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Spring Things

May 4, 2012

By Connie Bodner, IMLS Senior Program Officer

Ahh, spring! Most of us like it—except for the blinding, airway-obstructing tree pollen, of course. Poets write wonderfully evocative descriptions of it. Gardeners try to coax life from seeds even when they know it’s too early. Newborn lambs with their big eyes and wobbly legs appeal to the nurturers among us. (If you click on the “gardeners” and “newborn lambs” links above, you’ll learn more two IMLS-funded organizations.) In these and other ways, we’re rewarded for making it through the winter.

I also like spring because that’s when Heritage Preservation announces the list of Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) participants.  Funded by IMLS, CAP helps small and mid-sized museums focus attention on the general condition of their collections and on the environments in which they’re stored and exhibited. When there’s an historic building involved, it also gets a close look. CAP means renewal too.

This year we’re able to help 97 institutions. In each case, collections care professionals selected by the institution will spend time with staff, carry out their assessments, and then create a report identifying prioritized recommendations that can serve as a collections-care teaching tool and a roadmap for planning and for raising funds.

Like all good things, CAP is the work of many hands. Sara Gonzales does a wonderful job coordinating the program at Heritage Preservation. Her passion for museums and strong commitment to service are key to CAP’s success. Essential too are the dozens of CAP assessors who are the “boots on the ground.” They are steadfast in their dedication to ensuring that museum collections are preserved and available for future generations to use, enjoy, and share.

Because we know what good things have resulted from projects we’ve supported in the past, we’re excited about what’s in store this year, starting with these:

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (California)

Essex Historical Society (Connecticut)

Museum of Chinese in America (New York)

Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery (Pennsylvania)

Belau National Museum (Republic of Palau)

Museums of Tusculum College (Tennessee)

Watch this space for more news of these and other CAP participants this year. And happy spring!

Collection storage at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum before participating in CAP in 2004

Collection storage at General Lew Wallace Study and Museum after CAP

Conservation Assessment Program