SKOWHEGAN — The Skowhegan History House, Museum and Research Center has been selected as one of 75 institutions from across the country to participate in the first year of the Collections Assessment for Preservation program.
Administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, the program helps small and mid-sized museums improve care of their collections with a conservation assessment of the museum’s collections and buildings, said History House Director Melvin Burnham.
Burnham said the CAP program chooses institutions that meet the program’s guidelines and provides them with money to employ two consultants to assess the collection and the building itself.
The program is administered through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant-making agency that supports museums and libraries. The selection comes with a $7,800 grant. The History House is responsible for the consultants’ expenses.
The History House is a historic 1839 cape-style house with attached museum at 66 Elm St. in Skowhegan. Its unique collection includes documents and records relating to other central Maine communities as well as national historic documents and items that date back to before the American Revolution. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The team of two preservation professionals will spend two days surveying the site and meeting with staff before preparing a report that will identify preventive conservation priorities, according to Burnham. The assessment report will help the museum prioritize care efforts for its collection in the coming years.
Burnham said the criteria for making the CAP list include being open for at least 90 days a year and meeting the organization’s budget guidelines. He said he expects the program to usher in the next phase of the History House’s collections care work.
“We are pleased to receive this CAP assessment grant because it will give us the information we need to take progressive steps to initiate additional collection protection measures as well as identify and then find resources to address issues relating to the History House’s physical structure,” Burnham said. “Both of these expected outcomes fit within the framework of History House goals for 2016-2025, which are to take progressive steps to conserve and preserve the collections in its custody, including the physical structure, through 2025.”
The History House offers exhibits that reflect the times and lives of Skowhegan-area ancestors, Burnham said. Staff offers on-site, community and school-based programs and activities, he said. Seasonally, it offers curator-guided house and museum tours as well as on-site technology enhanced exhibits, guided tours of its heirloom gardens and community-based, technology-enhanced, guided walking tours of four designated historic Skowhegan areas. The museum also offers community-based themed…