The Kennebec Historical Society in Augusta recently received a $1,500 New Century Community Grant from the Maine State Archives.

The New Century Community Grant provides funding for the preservation of archival collections. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are finding their resources strained, including the Kennebec Historical Society. The grant aims to support and provide needed resources to care for and improve access to archival collections, according to a news release from Scott R. Wood, administrative director of KHS.

In April, the historical society converted its Access Collections Database to the commercially produced, widely accepted PastPerfect software program. Following the dramatic conversion of more than 60,000 records, the society determined that a complete inventory of its archive was necessary, comparing old records with new and ensuring that the items listed in the software were consistent with the location in the archive. It is estimated that a complete inventory of the archive will take several months and require significant supervision and resources.

According to the release, the historical society plans to stabilize and assess the collections to determine the order in which they should be inventoried. Converted records will need to be verified in the PastPerfect software and the location of the item in the archive confirmed. As items are discovered and inventoried, there may be a need to purchase the proper collection supplies to protect and preserve them.

The historical society also plans to hire its current volunteer archivist, Emily Schroeder, to provide volunteers and interns with the proper supervision and necessary training. Schroeder was employed by the Maine State Library for more than 35 years and the society will benefit from her archival skills and knowledge of the new software. She already volunteers two days a week for historical society and the grant allows the society to fund an additional day per week, increasing her overall availability to interns and volunteers.

“We are thrilled to receive the New Century Community Grant from the Maine State Archives and to have Emily here three days a week. There is nothing more discouraging than turning away a researcher because an item is either lost or not cataloged properly, especially if we actually have what they were looking for, but just could not find it,” said Wood in the release.

Once collections have been assessed and stabilized, the society will make information about the inventoried collections available through its website, its bi-monthly newsletter, social media accounts and through future press releases.

For more information, contact Wood at [email protected] or 207-622-7718.

 

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