When 5,000 ft3 of historic material needs to be relocated, where do you even begin?
In October 2017, the wildfires in Northern California narrowly avoided the Sonoma County Archives by a mere 600 feet. Recognizing the need for increased accessibility and security, the Sonoma County Library turned to History Associates to help create a strategic plan to relocate the Archives.
The Sonoma County Library holds the records of the Sonoma County Government (“the Archives”) as well as several local history collections documenting the vast history of the community and surrounding areas. The majority of archival collections have been stored at an off-site facility since 1984. The Nuns Fire on Hood Mountain in October 2017 came dangerously close to the storage facility, accelerating the concern for these historic materials. After identifying a potential temporary storage solution, the Library contracted History Associates to provide consultancy and planning support for moving the Sonoma County Archives and creating an effective and secure storage environment.
Creating a Plan:
During a 4 day site visit, a consultant from History Associates surveyed the collection at an aggregate level, totaling over 5,000 cubic feet of records, photographs, maps, drawings, and ledgers. The survey captured estimates of collections volume as well as observations of current storage practice, security, environment, and oversight. In addition, the consultant assessed the storage potential and capabilities of an identified space in the Central Library that could provide temporary storage while a permanent future solution was sought out. History Associates compiled this data into an Archives Space Plan, which prioritized recommendations to improve the safety and security of the archives.
The Archives Space Plan provided recommendations for improving current storage practices as well as relocating materials to the identified temporary storage space. History Associates also collaborated with a shelving vendor to create schematic layouts of potential storage options to address the various storage needs of the materials while maximizing potential storage space. With these recommendations and options, the Plan provided guidance in developing an ideal storage environment for both temporary storage and potential storage opportunities in the future.
Sonoma County Archives collection totaled 5,015 cu. ft.:
- 3,600 bound volumes
- 2,300 boxes
- 1,600 oversized maps and drawings