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.firstname.lastname@example.org or (704)- 922-7681 ext. 107.
What have we been up to?
Take a behind the scenes look at how we planned and completed our collection move!
At the Gaston County Museum, it is the Registrar’s job to oversee the physical care of the museum’s collection. This includes monitoring temperature and humidity levels, pest management, and cleaning routines. As we prepare for our collection move, cleaning has become a crucial step in the process!
In order to clean our precious artifacts and archive we rely on a few things, including but not limited to:
- Nitrile gloves (for artifact protection)
- Hog hair and Bamboo brushes (useful for book cleaning and those delicate, hard to reach places)
- 100% Cotton Rags
- Cotton Q-tips
- HEPA filtered vacuums (cleans artifacts and the air too!)
- 70 % isopropyl alcohol (for mold and stubborn dirt)
- Particulate respirator (for personal protection)
I know… this is not your mother’s cleaning supplies list, but look at the results!
While cleaning and inventory are essential in preparing for a collection move, we cannot forget about the importance of collection housing. In order to ensure the long-term care and preservation of our objects, the Gaston County Museum has plans to rehouse the bulk of its collection by June of this year. Rehousing is a process that involves stabilizing an artifact using interior and exterior supports, minimizing the deterioration of objects over time. Collections intern, Sarah Dutton, has devoted her time to researching proper rehousing practices that include, but are not limited to:
- Proper textile boxing
- Mounts for hats, purses, and needlework
- Pot/bowl/cup containers
- Frames and covers used for bulk collections
- Packing methods for transport
The most common materials found in collections storage include polyethylene, sometimes marketed under the brand names Tyvek and Volara, undyed cotton or muslin, and acid-free paper used in boxes, folders, support boards and more. Information on artifact housing is not hard to find. Sarah reflects on her experience stating, “I spent most of my time combing through Pinterest, museum websites, finding old museum conference presentations, and falling down rabbit holes of frankly very obscure blogs.”
Shelving and Storage
At the start of 2020, the Gaston County Museum began reaching out to several county departments to discuss our needs going into the collection move. Over the past year, we have worked closely with Public Works and other staff to outline plans for building security, maintenance, and more, which entailed meeting, after meeting, after email, after meeting.
Despite the drawbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has been a vital component to our success. While “Zoom fatigue” is very real (and I mean very real), I don’t know how far we would have come without the ability to meet from the comfort of our homes. Whether at the museum, or on the couch, it has been business as usual for the Gaston County Museum!
Collection security is vital to museums and cultural institutions. The collection space can be either on or off site, and serves to preserve and protect artifacts through environmental and security controls.
With this in mind, the Gaston County Museum has put in place security measures to ensure the safety of its artifacts in all areas deemed a “collection space.” This includes sealing windows and doors, as well as installing security cameras and panels to arm and disarm the space. Locks have also been changed and keys have been given to those who require access to the collection on a regular basis. It is important to note that not all staff need keys to the collection space. To mitigate risk, only our collection staff will have key access to our collection spaces and facilities.
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.email@example.com