Sherman County Historical Society and Museum
Open Daily 10 until 5 May through October

News Release. July 29, 2009
One of the Best Volunteer Assignments

Sherman County Historical Museum
Contact: Sherry Kaseberg, Director, 442-5514

www.shermanmuseum.org


It just might be one of the best volunteer assignments – managing the collections in the museum archives!
 
In 2005, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections was the first comprehensive assessment of the condition and preservation needs of U.S. collections.
 
Four recommendations were issued with this report: (1) Institutions (museums, libraries) must give priority to providing safe conditions for the collections they hold in the public trust. (2) Every collecting institution must develop an emergency plan to protect its collections and train staff to carry it out. (3) Every institution must assign responsibility for caring for collections to members of its staff. (4) Individuals at all levels of government and in the private sector must assume responsibility for providing the support that will allow these collections to survive.  
 
Applying these to the local scene, the Sherman County Historical Museum secured Oregon Heritage Commission grant funds to improve the care and management of its collections. Volunteers working behind the scenes used these funds to purchase materials and labor to construct a rack for the quilts in the collection. The woolens and quilts in storage were cycled through the new freezer purchased for pest control purposes. Dozens of acid free boxes for artifact storage, steel shelving and shelving liner greatly improved the storage and preservation of artifacts.
 
The donation of floor covering for storage spaces required packing and moving hundreds of artifacts, in and out! The end result is a clean, climate-controlled environment, improved organization and more easily retrievable artifacts, estimated to be 20% of the collection.
 
New filing cabinets expanded capacity for storage of documentary evidence, the paper artifacts. Acid-free photo and document sleeves and acid-free glass slide boxes are essential to the preservation of these artifacts. Volunteers working in this “white cotton glove” environment find interesting just what papers people have preserved: greeting cards, checks, bills, programs, booklets, receipts, invitations, diaries, journals, scrapbooks and letters.
 
Opportunities for managing the artifact storage and document and photograph collections are open for interested volunteers. For more information, contact the Sherman County Historical Museum at 565-3232 or info@shermanmuseum.org.




 

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