Housing Archaeological Collections

A Free E-publication

We are delighted to introduce our 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 is the culmination of a multi-year “Museums for America” grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This grant made it possible for the museum to rehouse over 8000 museum objects and photograph over 4000 items, thus making them more accessible for teaching and research while ensuring their physical care and documentation.

Given our museum’s pedagogical mission, our storage and housing approaches 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. These particular requirements resulted in more flexible storage solutions that we hoped might be useful for a broad range of museums and collecting institutions. This e-publication was one way to share some of insights and experience we gained throughout this process. We especially wanted to provide step-by step instructions for others in small institutions with limited staffing and resources 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 Group.