BECKET, Mass. — Jacob’s Pillow, the oldest dance festival in the United States and always eclectic and international in taste, began in the early 1940s. But its founding director, Ted Shawn, had been here since 1931, and when he died in 1972, still at the helm, he left the festival with archival materials that went back to his own early days in dance.
This year, the 20th anniversary of public access to the archives, Blake’s Barn, the building that houses them, has been greatly expanded as a result of a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a state development agency, as well as gifts from individual donors. The Reading Room is three times its former size, with more storage and exhibition space, and there are video editing facilities downstairs. The archives now bear the name of Norton Owen, who has overseen the collection since 1990.