January 27, 2009
The University of Maine at Fort Kent's Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes today formally accepted the "Dr. Marc Chassé Collection," a compilation of videotapes which capture the history, culture, people and events of the St. John Valley during the past 25 years.
Dr. Chassé officially turned over copies of 150 individual videotapes during a news conference and ceremony held at the Acadian Archives this morning. A screening of "highlights" from among Dr. Chassé's collection was shown as part of the event.
The videotape interviews and videotaping all were conducted by Dr. Chassé himself between 1983 and 2008. The tapes cover subjects ranging from interviews with governors, veterans, artists, authors, historians and educators; parades; the Can-Am Crown Sled Dog races; the annual Fort Kent Lions "Pride of the Lions" show; and the World Cup Biathlon, among many others.
"The Acadian Archives was established at UMFK in 1990 to preserve and share the marvelous history of the St. John Valley. This mission draws upon a variety of technologies, special events, and educational programming," said UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost.
"Through video tapes, Dr. Marc Chasse's wonderful collection of interviews with the people of this valley and of celebratory events important to us, he has captured the essence of the very special people who are the heart and soul of this extraordinary international community. In years to come, this collection at UMFK will be an essential component of understanding the Valley and its culture," Dr. Cost noted.
The Acadian Archives staff had previously converted all of the tapes from analog to digital format, and also had copied the tapes to DVD discs in order to preserve their audio and video integrity.
The Educational Resource Development Committee of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council bought archival DVDs and cases so that all public libraries and community access television channels in the St. John Valley would receive a copy of Dr. Chassé's collection. The Acadian Archives, after converting the video collection from VHS to digital DVD, made copies for each institution.
"In capturing the people, places, and events of the Upper St John Valley area, Dr. Chassé has immortalized our culture," said Lise Pelletier, director of the Archives. "Our language, history, sense of humor, the way we celebrate ourselves and our surroundings are all interwoven in his collection. His is a most precious gift not only to us, but to future generations," she added.
The Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes at UMFK document, preserve, celebrate and disseminate information about the Upper Saint John Valley, a 70-mile stretch of the St. John River running between the U.S. and Canada. In pursuing its mandate of cultural conservation, the Archives focus particular attention on the Acadian and Franco-American history and culture.
Editor's Note: A complete, alphabetized listing of Dr. Chassé's donated videotape collection is available here.