In my last post, I discussed some of the decisions that we are making in regards to the immediate steps we will take in preserving the Shafer/Motherway Collection. Many of these decisions are predicated on the resources that are available at the present to address the most critical needs for the collection. In reviewing the variety of documents, objects, textiles, and more that this diverse collection contains, I decided to immediately rehouse the manuscripts group with the available resources.
The manuscripts group contains about 8 linear feet of documents, including bound works and loose leaves of paper. This group of the overall collection contains some of the oldest items, dating back to the Civil War era. However, age was not the only consideration that went into deciding to fully process the manuscripts group first. While all of the collection has been subjected to the elements in its original environment (water damage from the leaky roof, vermin and insects, etc.), the documents have weathered the worst of all of the collection. Naturally, because the primary material in this group is paper, they are particularly susceptible to water damage, both from direct contact and through changing climate conditions
Before rehousing the manuscripts section into acid-free folders and boxes, I stored them in temporary folders while I cleaned particles of dust and dirt off of them and allowed them to acclimate to their new temporary environment in our records storage room. Most of the collection is now rehoused in standard file folders and document cases, but the larger bound books, many of which are in fairly deteriorated states of condition, were placed in clamshell boxes that will allow for them to lay flat. This will also allow them to be viewed without removing them from their boxes during handling, which should also help to protect them from further damage.
With the rehousing of the manuscripts group finished, I will finish the finding aid by creating the scope and content statement and descriptive guide to join the container list. Upon completion, the manuscripts group processing will conclude and the collection will be accessible.
Jody Brumage is a graduate student in San Jose State University's Masters of Archives and Records Administration program. This project is fulfilling the MARA 295 course requirements for an Organizational Consultation Project.