Throughout this project, I have gained a clearer understanding not only of the Shafer/Motherway Collection itself, but the role these collections can play in supporting the mission of the Burkittsville Preservation Association. Becoming familiar with these records and the story that they tell, I understand how this collection will provide reference for the ongoing preservation of the property and its historical interpretation for future visitors to the site.
As an organization dedicated to preserving the material culture of Burkittsville, the association's collections will be vital tools for contextualizing the historic properties that they preserve. All of this context builds a stronger case for the allocation of resources to capital preservation projects as well as ongoing heritage tourism efforts that can help to boost the local economy and further integrate the association into the community.
As the property is preserved and becomes safer and more secure, the collection will provide a variety of opportunities for exhibits to narrate the history of the property and the people who lived there for over 150 years. Since the collection encompasses so many medias of information, there are many different approaches to exhibits that are possible for the site, from traditional historical displays to art-themed gallery exhibits.
The collection will also give the preservation association the ability to facilitate its own research as well as that of other scholars. This opportunity gives the preservation association another way to reach its mission of facilitating the study of Burkittsville's unique and significant history.
In a sense, the recovery of the Shafer/Motherway Collection is serendipitous for the association. When the organization acquired the property last year, the initial focus on preserving the historic house and farmstead was a driving force for the association. Now, with the addition of the collection from the house, the association can tap into more programing opportunities that will draw in new audiences to this historic and important place.
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.