Museums get federal grants for preservation projects
A few dollars will go a long way in the preservation efforts of the Nevada State Library & Archives, the Nevada State Museum and the Carson Valley Historical Society.
Each was awarded grants of about $5,000 last week from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The archive and the Carson Valley museums will use the grant money for supplies to better preserve their collections. The state museum will bring in a conservator to educate staff and volunteers on how to better store the museum’s collection.
These three organizations were among 14 educational and cultural institutions in Nevada to receive $92,250 from the Endowment’s Extending the Reach initiative. The program supplies funding for institutions that generally have been underserved by the NEH, spokesman Jim Turner said.
The Nevada State Library & Archives will get $4,800 to buy acid-free storage tubes, transparent Mylar sheets and special boxes to better store the archives’ 1,120 maps, 662 architectural drawings and 398 plans from the Works Progress Administration era.
Nearly all these items in Row 54 at the archives are now simply rolled around themselves and bound with rubber bands. Some rolls still maintain a circle but most leave an oval hole in the middle, essentially crushing the maps, said Jeff Kintop, the state archives manager.
“Tubes support maps so they won’t be crushed,” Kintop said.
Some maps will be stored inside tubes and archivists will wrap other maps around tubes. The first map of incorporated Carson City from 1875 is wrapped around an old carpet core.
Kintop said the carpet core actually works well but that map is flaking and cracking and needs conservation work. The grant money will come into play as archivists line the front and back of the Carson City map with Mylar polyester.
Many of the older maps, especially those whose rolls are oval in shape, will be run through a humidifier to restore moisture to the paper before they are rolled around a tube.
Kintop estimates it will take about nine months to get all the maps and plans properly restored and rolled once work starts, perhaps in September.
The Nevada State Museum will use its $3,866 grant to bring in conservator Victoria Montana Ryan from the Rocky Mountain Conservation Center in Denver.
“She will explain to staff and docents why plywood is not good for storage, why it matters what the temperature is in the building and why it’s nice to have a lunch room,” said Sue Ann Monteleone, the registrar in the museum’s history department.
Much of the museum’s collection is in storage and with Ryan’s help the museum wants to improve its storage methods, Monteleone said.
“Storage is where you can find space in these older buildings,” Monteleone said.
She said staff and volunteers from other regional museums, such as those in Carson Valley and Churchill County, will be invited to Ryan’s presentation in the first week of October.
The Carson Valley Historical Society will use its $4,976 grant for both its museums: the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center and the Genoa Courthouse Museum.
The society will buy environmental monitoring equipment such as a light meter and a hygrograph to measure the humidity in the museums. These were suggested to the society in 1997 by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, said Cecile J. Brown, the society’s curator of museums.
“We are striving to keep up with the industry and be as professional as we can be,” Brown said. “Our long-term goal is accreditation from the American Association of Museums.”
Grant money will also buy steel shelves and cabinets to house documents and also add earthquake edges to existing shelves to help prevent artifacts from sliding off shelves.
“Our collection is shelved or stacked or kind of lying about on open shelves,” Brown said. “Part of running a museum is knowing what you have. This grant will help in the organization of our material.”
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