July 23, 2015

By Tom Clareson, Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services, LYRASIS, and
Danielle Cunniff Plumer, DCPlumer Associates, L.L.C.

As part of the IMLS Connecting to Collections (C2C) Initiative, fifty-seven U.S. states, commonwealths, and territories received Statewide Planning Grants from 2008 to 2010 in order to develop statewide plans for collections care and management, including emergency preparedness. A new report, written by consultants Danielle Cunniff Plumer and Tom Clareson as part of a grant project awarded to Heritage Preservation, Inc. (RE-06-10-0089-10), looks at these Statewide Planning Grants to assess their impact and to identify ways for us to move forward in caring for our nation’s treasures. The report is now available for download.

While the approaches used in planning grants varied from state to state, this report identifies several common themes, among them an ongoing need for more quantitative data on the state of collections held in trust by libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and comparable institutions; a recognition that emergency and disaster preparedness must be addressed by all institutions; and a desire to broaden the base of support for collections care to ensure that future generations have access to the cultural record that has been so painstakingly collected.

Some of the positive impacts of the Connecting to Collections Statewide Planning Grants include:

  • Collaborative groups, including archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums were formed, and the activities of many of these groups have continued through Connecting to Collections Implementation Grant projects and beyond.
  • The Connecting to Collections Initiative raised the profile of preservation in the states and across the nation through workshops, conferences, statewide summits, and the reports on survey activities and other projects.
  • Baseline preservation knowledge grew among participants in the project as a result of participating in survey projects and through the preservation site surveys, workshops, and conferences associated with the statewide projects.
  • New program ideas developed in one state were often utilized in other states. Methods of raising awareness or “marketing” preservation that were used to great success in Virginia also found success in other states, and states and territories have shared successful strategies with each other through articles, reports, and interactions at cultural heritage association meetings.
  • One of the potential impacts with the longest-lasting positive effect has been the identification and growth of new preservation leaders in states that participated in Connecting to Collections Planning Grant projects.

Although the planning grants have been completed, we’re delighted to note that the work of the Connecting to Collections initiative continues through ongoing Statewide Implementation Grants and also through forums, resources, discussions, and webinars presented as part of the Connecting to Collections Care (C2CC) Online Community at www.connectingtocollections.org. Managed by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works, the community is a place where smaller cultural institutions can quickly find trusted and reliable answers and resources to help them take better care of their collections. It’s growing every day, everything is free, and you can register here to become a full participant.

Connecting to Collections Statewide Grants