Announcing Changes to Collections Access and Curator Services, effective November 1, 2021
Posted October 8, 2021

By Becky Preiss Odom, History Curator/Manager, Curatorial Department

Ohio History Connection cares for more than 1.7 million objects that help preserve Ohio’s past and present. They include archaeological artifacts, historical items, and natural history specimens. As with many museums, only a small percentage of these objects are on exhibit, though we are lucky to have more exhibit space than most at the Ohio History Center in Columbus and our more than 50 sites throughout the State of Ohio. We keep the vast majority of the items in our collections storage facility in Columbus where they are available to staff, researchers, other museum professionals, and members of the public.

Our current collections facility consists of a series of repurposed warehouse buildings that are not ideal for storing museum collections. Thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated staff and Board members and support from the State of Ohio, we’ve secured funds to build a new storage facility on the campus of the Ohio History Center!

As outlined in our strategic plan, the new collections facility will be designed and constructed over the next three years. This facility will house our Natural History and a portion of our History object collections. Our curators, collections managers, and registrars will also have their workspaces in this building. In the future we will add on more storage space to the building and move Archaeology and remaining History collections when that space is completed.

Because of the extensive time required to prepare collections for this move, our object curators’ time will be more limited. Some key work will continue, some work will be paused or reduced, and we will take this opportunity to eliminate some tasks that no longer align with our roles in the organization. This project will not impact access to the Library & Archives collections or the Ohio History Center Reading Room. For more information about these collections, go to https://ohiohistory.libguides.com/home.

What can you expect?

We will continue work related to the collections, work we’re required by law to do, and some public programming. This includes caring for the existing collections, evaluating and accepting donations of items, reviewing and approving permit requests, and conducting archaeology at our sites. We’ll be doing less programming, but our curators will still be sharing their expertise and talking about our amazing collections in presentations, at collections tables, and in our weekly blog posts.

Because we will begin packing our collections in the near future, it will be difficult for us to access the items or provide access to others. Starting November 1, 2021, we will be pausing all functions that require access to the collections. We will not be answering questions related to our collections or providing access to the items or the current storage facility for research or public tours. Most types of objects will not be available for loan or exhibit for the duration of the project.

Many of you contact us for assistance identifying and preserving items you find in and around your homes. We share your enthusiasm for learning and preserving Ohio’s heritage, but we will no longer be answering these types of questions. Instead, we’ve created a guide that lists our favorite resources to help answer your questions or direct your own research. Found a fossil? Want to know more about a projectile point? Need help preserving a quilt? Resources to answer these and many more questions are in our online resource guide located at https://ohiohistory.libguides.com/objectresearch.

Questions? Please contact the Curatorial Team at [email protected]. We appreciate your patience and understanding and look forward to working with you again in the future!

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