PRESERVING HISTORY: ACCESSIONING UNCOVERED

ac•ces•sion
verb
to record the addition of (a new item) to a library, museum, or other collection

It’s no coincidence that the Museum’s collection offices and storage room are right below the permanent exhibition; the curatorial process is the backbone and foundation of the entire Museum experience. This process includes accepting hundreds of objects each year which must be carefully cataloged and preserved.  Here is a behind-the-scenes view of how that happens.

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All new objects donated to the Museum first go to the Museum’s storage facility. Optimal preservation temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity.  Gauges all over the Museum measure temperature and humidity levels every 15 minutes to ensure these conditions are maintained. Most objects are kept in the dark because light contributes to decay.

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Objects are stored in different ways depending on their size, age, and condition. The majority of artifacts we receive are photographs and documents. They are sorted by the date donated to the Museum and wrapped individually in plastic sleeves.  They are then put in a larger folder with dozens of other documents and photographs and stored in archival file boxes on shelves.
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All three-dimensional objects in the collection have their own type of housing. Objects of Judaica and personal items are placed individually in boxes and placed on shelving. Articles of clothing and uniforms are each placed on a hanger and put into the storage room wardrobe. Paintings hang on painting racks and on the walls in the storage room.  Such care is taken because it is important to limit object movement. Items that can be seen easily on the racks and walls help protect them for the future. Photographs attached to storage boxes limit the need to handle and open them.

­Objects in the Museum’s exhibitions are treated with similar care. Lighting is arranged to minimize artifact damage while maximizing visibility.  Nonetheless, items are periodically rotated out of the exhibitions and brought to storage to “rest”.

For research or study of objects in the stored collection, please contact Emily Mohney, collections manager, at artifacts@ilhmec.org.

 

FACILITY RENTAL

 
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