A national organization is helping several area institutions preserve local history.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has given it’s "Connecting to Collections" bookshelf to four area institutions: the Crawford W. Long Museum in Jefferson, the Hall County Public Library, the Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site in Toccoa and North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega.
The bookshelf is a set of books, DVDs and other resources that are designed to help participants make the most of their historic collections and learn how to properly preserve and conserve the items.
"The bookshelf works on several different levels — there are so many good references. For instance, we are trying to establish more of a presence in the community, and there are resources in the bookshelf to help with that," said Cynthia Horne, North Georgia’s archives assistant.
"There are also resources for individuals who are trying to preserve their own personal collections. Say a person lives in a historic home; there is a book in the (IMLS) bookshelf that covers ways of cleaning that helps preserve the home’s historic integrity. "
The IMLS bookshelf is provided through a "cooperative agreement between the American Association for State and Local History and with support from the Getty Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
"We are in the process of getting our collections housed the way they need to be housed. We are cataloging our collections so that we can know what we have and preserve them to the best of our abilities. The bookshelf references will be a big help in that process," Horne said. "So far we have catalogs from the beginning of the college’s history dating back to the 1870s. We also have yearbooks and tons of pictures that we are still trying to work our way through and identify."
Past recipients have used the resources learn how to weather-proof collections and even improve management techniques.
"There is a wonderful book in the bookshelf about photo preservation that will be very beneficial to us," said Rhonda Sanders of the Hall County Library System. "We have a large collection of photographs and unidentified negatives that we want to be sure is preserved properly for years to come."
This is the third and final year of the program. This year, 907 museums, archives and libraries across the country received the bookshelf. Twenty-two of the recipients were in Georgia. Other Georgia beneficiaries include the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, both in Atlanta.