In 1985, the Society received a grant from the Institute of Museum Services (IMS) to catalog unprocessed collections and improve collections management procedures. The project picked up in 1986 as registrar Thomas Beckman and assistants Pamela Nelson, Frances Allmond, and Lisa Nicols worked to bring the museum cataloging and filing up to date and to finish accession records for new major acquisitions. A second part of the project involved creating a detailed inventory of all the contents of the Read House.
At the end of 1986, new museum storage space became available in the basement of the recently renovated Research Library. Collections that had previously been stored in the less-than-ideal spaces in Old Town Hall were then moved over to climate-controlled storage across Market Street. In the 1986 Spring-Summer newsletter, the Society projected that, “By the end of 1987, we anticipate all of our museum records—from when the first object was received by the museum in 1964 to the present—will be in a consistent format that meets with the standards of the museum profession.”
In 2010, the Society received another large grant from the IMLS to catalog our library collections. The project, which wrapped in 2012, successfully cataloged 65% of the Research Library’s holdings. Only this time records were created on AskCaesar, our online public access catalog, not file cards. So while technology may change, the Society’s commitment to preserving and making accessible our state’s history remains the same. Makes you wonder what a cataloging project in 2040 will look like!