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$39K grant allows historical society to digitize, reshelve 1,352 objects

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The Arlington Historical Society has been awarded $39,236 from the Institute of Museum & Library Services' “Inspire! Grants for Small Museums” to digitize and rehouse 1,352 objects in its collection. The effort includes complete removal, inventory, installation and rehousing of high-density rolling shelving. 

This project is a small subset of its collection of 17,976 local-history materials. The 1,352 objects consist of mainly material culture objects that are all in one of three small collections storage rooms. These objects are the most at risk for potential collections-management issues related to substandard storage furniture, crowded conditions and minimal cataloging. This winter the society will undertake a complete rehousing and associated inventory and digitization of these objects that have not been adequately documented in its modern database. 

The current collection room.The current collection room.

Steps to take

Planned activities consist of complete removal of all objects in the room, installing high-density rolling storage units, record updates and photography, and rehousing with accurate location details.

The aim is a completely reorganized, well-stored and well-documented collection.

Updated records will be exported to the web as part of the society's online database. It will also help further interpretive efforts by permitting increased access for educators, researchers and the public.

As a small organization with a limited budget, this small investment will have a large institutional impact and allow the society to determine how to undertake future projects in the collection. It will help to better manage the collection internally and better interpret it to the public, allowing the society to broaden its audience and support. 

"As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said Crosby Kemper, director of the Institute of Museum & Library Services, in an Oct. 14 news release. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. It advances, supports and empowers America’s museums, libraries and related organizations through grantmaking, research and policy development.

Its vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. 

This news announcement was published Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.

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