Stratford Hall Among First To Receive Conservation Bookshelf From IMLS

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Media Contact: Jim Schepmoes
804-493-8038 ext. 8119

For Immediate Release

STRATFORD, VA, (February 27, 2008) – Treasured objects and artifacts held by Stratford Hall will be preserved for future generations with help from the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of conservation books, DVDs, and online resources donated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding of the nation’s museums and libraries.

“This award will help us as we move forward in protecting some of Stratford Hall’s most valuable assets,” said Paul C. Reber, Executive Director. Collections at Stratford Hall include curatorial, archaeology, paleontology, architectural fragments, rare books, manuscripts and a specialized reference collection that combined total over 10,000 pieces.

Stratford Hall is among the first to receive this essential set of resources based on an application by Curator Gretchen Goodell describing the needs and plans for care of its collections. “The IMLS Bookshelf will provide us with important resources for tackling some basic concerns we currently face across our collections,” said Goodell. “It addresses major issues including the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues,” Goodell added.

“We are pleased to announce the first group of IMLS Bookshelf recipients. These small libraries and museums are taking up the charge to care for America’s heritage,” said Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS. “A recent national study tells a sobering story about the state of America’s library and museum collections. Without immediate action we stand to lose important collections that are at the heart of the American story.”

Among the 851 institutional recipients of the bookshelf, 236 are libraries or archives and 615 are museums. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries’ special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens, and nature centers. IMLS and its cooperator, the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), will award a total of 2,000 free sets of the IMLS Bookshelf by the end of 2008.

The IMLS Bookshelf was made possible by a cooperative agreement with AASLH and with support from the Getty Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. It is a crucial component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in response to a 2005 study by Heritage Preservation documenting the dire state of the nation’s collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America’s collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.