The State Historical Society of Missouri received an overwhelming response to its call for 2018 Brownlee Grants applications. SHSMO received 55 submissions from 33 different Missouri counties requesting funding from the available pool of $5,000. Ten institutions received funding, largely for the purchase of archival supplies.
The Society’s conservator, Erin Kraus, said she is encouraged that so many institutions applied with the intent of expanding their conservation efforts. “Storage materials can make the difference between objects lasting for centuries versus just decades,” she said.
Grant recipient Kathy Smith, executive director of the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit Museum, said the museum will use its award to extend the life of its collections and control the effects of past flooding. The museum also experiences ongoing water issues in its historic building, a former post office built in 1939.
“We installed the proper devices to ensure we would have humidity control,” Smith said. “This did help in preserving our artifacts but did not prevent some mold and mildew damage.”
To help control the problem, the museum has worked with a conservator recommended by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to develop a plan for the site and to eradicate mold and mildew. But like many organizations, the Lee’s Summit organization has more needs than funds.
“We are out of tubs and need shelving to keep our collections from getting wet should we flood again,” Smith said. “Five hundred dollars goes a long way to help us protect the balance of our artifacts.”
For those stretching their budget, Kraus suggests getting started with the right materials and expanding in phases. “The storage materials used with historical collections are crucial to their long-term preservation,” she said. “Proper storage can provide protection from dust, light, water, pests, and physical forces that will harm historical objects.”
In addition to the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit Museum, 2018 Brownlee Grants are supporting the Cape River Heritage Museum in Cape Girardeau; the Rusche Park Board of the City of Marthasville; the Friends of Historic Boonville; the Hallsville Historical Society; the Harrison County Genealogical Society in Bethany; the Macon County Historical Society Museum in Macon; the Missouri Pacific Historical Society in St. Louis; the Reynolds County Museum in Ellington; and the Stone County Historical and Genealogical Society in Galena.
The State Historical Society of Missouri plans to offer Brownlee Grants in 2019, and bicentennial projects will again be an area of focus. Watch SHSMO publications and the website for the call for proposals, which should be announced this fall.