Press Release by Amy Webster,
Curator of Collections at Ninepipes Museum

April 20, 2023 by Amy Webster

Ninepipes Museum has recently been awarded a Foundation for Montana History (FMH) grant in the amount of $6500 to support their ongoing preservation upgrades.  The funding of their most recent project helps the museum take steps towards accomplishing their preservation goals as set out in the 2019 NEH Preservation Assessment.  Amy Webster, Curator of Collections at Ninepipes, wrote the grant to fund the purchase of steel vertical art shelves, a chest freezer, two humidifiers, and archival storage supplies.  “Museums are always looking for funds to care for their collections in order to continue the standard of care that their collections require.   We have come to rely on these types of grants to help us take bigger steps towards doing that.”  Says Webster.  The grant from FMH will be matched 1:3 by Ninepipes Museum in the form of in-kind work hours.  “Even though this project seems small, it will take time to remove old shelves, inventory and move the collections to the new shelving” says Jo Cheff, Museum Executive Director.  Staff at Ninepipes Museum are very pleased with this opportunity to take this step closer to bringing the preservation of its collection up to professional standards, something that takes a lot of time and money.  The art is currently stored flat on flammable wood shelves, but the new shelves are steel and vertical so that the framed art will be less stressed, handled less, and less likely to scratch (not to mention fire-proof!).  The freezer allows staff to freeze objects for two rounds (a total of 3 weeks) so that any bugs or eggs that come in on objects are killed.  This is especially important for collection preservation because pests can do so much damage to objects, something that we have been very lucky to avoid.  Having the freezer will ensure that we continue to do so.  And being able to keep the humidity at a consistent level is also important for object preservation, which is what the humidifiers will help with during the dry, frigid winter months.  Finally, using acid-free archival supplies is extremely important in maintaining professional care of the collections, but they are very expensive, so we are very grateful to be able to replenish much-needed supplies.  The application process takes some forethought and planning, but there is so much we would not be able to do without this kind of funding, which FMH provides to museums such as ourselves.  We have been able to make huge strides and give quality care to our collections because of them.

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