Collections and Archives Services
The Gaston County Museum's Collections and Archives Facility is now open for research and donation appointments!
Schedule an appointment with us today!
Appointments are available on Tuesday's and Thursday's between 10 am and 3 pm. Contact Markecia Koulesser, Collections Manager, at Markecia.email@example.com or (704)- 922-7681 ext. 107.
What have we been up to?
The Gaston County Museum and Gaston County Library Main Branch are working on something special. Learn all about it here!
In 2021, the Gaston County Public Library received an American Rescue Plan Humanities Support Grant from @nchumanities an affiliate of @nehgov for a yearlong project called “Engaging with Art Post-Pandemic”. This collaborative project between the library and the Gaston County Museum enabled the two departments to bring art and culturally important works found in department collections to a digital platform, increasing discoverability and accessibility to Gaston County resources. Funding from the grant was used to hire a project-based intern to find, digitize, and curate art and cultural resources in the county. The grant will conclude with a public presentation by intern Maddie Moore on the Engaging with Art Post-Pandemic project in September 2022.
This grant funding was made possible via the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.
Maddie is a life-long resident of Gaston County who enjoys history, reading, and learning new things. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill where she double majored in History and Communication Studies. She graduated and received her Bachelor's in 2019. She immediately returned to Gaston County and began working as a Library Page at the Gaston County Public Library.
Working at the library was a childhood dream come true, especially after spending a couple of years volunteering at the library as a teenager! In the past few years, she has been promoted to a Library Assistant and just received her Master of Library Science degree from Appalachian State University in the Summer of 2022.
Since January 2022, she has been interning through a collaborative project with the Gaston County Public Library and the Gaston County Museum. The internship is funded through a grant, Engaging with Art Post-Pandemic, from NC Humanities.
One of the main goals of the internship is to find culturally important works and pieces of art within the collections at the library and museum and digitize them on Biblioboard. Biblioboard is a digital platform offered through the library and houses digitized versions of the art and background information for each piece.
The internship is designed to promote discoverability of what the library and museum have in their collections and increase the general public's access to these items by providing a digitized version. Throughout the internship, Maddie has been focused on the D.E. McConnell Art Collection at the library and some of the pieces from the larger Library Art Collection. She has also worked on digitizing a scrapbook created by James Arthur Adams, which was found in library storage and is now undergoing a conservation process with the museum.
First Step: Inventory
Maddie and Gaston County Museum Assistant Director, Alexandrea Pizza performed a preliminary search of the scrapbook so they could get a better idea of the types of materials Maddie would be handling. She was given a spreadsheet with 7 columns to allow for different material categories. The columns were Page (so she could number the pages and know where to find the materials), Photograph, Letter, Newspaper Clipping, Printed Ephemera, Misc. Object, and Other.
Most of the contents were newspaper clippings, but each category was represented in the scrapbook.
Second Step: Dry Conservation
The dry-cleaning process is a preliminary step to make sure surface-level dirt and grime are removed from the scrapbook papers before the pages are placed in an aqueous solution for a deep clean. Without the dry-cleaning process, small pieces of dirt may be trapped on the scrapbook pages when they are submerged in the aqueous solution, which would create further damage to the scrapbook materials.
The cleaning process can be tedious due to the fragility of the scrapbook materials. An acrylic eraser was finely grated to create pieces small enough to clean with a cotton ball. The eraser pieces were sprinkled directly onto both the cotton ball and scrapbook material being cleaned. To ensure no tears were made in the newspapers or letters, the cotton ball was swept over the eraser pieces in small and gentle circular motions to create a light pressure against the materials. After being sufficiently cleaned with the cotton ball, a hog hair brush was used to sweep the eraser pieces off the scrapbook materials. This step is very important, especially when cleaning a scrapbook, due to the layering of materials and the possibility of the acrylic eraser pieces getting trapped under the layers.
This process repeats for each page of the scrapbook. For photographs, the acrylic eraser does not necessarily have to be finely grated because a photograph can withstand more pressure. A soot sponge can also be used on some of the newspaper articles and other materials to clean potential fire damage, but most of the materials in the scrapbook did not need this extra step.
There's more to come!
Collecting In Crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic and the civil rights crisis here in America have taken the world by storm. As our lives shift, the Gaston County Museum of Art and History would like to document these moments in history, and we are asking the people of Gaston County to help us by sharing their experiences.
Explore more Gaston County history, and digitized Gaston County Museum collections by searching DigitalNC.
Ask the Collections Manager:
Have specific questions about Gaston County Museum collections? Contact Markecia Koulesser, Collections Manager, at Markecia.firstname.lastname@example.org