History Associates is pleased to announce that The Trustees, a nonprofit conservation organization in Massachusetts, has launched its first online collections catalog highlighting hundreds of rare and historic documents and artifacts from its archives. The Trustees Collections Catalog includes more than 5,000 images, as well as a curated collection with interpretation of more than 30 objects, photos, and documents. New content will be added regularly.
History Associates was part of the development team, working closely with Trustees staff and technology provider Preservica on the project. Aspects of the project included creating the appropriate collection hierarchy, metadata structures, and new search capabilities that would support the needs of both internal and external users. They also developed processes to facilitate smooth export/import of records from the Trustees’ PastPerfect database into Preservica’s Preservation web based platform.
For anyone creating an online catalog, data standardization is critical in this process. Aligning the metadata and database structure according to current best practices and standards gives the Trustees collection database a common lexicon. This step is important to enable advanced search and filter features on the website and makes it easier for the Trustees’ other collections to be integrated with the current content in the future. The Trustees have partnered with the Digital Commonwealth, the Internet Archive, and the National Archives in sharing Trustees materials with a broader audience.
Among the rare items in the collection is a letter written by Ralph Waldo Emerson when he was just 12 years old. It was discovered tucked under a loose floorboard of The Old Manse, one of The Trustees’ historic properties in Concord, Massachusetts. Now two hundred years after it was written, the letter is accessible online, so anyone can read the insights of a precocious pre-teen who was already a gifted writer, written in his own hand. Website visitors can also read the earliest known surviving document written by Thomas Jefferson, learn and see a tea cart by the celebrated designer Vladim in Field Farm Collection, a mid-20thcentury modernist home; as well as a Pilgrim Chest – one of the earliest pieces of American furniture in The Trustees collection.
About The Trustees
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) is a publicly supported, tax-exempt, non-profit organization which cares for 116 scenic, natural and cultural reservations consisting of more than 27,000 acres in 75 communities across Massachusetts. We have been connecting people to the places they love, and to each other, for 125 years. Founded in 1891 by landscape architect Charles Eliot, a protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted, The Trustees is the world’s first land preservation organization and Massachusetts’ largest conservation nonprofit. The organization’s mission is to “preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts” and conserve the character that makes Massachusetts’ landscapes and communities unique.
For more than 35 years, History Associates Incorporated has helped clients to bring knowledge forward – use the past to inform the present and prepare for the future. The company’s historians and archivists research and write histories, create educational experiences, preserve and manage historical content, and conduct specialized historical research for corporations, government agencies, law firms, and nonprofit organizations worldwide.
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