by: Susan Baker Leavitt, Collections Manager
The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is more than a collection of historic buildings and furnishings. The rich human history of the site has resulted in a collection of written material, photographs, videos, and film that is varied, unique and significant to the of the site and area.
This historic material – the Archives Collection – is comprised of documents including Caroline Emmerton’s original handwritten, Nathaniel and Sophia (Peabody) Hawthorne letters, Settlement-related photographs, oral histories, a slew of books, including many first editions, and much, much more.
We host over 100,000 visitors a year and receive many requests from the public, students, scholars and publications for access to our and archives. Currently, access to archives information is limited due to the lack of an organizing framework and appropriate documentation. Adding to that, the archives are not housed in an easily accessible location.
In 2019 the Gables was awarded a grant by the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) for a strategic assessment and program review as a step towards our goal of establishing a robust archival program that adheres to best practices. Their findings are
helping us plan the next steps in establishing policies and organization that will enable us to
- Care for and store the material according to the latest archival standards,
- Inventory and process the material so we know what we have, where it is, and what it’s
- Work with board members to create a detailed archival policy, including guidelines for
how born-digital and institutional records are managed,
- Establish well-monitored environmental controls.
We’re in the very early stages of establishing intellectual control over the archival collection. Stay tuned – there will be much more to share as we embark on this multi-year project!Tags: archives, historic preservation, preservation, research, salem history, shrab, state historical records board
This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop