In Thursday’s (4/18) Wall Street Journal, Joanne Kaufman writes, “Sometimes when he wants a little break Gino Francesconi leaves his office at Seventh Avenue and 57th Street and strolls outside to watch the tourists. ‘I’ll see two people walking together and one will notify the other “that’s Carnegie Hall,” ’ said Mr. Francesconi, his face lighting with pleasure. ‘If the moment is right, I’ll say “do you want to come inside and see it?” ‘ … No one could be better at such a show-and-tell than Mr. Francesconi, 59, the venerable hall’s first and only archivist and director of its Rose Museum. Hired in 1986 to gather memorabilia for Carnegie’s 1991 centennial, he stayed on after the festivities, first as a solo act, then as head of a four-person department. And now the boyishly enthusiastic Mr. Francesconi has a new challenge: orchestrating the preservation and digitization of the 300,000 programs, fliers, ticket stubs, photographs, letters, albums, scrapbooks and recordings that have been amassed from 50,000 events in Carnegie’s three concert spaces. … Benny Goodman’s daughters donated Dad’s clarinet. It occupies a place of honor in the 1,200-square-foot Rose Museum on the hall’s second floor, not far from [vocalist Ella] Fitzgerald’s spectacles, the trowel used to lay Carnegie’s cornerstone and—most precious—a ticket from the opening-night concert, May 5, 1891. ‘I was on a quest to get that for 20 years. I finally found it,’ said Mr. Francesconi.”

Posted April 18, 2013