IMLS Grant to Improve Collections Storage

Maxwell Fortin, via Dr. Lovis

Maxwell Fortin, Photo by W. Lovis, used with permission

The Institute of Museum and Library Services Museums for America Program recently awarded $77, 292 of a total project budget of $151,296 to Co-PIs Dr. William Lovis and Lynne Swanson (Cultural Collections Manager at the MSU Museum) for a project titled  “Michigan State University Museum Archaeological Collections Stewardship Project: Compact Storage Upgrades to Cultural Collections Resource Center.” This programmatic and infrastructure improvement grant is designed to provide improved storage conditions and enhance the available storage space for archaeological collections housed at the Collections Resource Center at Central Services building adjacent to Spartan Stadium.  Compact storage technology, familiar to many through its use at libraries, can enhance space availability by an additional 1/3 to almost 50%, allowing proper curation of more collections in less space.  The compact storage units have already been installed, and many collections are already being moved into the renovated storage facility.

In tandem with the infrastructural improvements that accrue from compact storage, many of the archaeological collections are being brought up to contemporary museum curation standards by rehousing them in appropriate acid and chloride-free materials. This work is being undertaken by undergraduate anthropology students, both those supported by the grant and volunteers seeking hands on experience in museum collections management.

Maxwell Fortin (above) is a senior Anthropology undergraduate working on the project. He has been involved with rehousing the archaeological collections into proper archival boxes and bags for storage, as well as aiding in supervising the student volunteers. Maxwell states “I began helping with this process my freshman year as a volunteer and it has been very rewarding to see the project come into fruition as I graduate from MSU.” An Anthropology Department-supported graduate assistant supervises the activities.  It is hoped that by the end of Fall Semester 2014 that the majority of the rehousing will be completed, and that the collections will be in better and more accessible condition for use by researchers.

[Included in the Spring 2014 Dept. of Anthropology Newsletter, see complete newsletter here]