[vcf-midatlantic] Artifact handling and becoming better caretakers

Erik Klein webmaster at vintage-computer.com
Wed Mar 21 13:50:41 EDT 2018

Greetings list members and museum volunteers,

The first thing we want to do is say thank you for your enthusiasm and for
volunteering.  This is an all-volunteer organization and nothing happens
without your effort.

In keeping with our mission to educate on computer history, the Vintage
Computer Federation does outreach, manages a sizable collection and,
occasionally, does some preservation work.  The museum is fortunate to have
had some truly unusual artifacts entrusted to us.  We are just temporary
caretakers; it is our job to ensure that those artifacts continue on to the
next set of caretakers.

While we are aware of several possible areas for improvement, it has come
to our attention that artifact handling is something that needs our
attention now.  A quorum of the board of directors spoke the other night
and we agreed that, although the museum has done well so far, we could "up
our game" and do even better.  As a result, we are going to draw up a plan
for getting consultation and help from other museums and any other
authorities that we can locate.  The goal will be additional training for
museum volunteers on proper artifact handling and collection management.
We have good contacts at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and
Living Computers:Museum+Labs in Seattle, both of which are well known and
highly regarded.  Acquiring whatever of their expertise we can beg, borrow
or steal will benefit us and help us carry out our long term mission.

We don't have a timetable for getting this done yet; the idea is a few days
old so far.  In the interim please be mindful that what has been entrusted
to us might be very unusual and unique, and, quite frankly, irreplaceable.
Until we get more formal guidelines and training the goal should be to
stabilize and preserve artifacts, and not to alter them in any way unless
there is an active threat to them.  This includes deep cleaning, adhesive
removal, major repairs, etc.  Let’s acknowledge that we don't know what we
don't know, and, until we know better, we should be extremely cautious.

Thanks for your consideration and patience.  If you have questions or
comments please reach out to any member of the board of directors.


Mike, Erik, Jeff, Corey, and Bill

Erik Klein
www.vintage-computer.com - My personal collection
www.vcfed.org - The Vintage Computer Federation
www.vcfed.org/forum <http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum> - The Vintage
Computer Forums
marketplace.vintage-computer.com - The Vintage Computer and Gaming

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