By Beth Tragert
Artifacts and other holdings at Ohio University's Kennedy Museum of Art will be preserved for future generations with help from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
As the primary source of federal funding for the nation's museums and libraries, IMLS works with the American Association for State and Local History to provide "IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf," a core set of conservation books, DVDs and online resources for museums and libraries.
The Kennedy Museum was awarded the resources based on an application describing its needs and plans to care for its collections. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in history or art museums and in libraries' special collections. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness and culturally specific conservation issues.
"As we move forward with (museum) accreditation, these materials are invaluable," Kennedy Director Edward Pauley said. "Conservation of our print and Native American collections is of prime importance, and this IMLS award provides significant reference resources."
When Pauley took over as director of the museum earlier this year, he identified gaining American Association of Museums accreditation for the Kennedy as a key goal.
The IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of the Institute of Museum and Library Services' conservation initiative, launched in 2006. It began in response to a 2005 study by Heritage Preservation documenting the dire state of the nation's collections.
The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative, titled Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America's collections, especially those held by smaller institutions that often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.
"Libraries, museums and archives are in the forefront of our call to action on behalf of America's collections," said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice. "According to a recent national survey, our important collections are at great risk, and without them, the American story simply cannot be told to future generations."
The institute plans to award 3,000 free sets of the IMLS Bookshelf by the end of 2009.
More than 9,000 objects make up the Kennedy Museum's collections. The museum, which opened in 1996, houses the nationally recognized Edwin L. and Ruth E. Kennedy Southwest Native American Collection -- a unique and culturally significant collection of Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and other Pueblo weavings and silverwork -- as well as a renowned contemporary print collection.