Thanks to the very generous support of Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Columbia Basin Trust, Creston Rotary Club, and private community donors, the Creston Museum has all the necessary funding to go ahead with an exciting archives shelving project.
The Museum’s archives collections – thousands of photographs, 114 years worth of newspapers, and many boxes of maps and documents, all relating to the people and organizations of the Creston Valley – have outgrown the available storage space, to the point where the constantly growing collection has been causing headaches for staff and volunteers trying to figure out where to put everything.
“Twenty years ago, we built a fire-proof, climate-controlled vault to house the archival collections in the best possible conditions,” says Museum Board president David Butt. “Inside it, though, we have a hodge-podge of shelving systems that doesn’t meet the needs of the collection. We’re bursting at the seams.”
One shelving unit, for example, is only suitable for holding the long thin boxes of rolled-up maps. It could hold several hundred such boxes, but the archives collection currently only needs space for 43. “It will take us probably 50 years to fill those shelves,” says Museum manager Tammy Bradford. “But photographs, documents, newspapers – people donate those every single week, dozens or even hundreds at a time, and the shelves for those materials are full.”
To address this challenge the Museum is installing a high-density storage system. Stationary shelving units line the perimeter of the 18 x 28-foot space. In the middle, a block of mobile shelving units on tracks take up every inch of available space, with only enough room left free to open up one aisle to access the required shelf.
Units of varying depths and shelf-distances accommodate the standard storage boxes and containers the Museum uses. With heights up to 89 inches, the new system makes maximum use of available vertical space.
“This will nearly triple our available shelving space, with absolutely no increase in our footprint or operating costs,” says Bradford. “What’s more, it gives us the space we need for the types of materials we actually have and are most likely to receive.”
Installation is anticipated for January or February 2023. The Museum is recruiting a team of volunteers to help unload the shelving and move the collection to an adjacent building and back again. For more information or to volunteer, contact the Museum at 250-428-9262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Museum uses the archival collections for all of its activities: informing new exhibits at the Museum and around the community; preparing special programs for schools, seniors groups, and community events; helping people learn more about their families through public research services; creating its highly popular “On This Day” social media posts; and more.
“We are very grateful to the people and organizations whose support makes this project possible,” says Butt. “It means the Museum can continue collecting the materials that tell the story of the community and its people.”