How Can You Make an Organization’s Legacy More Accessible to Its Members?
The Navy Nurse Corps Association (NNCA) maintains an archive with diverse materials such as oral histories, books, photographs, newspaper articles, and other ephemera. It also includes more than a thousand artifacts including uniforms, insignia, and other memorabilia dating back to 1908.
This invaluable collection was originally housed at a facility in Washington State and was maintained by volunteer Association members and without formal policies and procedures in place. The NNCA board wanted to ensure that the material was consistently cataloged, preserved, and managed to museum standards so that their members could have greater access to the collection.
The NNCA is dedicated to honoring and preserving the history and tradition of the Navy Nurse Corps. They use their extensive historical collection to promote Navy Nursing camaraderie and service at various chapter meetings and social functions.
In 2013, NNCA sought help from HAI to gain better intellectual control over the collection in their care, identify a suitable facility for ongoing storage of their materials, and safely move their irreplaceable collection to the new facility.
“Our partnership with History Associates provides the foundation to preserve and share the Navy Nurse Corps traditions and legacy. The HAI team took great care to facilitate our goals from the initial assessment and proposal for inventory control and rehousing to cataloging new items and ensuring that our members have an online portal to view the items. Along with our members, individuals outside our organization are also able to access the inventory and oral histories for research and continued presentation of our rich nursing history.”
– Kim Lyons, NNCA Executive Director
Approach/SolutionHAI began with a detailed on-site assessment of the collections at their original storage facility. An archivist and a collections manager met with NNCA representatives to discuss needs and objectives, and gathered detailed information about the historical materials. After the review, History Associates delivered a comprehensive Roadmap and Action Plan, which provided short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations for developing and improving NNCA’s collections program.
After NNCA reviewed and approved HAI’s recommendations, we began a phased approach to improving the collection. We first developed a scope of collections and selection criteria which will guide the collection’s ongoing stewardship. We also oversaw the relocation of NNCA’s existing collections from Port Orchard, WA to HAI’s secure, climate-controlled storage facility in Rockville, MD.
HAI’s collections managers then completed the rehousing and cataloging of approximately 1,400 items in NNCA’s PastPerfect database, providing NNCA with complete online-accessible and searchable catalog.
HAI’s collections managers have also helped with the transfer of specific deaccessioned materials to other repositories – providing a more appropriate home for the donation and allocating money otherwise spent on storage to support the ongoing stewardship and use of the NNCA collection. We also continue to provide long term registrarial and cataloging services to the NNCA.
Through this phased approach, HAI assisted NNCA in bringing their invaluable collections into alignment with museum best practices. Through consistent, accessible cataloging, HAI helped NNCA in meeting their goal of sharing their rich history and legacy with all of their members. And as a result of HAI’s assistance in deaccessioning out-of-scope materials, NNCA can allocate money otherwise spent on storage to supporting the ongoing stewardship of the collection.