Our 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference was held March 31st to April 2nd at Pipestem Resort State Park.
This conference was held in response to the 2016 devastating flood that affected 44 counties in West Virginia which reminded us that we must be ever-vigilant in preparing for the unexpected within our collections and sites. Emergencies that endanger our sites and collections can strike at any time and being prepared for those unexpected events can make all the difference.
Disaster Planning 101
Presenters: Jane LaBarbara, Assistant Curator for Archives and Manuscripts in the West Virginia and Regional History Center at WVU Libraries; Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at West Virginia University Libraries
In light of the recent devastating floods in southern West Virginia, it is imperative that museums be prepared for the unthinkable. In this session, two members of WVU Libraries’ West Virginia and Regional History Center shared information on developing a formal disaster preparedness plan. They discussed their motivations for developing a plan for their unit, the resources they used, challenges, and tips.
We Have to Pack What? Things to Consider When Moving Your Collections
Presented by Edward Pride IV, AmeriCorps at Waldomore; Catherine Clevenger, Waldomore Manager
Whether for renovation, cleaning, exhibits, or part of your emergency preparedness plan, the process of moving collections is a task that every museum and archive faces. Having recently finished an extensive renovation and move of their own, Waldomore staff share their insights and thoughts with fellow institutions. Topics covered include planning, funding, and troubleshooting.
Materials Handling 101: Learning the Basics
Presenters: Crystal Wimer, Harrison County Historical Society; Edward Pride IV, AmeriCorps at Waldomore
The safe handling of collections is a core principle of every museum and archive. Without basic techniques, one endangers the safety and integrity of your collections and institution. Practicing appropriate handling guarantees the longevity of your collections and illustrates your commitment to your mission and community. In this workshop, presenters will provide instruction and review of basic handling techniques for paper, ceramics, textiles, and artifacts of all types.
Tough As (Clean and Well-Kept) Nails: Basic Preservation of Delicate Metal Artifacts
Presenter: Samantha Hartford, AmeriCorps at Jackson’s Mill
Though we tend to think of metals as some of the strongest or most durable materials in our world, the truth is many metals—especially iron—are extremely susceptible to corrosion and need just as much care and attention as any other artifact. In this session, participants discussed the reasons for degradation in metals and walked through proper methods of cleaning and caring for them, as well as a look at preventative measures and the optimal conditions for keeping metal artifacts safe. This session focused on a collection of iron artifacts (given their ubiquity as cooking implements and tools).
The Pearl S. Buck Manuscript Collection
Presenter: Kirk Judd, Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation
This session will explain how the extensive collection of original manuscripts of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author and West Virginia native Pearl S. Buck came to be owned by the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation. It will include a discussion of the current status of the collection and a brief history of the birthplace and foundation.
Strategies for Implementing Best Practices in County Records Management
Presenters: Nora Sutton, Graduate Assistant from West Virginia University; Kyle Rothemich, Graduate Assistant from West Virginia University; Alee Robins, Records Manager at the Monongalia County Clerk’s Office
As the only county in West Virginia with a designated Records Manager, the Monongalia County Clerk’s Office is spearheading efforts to implement archival best practices. To bridge the gap between their desire for archival practices and the public’s need for access, the County Clerk’s Office, through a partnership with WVU, is implementing a long-term comprehensive records management plan. The plan includes the indexing, digitization, and conservation of documents and an overhaul of their storage system. As they enter our fourth year, significant progress has been made and the public response has been overwhelmingly positive, but they have encountered numerous challenges that many museums can relate to. Presenters share with the museum community their strategies for professionalizing collections management in a dynamic environment, with the hope that museum professionals will share their own experiences in order to build on each other’s successes.