, spacious eatery (housed in a renovated old building) serving BBQ, oysters & other Southern classics. (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
  • Dish on Market, substantial breakfasts & burgers, plus bourbon & happy hours, are on offer at this quirky diner. (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
  • Mussel & Burger Bar, go to destination for creative burgers, mussels, and beer.
  • Down One Bourbon Bar, casual setting for modern twists on American pub grub plus lots of bourbon selections & cocktails (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
  • Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, casual Mexican food, such as tacos, burritos & vegetarian specials, in a spacious, festive spot.
  • Impellizzeri’s Pizza, local pizzeria in a relaxing setting serving pies, pasta, and subs with beer and wine options.
  • Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, upscale steakhouse with ritzy digs & notable seafood options. Includes a sushi & raw bar.
  • Safier Mediterranean Deli, busy spot for Middle Eastern & Indiana lunch & early evening eats, including many vegetarian options.
  • Milkwood Restaurant, Iconic chef Edward Lee merges Southern food with Asian ingredients at this sleek venue, with a bar.
  • Proof on Main, contemporary artwork & locally sourced Southern fare distinguished this airy, 21c Museum Hotel eatery. Great place for cocktails as you work your way through the Urban Bourbon Trail. (Urban Bourbon Trail location)


  • Bluegrass Brewing Company, laid-back microbrewery offering housemade beers, pub grub & outdoor seating. Where beer is food.
  • Troll Pub Under the Bridge a unique, underground dining experience that is located in one of the historic Whiskey Row buildings at the corner of Second and Washington streets. The menu consists of classic pub favorites such as burgers, sandwiches and delicious appetizers. (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
  • The Haymarket Whiskey Bar a great place to imbibe, enjoy a band or play vintage pinball. The Haymarket is the only “dive bar” in downtown Louisville to feature more than 75 bourbons, 100 whiskeys, 50 craft beers and a full menu of signature house cocktails. (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
  • Brown Hotel Lobby Bar, it’s easy to let your imagination take you back to another era as you sip an Old Fashioned in the lavish lobby bar of the Brown Hotel, which Southern Living described as “straight from a 1930s movie set.” The English Grill is their Four Diamond restaurant, very expensive, but the lobby bar is great place to drink an affordable cocktail in style! (Urban Bourbon Trail location)
    *FUN FACT: The Brown Hotel invented the Kentucky Hot Brown, a Louisville’s culinary Legend!*
  • The Old Seelbach Bar opened in 1905, the Seelbach Hotel has hosted gangsters, politicians, and celebrities for generations. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Seelbach’s gilded-era luxury served as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for The Great Gatsby, and the hotel’s Oakroom restaurant was a favorite hangout of Al Capone.
  • Against the Grain Brewery, BBQ & beer made on-site are in the lineup at this industrial brewpub at Louisville Slugger Field. Great spot for brunch with a killer Bloody Mary bar.
  • 4th Street Live! Is a 350,000-square-foot entertainment and retail complex located at 4th Street between Liberty and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. If you want to get your groove on check it out after hours.
  • More information on Lousville’s Urban Bourbon Trail

NuLu (New Louisville neighborhood)

This neighborhood is best known for its art galleries, specialty stores, antique shops, and growing number of local restaurants.  The term “NuLu” is a portmanteau meaning “New Louisville” As home to the greenest commercial building in Kentucky, many historic restoration projects, as well as several restaurants offering organic and locally sourced ingredients, NuLu has emerged with culture of sustainability. About a 25-minute walk or a 5-minute cab ride, definitely worth the trip.

Some favorites include:

  • Harvest, a “locally grown” restaurant serving season “farm-to-table cuisine. 80% of their ingredients are sources from within a 100-mile radius and are baked, cured smoked and preserved in-house (they are also on the Urban Bourbon Trail!)
  • Mayan Café, a small comfortable spot serving unique farm-to-table Mexican & Pan-Latin eats, with an outdoor eating area too.
  • Muth’s Candy, established in 1921, Muth’s has spent the past four generations hand making & hand dipping the finest candies including; Modjeskas, Kentucky Bourbons, Caramels, Brittles & Assorted Boxed Chocolates.
  • Garage Bar, hip bar/eatery located in NULU which resides in a former service station featuring a brick-oven pizza pies and southern chow made with local ingredients, with a huge outdoor patio. Great spot for cocktails and/or brunch.
  • The Green Building, the greenest commercial building in Kentucky
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