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MentorCorps Success at the McLoughlin Memorial Association

March 18, 2015
The Holmes House

The Holmes House

Last year the McLoughlin Memorial Association (MMA) in Oregon City contacted the Heritage Commission about having a MentorCorps volunteer help the organization get a handle on its collections. Over a century ago, MMA organized to save the John McLoughlin House in Oregon City. Although the structure was turned over to the National Park Service in 2003, MMA provides financial support for the house, docents, programming related to McLouglin and his times, and tours at the nearby Holmes House—all with one part-time employee!  Dedicated board members and volunteers clearly believe in their mission, but needed some guidance to tackle collections care issues that had built up over the years. After site visits to both the Holmes House and the Barclay House, where the MMA’s papers are housed, MMA and their mentor crafted an action plan to address the most pressing needs of the organization—organized storage on the cheap at Barclay House and a collections inventory at Holmes House. MMA’s mentor developed a two-year, step-by-step plan of action for creating separate storage and research areas for the MMA papers and held trainings on basic archiving and how to conduct a collections inventory. Shortly after getting the two-year plan, the board president had acquired donated steel shelving and archival boxes, two main components of the plan, and made contact with the local archives program about getting an archives intern. While having a mentor did not mean all MMA’s collections issues magically disappeared, it helped the organization break the projects into doable steps and hopefully gave them the confidence to get its collections inventoried and safely housed.

Do you have a collections project that could use a mentor’s help?  Contact us at and we’ll hook you up with free expert advice!

– post by Sarah Cantor, Director of Archives at Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and one of our mentors.

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