Thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), 24 students at the Beloit College Logan Museum of Anthropology have been trained in how environmental conditions affect the storage of anthropological and archival materials. Students learned about how temperature, humidity, and pollutants in the air can affect collections in storage. IMLS provided a $3,000 grant to pay for an April 22 workshop on how environmental conditions affect the storage of collections.
The workshop was conducted by conservator Neil Cockerline, of the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was attended not only by Beloit College students, but also by professors and by Michael Brady, the college’s Physical Plant Director. Beloit College is installing heating, cooling, and ventilation devices in its anthropology research labs this summer, so the workshop was viewed as particularly apropos.
IMLS officials felt that it was important to support the training of students who are interested in caring for archival materials, as more and more communities in the U.S. are starting local museums, archives, and collections that require specialized care.
“Based on the number of applications that IMLS received and the impact that awardees from 2009 have begun to share, we feel that this program meets a critical need in the museum and library communities,” explained IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice in a May 26 article at WIFR.com. “Organizations are improving the stewardship of these significant artifacts and documents and involving their community in the process.”
The Monroe Library, at Loyola University New Orleans, also received a 2010 American Heritage Preservation Grant from IMLS. The Monroe Library will use its grant to pay for environmental monitoring equipment for its Special Collections and Archives areas.
The IMLS is the main federal source of funding for American libraries and museums. Grants like the one used for the Beloit College workshop, which was funded by the American Heritage Preservation Program, are intended for the use of smaller museums and local libraries who need help to preserve specific items that are in need of conservation.