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A Small Organization, Big Job

Joyce Lantz
Joyce Lantz, Collections Manager, Greentown Historical Society.

The all-volunteer Greentown Historical Society has been collecting Eastern Howard County heritage since the late 1990s. By starting off on the right foot with good policies, training and procedures, the GHS is a great example of a small organization that effectively manages and cares for its collection.

“In the earliest days, we were very fortunate to have a volunteer as the collections manager who had worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, had been an antiques collector and dealer, and had taken a preservation workshop at IHS, says Joyce Lanz, collections manager. “This volunteer researched and wrote our collections policy and was awarded a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County for start-up costs of purchasing archival storage supplies. Other collections volunteers also took preservation courses.

“We dedicated the secured second story of our building to the processing and storage of artifacts. We keep records in both paper and computer formats, take temperature and humidity readings regularly and have installed dehumidifiers to attempt to reach ideal readings. All windows of rooms in which artifacts are displayed or stored have UV protective coatings. The roof of the building has been totally replaced to ensure no leakage. GHS takes its responsibility seriously for the care of all donated artifacts, as well as for any items on loan for current exhibits.” Joyce Lanz, collections manager Greentown Historical Society collections are stored on metal shelving in acid-free boxes or tissue paper because wood shelves and regular cardboard boxes contain acid that can harm artifacts. Shelves and boxes are labeled so that artifacts can be located quickly and easily.