W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Archives (Museum) => Topic started by: Ed Lecuyer on December 13, 2008, 05:33:51 PM

Title: Archives
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on December 13, 2008, 05:33:51 PM
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Mike Fox wrote:
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I have been doing research for a book that our museum is going to reprint. I have been to 2 different locations. And that got me thinking. I know the museum has a bunch of historic documents and pictures. What I don't know is where they are. I think I know but am not sure. Another project that I think should be added to the list is building an archival room/vault. At the museum. It should be fireproof and as climate controlled as possible. Bridgton Historical Society has a real nice one that stores everything of importance they have. MNGRR has just a room but everything is there none the less.
My concern with the archives is from this. Phillips had some archives that were stored in someones house. Something happened to that person and the things he/she had were sold. Luckily the MNGRR was able to get ahold of most of it. If not, all that there was could have been lost.
Anybody else thinking this way?
Mike

Josh Botting replied:
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While we are at it, we should scan things which can be scaned, & or take digital photographs, just incase either something happens, or documents are overcome by age.

Steve Zuppa replied:
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Mike and Josh,
Section 11 of the long range plan (accessable from the WW&F website) addresses the issue of archive storage. Be assured that this subject is very much discussed at board meetings and  that board members and archives committee members are aware of the importance of this topic.
Steve
_________________
"Keep to the code!"
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Josh Botting replied:
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Thanks Steve

Mike Fox replied:
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Thank you Steve. I never think of it when I am around someone to ask.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Steve,  Thanks for the post.  Yes, the Long Range Plan does a great job of outlining the objectives of archival storage.  As a member of the Archive Committee I will say that we have discussed all these issues in our meetings over the last few years.  The two biggest problems are funds and storage location.  We have gotten funding for a number of things, one such is a set of archival grade sleeves for storage of our paper items.  We have also made hard copies and some scanned and or digital photo images of the items.  We are also working on a system of inventory numbers to be assigned to each piece.  A data base will be built using the number as a guide to easily look up certain items.  A spread sheet with maps, photographs, broadsides, etc. would be very useful in research.  It also gives us better control of what we have.  Secure storage is also at the top of the list.   The problem is the expense of storing a collection the size of ours in a climate controlled environment.

The committee has a long wish list but must work with what we have.  There are many good uses for museum funds and we know that they must be shared in order to complete the many projects on the books.

James Patten replied:
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I think the climate controlled environment is the key, and that is not a cheap nor short-term fix, unless we were to find a place with such willing to store our archival material until we had a place ready.  But then we'd be at the mercy of their business hours.

I would encourage the Archival Committee to submit a budget every year.  As you know the Long Range Plan suggested doing this - but without prompting from the committee the creators of the budgets may forget.

MikeW replied:
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Stewart -

I would suggest building it as an on-line database.  That way anyone could search the database from whereever they are.  Over the past two years I have been (slowly) working on a database of two foot equipment.  It has SQL Server for the back end with CGI applications for the front end to provide the search and list tools (http://www.mainetwofooters.info (http://www.mainetwofooters.info)).  I would be willing to help set up something like this for the musem.

Steam replied:
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Is there a Wiscasset Historical Society?

If so, is there a possibility of joining with them to secure an environmentally acceptable storage facility? At least until you get facilities of your own.  It would also give legitimacy to the Museum with the local historical community.  Just a thought?

Richard Symmes
Curator, Walker Transportation Collection
Beverly (Mass.) Historical Society & Museum

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike,  On-line access to the Archives is on the list of things we'd like in the future.  This is something that would benefit our members and students of WW&F history.  Our web site would have a link to an Archives Page.  From there one could go to various types of information.  James could tell you better - but I would think the Museum Archives would be in it's own server.  An ideal setting would be where people can view items, send email questions or requests and a member of the Committee would answer via return message.  Once we have a real museum/library setting, appointments could be made for visitors to view items in person.

D ick, I don't know of a Wiscasset Hist. Soc. but will try and find out this weekend if I get to Wiscasset for the Memorial Service.

Mike Fox replied:
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That would be a nice way to derfer the cost for something like this. Looking on the Web, there is no listing of a Wiscasset Historical Society. This was going through the Maine Archives and Museums site. It doesn't mean one doesn't exist, it is just not listed.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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I don't know of a Wisc. Historical Society, but there is a Lincoln County Historical Society.  I believe Wiscasset does have several organizations, such as the one running the Old Jail.

I don't know much about on-line databases, never really having tried to get one going.  But that doesn't mean I can't learn.  GWI (our host) may have database capabilities.

Steam replied:
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I note there's a "Lincoln County Historical Association" in Wiscasset.  The old jail is one of their properties.  You might explore a (temporary?) tie-in with their group.

Richard W. Symmes

ekmissal replied:
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Hi,
There is a Wiscasset Historical Society. They are located in the Wiscasset Public Library. I don't believe that they have any kind of archival storage facility. I was searching for some information there once. They just have documents stored in folders.
Erik

Steam replied:
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Does the Wiscasset Public Library have a "room" where the Museum could have a display or small archival area set aside at least temporarily?  In that way the material would be available for research/viewing, and it would be a way to publicize the Museum to those who might not necessarily know anything about it.  I have no idea how large a facility the WPL is, but I know here in Beverly, there is a room set aside in the Public Library for "Beverly" related historic artifacts and documents. The room is locked and anyone using the collection does so under staff supervision.  You might explore such an option with the folks at the Wiscasset library.  At least it would give you a safe, secure home for the museum's growing artifacts collection for a few years, until you create a place of your own on site.

Richard Symmes

James Patten replied:
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For the next month or so there are Sunday afternoon talks in Wiscasset, put on by Lincoln Cty Historical Assoc. (at least I think it's them).  I'll try to get off my keister and get to one of these so that I can get a contact and ask about storage.