Housing Archaeological Collections–A Free E-Publication

Housing Archaeological CollectionsWe are delighted to introduce our new free e-publication Housing Archaeological Collections at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, written by Sara Berg with contributions by Kate Gallagher, Sanchita Balachandran and Betsy Bryan. This publication grew out of the past several years of work at the museum rehousing over 8000 museum objects. While every museum has the responsibility of caring for its collection to the highest professional standards, our museum is also driven by its teaching mission, i.e., to provide access to our collection as a resource for the interactive and interdisciplinary study, research, preservation and interpretation of archaeological and historical objects, particularly for the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) community. Our storage and housing approach, therefore, had to provide both stable housing for our collection, but also make it possible for our collection to be easily utilized by a variety of users. In addition to engaging members of the JHU community, we also take seriously the need to share and disseminate knowledge of the collection to academic researchers and members of the general public through exhibitions, publications and on-line resources.

The process of making our collection more physically stable and accessible has led us to develop a series of free resources that strives to share what we have learned with our peer institutions and colleagues. In doing this work, we wanted to provide step-by step instructions for others in similar, small institutions with limited staffing and resources who are striving to attain excellence in collections care, and were in search of implementable, low-cost strategies. We hope that this free e-publication may be a useful resource, and also an inspiration.

The work presented here would not have been possible without the generous support of a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, additional funds from JHU alumna Marjorie M. Fisher, and a gift from the Rose Foundation. Through this funding, the JHAM was able to engage the extraordinary talents of Sara Berg, Jennifer Torres, Lisa Anderson and Natasha Jones. They in turn worked closely with numerous student staff who were involved in the rehousing project at the graduate, undergraduate and even high school level. These students included: Dane Clark, Samantha Lindgren, Sarah Kate Lynch, Molly Martell, and Anna-Astrid Oberbrunner. The project is also indebted to the diligent and dedicated work of Katherine Gallagher, Assistant Curator of the museum, photographer Jay T. VanRensselaer whose images appear throughout this volume, and Cathy Schaefer of Splice Design.