The National Public Housing Museum organized a spring cleaning session in their offices earlier this season. A researcher using the collections and I teamed up to create an up-to-date inventory of the materials stored on-site. She has been combing through visual materials to write a dissertation on how the CHA sites were portrayed, and has been a huge help in identifying people and places depicted in photographs.
From the filing cabinets and piles of materials, we attempted to break everything down into potential categories: library and reference material, archival material, collections material, and research material. We then evaluated potential collections to determine priority for conservation and/or digitization. I bundled the physical materials together by category, and photographed objects for the spreadsheet for reference.
While there are still some objects stored off-site, this was a good opportunity to take stock of what will become the foundation of the museum’s collections and archives. It is helping to shape our discussions on creating a collections management policy. And it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to take a peek at some of the treasures NPHM has already accumulated and been gifted.