News Column

Fort Smith Museum Receives Preservation Grant

May 23, 2014

By Pam Cloud, Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark.

May 23--The Fort Smith Museum of History was selected to participate in the 2014 Conservation Assessment Program of the national Heritage Preservation organization.

The museum received a grant that will allow it to contract with conservation and preservation specialists to identify the conservation needs of its collections and historic building and recommend ways to correctly improve collections and building conditions, according to Connie Manning, Fort Smith Museum of History curator.

"It's great for us," Manning explained. "Our collections are more than 100 years old, and our building is more than 100 years old."

Manning said a grant worth approximately $7,000 will allow the museum to hire a collections assessor and an architecture assessor, who will visit the museum in late June to determine areas where improvements could be made.

"They'll stay here two days and go through everything -- not specific items, but to get a broad assessment of how we're doing and provide recommendations," Manning explained. "What's really great about the program is that we're able to build upon those recommendations for grant-seeking and tools to help us better our collections."

The on-site consultation will enable the Fort Smith Museum of History to evaluate its current collections care policies, procedures and environmental conditions. Manning said the museum plans to utilize the information gained from participating in CAP in upcoming strategic planning.

"This is the first assessment of this type the museum has ever done," Manning said. "We have had previous assessments of different types done, but this is the first conservation assessment. Many museums seek to participate in this type of assessment."

Heritage Preservation's president, Lawrence L. Reger, praised the Fort Smith Museum of History for its attention to preserving Fort Smith's history. He said the museum is "making the vital work of caring for collections and sites a priority of their institution, even in these challenging financial times, and helping ensure that they are available to present and future generations," according to a news release.


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Source: Times Record (Fort Smith, AR)

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