Publication Date

January 2008


It’s unlikely that many of the more than one million visitors who experience The NEW World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta every year know that a small team of archivists helped bring the museum to life. Selecting historical materials to display and verifying the accuracy of exhibits are just two of the tasks faced by Coke archivists. In a high-order challenge, the small archives team—just six people, including two from the communications/ clerical staff—based at the company’s corporate headquarters across from Georgia Institute of Technology is charged with guardianship of Robert W. Woodruff’s image of the 123-year-old company. Woodruff, longtime chief executive of the soft drink company, insisted above all that no employee allow his company’s good name to be sensationalized, trivialized, or appropriated for uses that would place Coke in a negative light. Working closely with advertising and marketing teams, Coke archivists seek to put a positive face on their company by using historical artifacts in ways that will bolster the company’s profits. This article describes how Coke’s archives department works and how it presents an image that would make Woodruff proud.



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