Community Partnership Projects (formerly Angels Projects) are typically arranged in conjunction with our annual meeting. Below are past projects.
2019 RE-ORG/C2C Care Webinar and Angels Project Pilot
New London Maritime Society, Connecticut
Forging ahead on a precisely charted course, 22 volunteers brought their creative energy to the 2019 “RE-ORG Angels” project at the Customs House Museum of the New London Maritime Society in New London, Connecticut. Held in conjunction with FAIC’s Connecting to Collections Care (C2C Care) online course, “Planning a RE-ORG Project,” about half of the participants were active online students. As the first RE-ORG activity to be organized in the US, this project added to the list of 144 institutions in more than 30 countries that have accomplished a RE-ORG project to date. Organized and facilitated by Simon Lambert, Rachel Perkins-Arenstein, Lisa Goldberg, and Elizabeth Morse, four teams transformed a storage room in the course of a single day.
Every RE-ORG project involves four phases: getting started, documenting current conditions, defining an action plan, and implementation. The facilitators worked with Susan Tamulevich, Director of the Custom House Museum, to prepare for Phase 4 in the months prior to the onsite project, using the C2C Care webinar as a platform for planning.
Armed with the directive “Don’t let ‘museum-standard’ limit your creativity as long as it’s safe for collections,” a few basic supplies (coroplast, archival boxes, Ethafoam, Tyvek, tissue, and twill tape), and sets of small tools organized at each workstation, the teams removed everything from the storeroom and replaced everything in a new configuration, as well as identified storage solutions for items that would not be placed on shelves. For example, volunteers created a tall wooden box lined with an internal Coroplast egg crate to furnish support for long, thin objects such as walking sticks and umbrellas. An existing, wooden flat file flipped on its side and lined with Coroplast now provides efficient vertical painting storage.
The RE-ORG Method stresses the importance of adaptability and flexibility. A seemingly never-ending stream of textiles emerged as the storage room was emptied – more than could fit in the boxes available, so the textile conservators changed strategies and figured out how to maximize available space. Similarly, when rehousing the rolled paper maps took much longer than expected, more volunteers were re-assigned to help this team. Morse said, “We had some synergy with the map wrapping project…. You think it should be done one way and then useful comments and input improved the process, streamlined it, and allowed us to cross the finish line!”
By the end of the day, teams checked off every item on the task charts. Tamulevich observed, “…what you have accomplished here was unimaginable to me….” She added that she valued the deep level of conservation expertise and care that everyone gave to the Custom House collection. What has changed as a result of the RE-ORG activity? Tamulevich spoke optimistically about making objects discoverable and using them to illustrate the community’s maritime connections. This project’s success honored Tamulevich’s willingness to allow the planning process to unfold as a pilot project on an online platform, and to let this group of volunteers completely re-configure and re-organize her collections storage room.
Interested in RE-ORG?
2018 Angels Project
PRINTING MUSEUM, HOUSTON
Following the AIC Annual Meeting in Houston, a group of volunteers forwent a Sunday swim in the Texas-shaped lazy river at the conference hotel, braved the Houston humidity, and headed to the Printing Museum to participate in an Angels Project. As their mission phrases it, the Printing Museum, Houston, “demonstrates the enduring impact of the printing by exploring the intersections of the history, art, and technology of the craft.” The museum’s collections include historic documents, books, presses, and other printing equipment, as well as studio spaces for printers, an artist-in-residence, and two operational presses within gallery spaces that are used to demonstrate printing techniques for visitors. The museum only recently reopened following a devastating fire in May of 2016. Volunteers had the fantastic opportunity to explore the museum and help with cataloguing, photographing, and condition-checking newspapers with historically significant headlines and an assortment of other printed materials. The items dated from the 1700s to the early 2000s and included local, national, and international printed materials. Staff members at the Printing Museum were well prepared for our visit, and we set up two documentation stations to streamline the cataloguing, photography, and examinations processes. Separately, some volunteers took a look at the two presses used for visitor demonstrations: one a 1999 replica of a Gutenberg press (made by Pratt Wagon Works in Utah), and the other a 19th-century cast iron, Washington Style, Columbian Press. Without conservators on staff, the day presented a great opportunity for the Printing Museum to have discussions about conservation priorities, building and press maintenance, and other topics related to collections care. Overall, the project was a wonderful opportunity to make new acquaintances and gather as conservation professionals to lend a hand to a local Houston gem.
—Excerpt from AIC News, Vol. 43:4, 8-9, by Riley Cruttenden, ECPN Communications Officer and Angels Project volunteer
2017 FAIC & AIC Joint Emergency Project
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
Following the conclusion of the AIC Annual Meeting in Chicago, several AIC volunteers stayed behind for another day to work with the DuSable Museum of African American History. The event, organized by the AIC Emergency Committee with support from FAIC’s National Heritage Responders, provided an opportunity for museum staff to discuss principles of response, conduct a risk assessment, and carry out a wet salvage exercise. The museum is undergoing the process of reevaluating and rewriting their emergency procedures, so they were appreciative of the insights gained during the project. Attendees from the museum included collections staff, security staff, and the museum’s Chief Operations Officer. Fifteen AIC members took part in the training, including several volunteers who are not formally trained in disaster response. The AIC Emergency Committee intends for this program to also serve as an opportunity for AIC members to practice emergency exercises, while bringing their specialized knowledge to the training.
2016 - NO VOLUNTEER PROJECT
Due to the international location and joint meeting, a volunteer project was not planned in Montreal.
2015 Angels Project
The 2015 Angels Project was at History Miami. History Miami is south Florida’s premier cultural institution committed to gathering, preserving, and celebrating Miami’s history through exhibitions, city tours, education, research, collections, and publications. History Miami’s offsite facility is 12,000 square feet of mixed climate controlled storage space. It houses a variety of the museum’s collections such as the outboard boat and motor collection, aviation collection, archeological materials, and the Whitman Family collection. The building was acquired by the museum in 1990. The goal for the 2015 AIC Angel’s Project volunteers was to assist in improving the space, and the collections it houses, as well as consulting on ways in which to upgrade the facility conditions.
2014 Angels Project
California Historical Society
A group of dedicated conservators gathered on Sunday, June 1, after the annual meeting, to assist the California Historical Society with rehousing part of their photograph, photo album, and manuscript collections. They also assisted in creating condition reports and other work needed to prepare parts of their collection to be digitally scanned. See the angels at work!
2013 Angels Project
Johnson County Museum of History
The Johnson County Museum of History, located in Franklin, IN (about 30 miles outside Indianapolis), was the site of the 2013 Angels Project. The museum has a large textiles collection and needed help in cataloging and re-housing it.
2012 Angels Projects
Sandoval County Historical Society
The Sandoval County Historical Society was the site of the 2012 Angels Project on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. The Sandoval County Historical Society plays an important role in the community as both a historical archive and as an educational resource. Recently the society has had to take in records from some communities that burned to the ground in last year’s wildfires. The society needed help in managing these additions and also protecting and rehousing its photo collection.
San Miguel Chapel, Santa Fe
In this project co-sponsored with AIC's Architecture Specialty Group, conservators joined with Cornerstones Community Partnership to learn traditional earthen building skills, including making adobe bricks, and helped preserve an adobe treasure and one of the oldest religious buildings in the United States.
2011 Angels Project
American Philosophical Society
The 2011 Angels Project was held at the American Philosophical Society (APS)
at the conclusion of the 39th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. APS was a short walk from the host hotel, the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The project took place on Saturday, June 4 from 10 am to 4 pm. The primary focus of the project was the care of the oversized book collection. These books were shifted, evaluated for problems, and placed in proper order. In addition, a secondary project focused on overall stacks maintenance, including boxed manuscripts. The oversized book collection includes the main topics acquired by the society, including books on the: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities.
Anne Downey of APS served as the project coordinator.
2010 Angels Project
Milwaukee County Historical Society
On May 15th over 20 conservators donated a full day of their time to the Milwaukee County Historical Society’s photographic collection. Over 400 tintypes, ambrotypes, and daguerreotypes were photographed, documented, and re-housed.
The Milwaukee County Historical Society was founded in 1935 to collect, preserve and make available materials relating to the history of the Milwaukee community. Through a broad range of activities, the Historical Society seeks to recognize and preserve our local history. In promoting a greater appreciation of Milwaukee County's heritage, the Historical Society hopes to develop a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing Milwaukee County today.
The MCHS is currently restoring a beautiful Beaux Arts building which now serves as the Society’s home. Originally constructed to house the Second Ward Savings Bank, the building was designated a historic landmark in 1988. AIC was pleased to be able to assist in re-housing the society’s photo collection in its new home.
Thank you to volunteers: Alicia Bjornson, Thomas Braun, Barbara Brown, Alisha Chipman, Jason Church*, Jenn Cruickshank, Rose Daly, Mirasol Estrada ,Ann Frellsen ,Ann Frisina ,Meg Geiss-Mooney, LeeAnn Gordon, Erin Hammeke, Kallie Holt, Andrew Huot, Zach Long, Katie Mullen, Karen Pavelka*, Nancy Reinhold*, Sara Shpargel, Gawain Weaver*, Ralph Wiegandt*
* designates a project coordinator
Thank you to donors:
2009 Angels Project
Sherman Indian Museum
In conjunction with AIC's 37th Annual Meeting, volunteer conservators spent a day working with the collections at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, CA on Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The purpose of the project was to inventory, survey and re-house objects and archival materials from the museum’s collection.
This year's Angels project project was organized by Molly Gleeson and Özge Gençay Üstün, recent graduates of the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, and is supported by generous contributions from Metal Edge; Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Autry National Center; PACCIN - Preparation, Art Handling, Collections Care Information Network; the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program; and Paul Messier of Paul Messier, LLC.
The Sherman Indian Museum is located on the campus of the Sherman Indian High School, which derived from the Perris Indian School, the first off-reservation Indian Boarding School in the state of California. The museum’s collection contains objects representing tribes from all over the United States, as well as school records, photographs and other memorabilia. As a graduate student, Gleeson had the opportunity to meet and work with the curator and only staff member at the Sherman Indian Museum, Lorene Sisquoc. “Visiting the museum and talking with Lori, I realized how important the Sherman Indian Museum is as a historical resource and a cultural center, not only for the school community, but to the greater Native American community and the general public. Lori has many ideas of how she would like to improve storage of and access to that collection, but very little time, funding, or support to do this work. The Angels Project presented itself as the perfect opportunity to provide conservation assistance to this collection and to enable some of her ideas.”
See more photos from the 2009 Angels Project on AIC's flickr page>>