In 2016, the Peabody Museum received a generous grant of $100,000 from the Oak River Foundation of Peoria, Ill., to support work pertaining to the intellectual and physical control of the museum’s collections.
The grant was spread across two years and initially supported the work of an archivist to whip the Peabody’s 100+ years of archives into shape. With that funding, Irene Gates was able to share archival collection records online and process over 140 linear feet of material. She also created three finding aids to the material belonging to prominent directors of the Peabody’s past.
The second year of funding is designated to supporting the work of a temporary inventory specialist – Rachel Manning. Rachel will be spending her time inventorying drawers of artifacts and rehousing them into archival boxes as part of our larger collections storage project. While she only began her work in early August, Rachael has already been making steady progress.
And we are pleased to announce that the Oak River Foundation has stepped up again and provided additional funding for Irene to return and spend another year in the Peabody archives! This second year will facilitate processing the remaining 150 linear feet of material as well as addressing the photographic and map collections.
Our deepest appreciation goes to the Oak River Foundation for their continued generosity and support of the Peabody’s goal to improve the intellectual and physical control of the museum’s collections.
We hope this gift will inspire others to support our work to better catalog, document, and make accessible the Peabody’s world-class collections of objects, photographs and archival materials. If you would like information on how you can help please contact Peabody director Ryan Wheeler at email@example.com or 978 749 4493.
About six months in and the reboxing project is beginning to take off. With the help of students and volunteers, 52 drawers have been converted into 86 boxes. These first months have been spent ironing-out the kinks in the procedure and strategically identifying areas of the collection on which to focus.
The inventories produced from this project have already helped to identify areas of the collection for further attention and have made some objects available for education use.
My name is Samantha Hixson and I am the new collections assistant here at the Peabody. I come to you from New Mexico where the weather is warm and has left me completely unprepared for New England winters (although Marla and Lindsay promise that they’ll get me through it).
I have previously worked at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico as well as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. It’s these places that got me excited to work within museums, focusing specifically on Native American collections. So you can imagine how excited I was when I was hired to work at the Peabody, it’s the perfect job for me! I’ve also had some other very interesting archaeological/ethnographic experiences, but those are for other posts.
I’ve started getting my feet wet in a couple projects already (with the promise of a lot more to come) and am most excited about the re-housing of the collection as well the Adopt A Drawer program. I think it’s great that these collections are getting new homes and more personal interactions, however brief.
If you’re in the neighborhood of the museum, come stop by; I’d love to meet you!
As I began working this summer on the reboxing project, it immediately became apparent that the artifacts needed room to grow sooner rather than later. Moving the objects from the wooden drawers into the boxes revealed just how heavy some of those drawers were – some too heavy to be supported by the new archival boxes.
What I needed was solid temporary shelving to support these materials. Donnegan Systems, Inc. of Northboro, Massachusetts to the rescue! Donnegan Systems has been consulting with us periodically to reimagine collections storage once all the artifacts have been boxed. They saw our need and offered some spare shelving that was taking up space in their warehouse. Delivered and installed in a single morning, these shelves will facilitate faster progress with the reboxing project.
Fifteen-hundred custom archival boxes were delivered on Monday, July 25 to initiate the Peabody’s collections rehousing project. Unloading the truck and storing the boxes was hard work, but was an important first step toward completely rehousing and inventorying our large collection. The boxes were assembled to our specifications by Hollinger Metal Edge and are archival quality.
These boxes are made possible by a grant from the Abbot Academy Association, continuing Abbot’s tradition of boldness, innovation, and caring. They will be used to replace the old wooden drawers that have supported our collection for decades, and will provide protection and a long-term home for our artifacts.
A special ‘thank you’ goes out to Will Shahbazian and C. Woodrow Randall for their helping hands (and paws).