Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Amazing Travels of Archival Boxes

We have recently embarked on a full inventory of our archives. This is the first inventory of the Historical Center’s collections since our opening ten years ago.

So what is an inventory and why is it important?

Every item in our collection has its own unique number that is tied to our records and our database. This number corresponds to the year in which we received the item and groups items from a particular collection together. Initially, each box and folder was assigned to a specific location in our archives, but things have traveled over the past decade.

Some boxes have made intrepid building-wide journeys, while others have seemingly leapt across aisles, and a few simply shuffled over to the next shelf. Finding a photo or letter in our collection can be a challenge. This is why we need to complete a thorough inventory. We need to pinpoint where everything is right now, so we can find items quickly when patrons request them or when we are creating a new exhibit.

During our inventory process, we are basically going through every photo, map, and document in our collection and checking its number and location. Moving shelf by shelf, we open every box and record the items that we find. Then this list is compared to our collections database and we note changes in location and fix any discrepancies. When we finish the inventory process, our archives will be well-organized and we will be able to locate individual items with ease.

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