Submitted by Washington State Historical Society
The Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) has been awarded a Collection Stewardship grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for $72,000, which will make it possible for WSHS to expand its ability to catalog valuable artifacts and make digital images of the artifacts accessible to the public.
Currently, only about 5% of the 7,415 items in this particular collection maintained by WSHS is imaged, and in the absence of a more extensive catalog of images, researchers must travel to the Historical Society in order to research the collection instead of accessing it online. Over a three-year period, WSHS will use the grant to set up additional photography stations, identify Native/Arctic American artifacts, catalog the images and artifacts into the accessible database, and properly store the artifacts for efficient and reliable access.
Additionally, WSHS will notify Native American tribes and other Pacific Northwest museums and historical societies of the collection’s free online access of these items so that it can be a valuable resource for local history.
“Collections Stewardship is key to preserving history, and the Historical Society is dedicated to providing free access to a more complete database of artifact information,” says Jennifer Kilmer, Director of the Washington State Historical Society. “We feel that focusing this effort on Native American artifacts places a priority on preserving the indigenous culture that is unique to our area and encourages additional research.”
The project funded by the $72,000 grant will, for the first time, fully catalog, digitize and make accessible this collection to researchers, students, educators, Washington Historical Society curators, and the general public. The WSHS collections that are accessible online can be viewed on their website.