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Benton County’s Storage Solution

August 9, 2013

Editor’s note: Oregon Heritage is now accepting applications for its next round of grants! To get your project ideas flowing, we’re featuring grant success stories from around the state.

By Mary Gallagher

Thrilled with the prospect of new compact shelving for the Benton County Historical Society’s (BCHS) Johnson Collection Center (the outcome of a very successful fund-raising campaign) museum staff quickly realized that the speedier-than-anticipated installation of shelving meant an inadequate supply budget for archival materials needed for re-housing artifacts. Unfortunately, the cost of additional archival materials, such as appropriate storage enclosures, supports and restraints, exceeded the annual conservation supply budget. Fortunately, a $5,000 Museum Grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission, part of Oregon Heritage, in 2012-13 provided monies to purchase these materials allowing the immediate housing of the most vulnerable collections.

Through a Museum Grant, the BCHS purchased supplies to hang framed art and photographs.

Through a Museum Grant, the BCHS purchased supplies to hang framed art and photographs.

Mary Gallagher, Collections Manager at BCHS, caring for a historic flag at BCHS.

Mary Gallagher, Collections Manager at BCHS, caring for a historic flag at BCHS.

Priorities included hanging framed art and photographs, rolling selected textiles, housing significant textiles in oversize drawers, re-housing significant costumes, and housing the armament collection in customized storage units. As the result of the grant monies and hours of volunteer labor provided by community members and a museum intern, unbleached muslin now lines large flat drawers where rare textiles are stored flat; significant costumes are stored flat in 5-foot long textile boxes with muslin slings; protective backer boards are installed on works of art protecting canvases as they hang on art panels; and large acid free cardboard tubes on which coverlets, quilts and rugs are rolled for roll storage units.

While the projected outcome of this project was long-term artifact preservation, the project has enhanced public access to the collection which is used for education, research and exhibition. Additionally, blog entries were added to the BCHS website detailing the project in order to share our activities with the public and other museums.

Thank you Oregon Heritage!

Mary Gallagher is the Collections Manager at the Benton County Historical Society

Check out the Museum Grant and other grants Oregon Heritage is offering at www.oregonheritage.org

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