Preserving Oregon’s collections: three years later
by Kyle Jansson, project director
Three years can make a noticeable difference for heritage collections. That difference will grow even larger in the years to come.
In early 2013, the Oregon Heritage Commission, on behalf of a half-dozen statewide and regional partners, received a Connecting to Collections grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to improve collections care and disaster preparedness.
Since then, more than 160 organizations have received training and mentoring in collections care and mentoring. While many are primarily museums, libraries and archives, assistance has also been given to a theatre, a Lions Club, an orchestra, a tour organization and more. Multiple ethnic organizations have participated.
Sixty organizations have engaged with members of the Oregon Heritage MentorCorps that was initiated with grant funds. We are indebted to the initial cadre of volunteer mentors, and will be supplementing them with a newer crew in 2016 to help meet the stronger than expected demand for help from organizations.
Our Mindyourcollections website developed primarily by Oregonians provides assistance to everyone 24/7.
Quantitative and qualitative responses in a recent survey of workshop participants were positive about the project.
When the Oregon Museums Association, the Northwest Archivists, the Oregon Libraries Association, the Oregon State Library, the Oregon State Archives, the Oregon Historical Society, and Tamástslikt Cultural Institute helped plan the IMLS application, a fundamental element of the discussions was making sure this collections effort continued after the grant was completed.
That’s why we will be offering more collections care and disaster preparedness trainings this spring and summer, as well as bringing some new mentors onboard to help organizations solve their own specific challenges. Stay tuned for more details.
Kyle Jansson is the project director of the Oregon Connecting to Collections grant. He is the coordinator of the Oregon Heritage Commission.