Estes Park Museum Hosts Emporia State University Students To Assist With Heritage Preservation Project
During the week of September 13-18, the Estes Park Museum hosted eight graduate students from Emporia State University in Kansas to assist with a conservation project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds allowed for the acquisition of a flat file case and archival supplies to alleviate overcrowding in the Museum’s map, oversize photograph and paper collections. The collections cover a broad period dating from Estes Park’s early settlement in the 1880s, through the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915, to important commercial developments of the late 20th century. The independent study students, coordinated by Dr. Nancy Thomas, provided in-kind matching support for the project. They worked all week to allow for more efficient and safer access to these materials for researchers, and greater use at less risk for exhibits, publications, programs and related activities.
The Museum received the grant in February for $2,255 from the IMLS American Heritage Preservation Program, which awards funding “to preserve treasures that convey the essential character and experience of the United States.” American Heritage Preservation Program grants are used by small museums, libraries and archives to help care for and preserve specific items, including works of art, artifacts and historical documents. After the cabinet was received, it was a big task to re-house and inventory some 400 oversized archival materials.
The graduate Library Studies students gained valuable experience working with the collection, and the Museum is grateful for their help in assisting with it. “The project went even better than planned,” said Derek Fortini, Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Estes Park Museum. “With the students’ help, we were able to expand our current [archival] storage, re-house every [oversized archival] item and inventory them into the collections database. In the end, we now have a better means to care for our collection, and the process exposed the students to real-life archival practices. We couldn’t have done it without this capable group of students.”
The students’ participation was an outgrowth of the “Archives in the Park” program between Rocky Mountain National Park and Emporia State University which began in 1998. The program was revamped this year with independent study students. While the primary focus was the Estes Park Museum’s re-housing project, other participants in this year’s session included the Public Library and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Derek Fortini will offer a special program called Care of Photographs at the Estes Park Museum: An American Heritage Preservation Project on November 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Museum. Participants will gain a behind-the-scenes perspective on collections care at the Museum. Fortini will discuss the new collections storage project funded by IMLS and what it took to re-house over four hundred objects. This program is free and open to the public. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.
The mission of the Estes Park Museum, a department of the Town of Estes Park, is to collect, interpret and preserve local history, as well as to present exhibits, programs and events, for the education and benefit of residents and visitors of all ages. For more information call the Estes Park Museum at 586-6256 or visit the Museum’s website at www.estes.org/Museum. The Museum is located at 200 4th Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through the end of October. In November the Museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. through the month of April. Admission is always free.