The Oysterponds Historical Society was awarded a grant for $53,330 from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation to develop a comprehensive collections care plan.
The society will receive the money in December but work has already started. Three consultants were hired to evaluate all seven buildings on the OHS campus.
“The Gardiner Foundation has been unbelievably generous,” said Elsbeth Dowd, special projects manager for OHS.
“We don’t have the best storage facility, yet we’ve got some wonderful resources out in Orient and East Marion,” she added. “We want to make the best of those resources.”
The consultants will be looking into a fire suppression system for the buildings and collections. Michael Devonshire and Kurt Hirschberg from Jan Hird Pokorny Associates and Rainey Tisdale, co-founder of the Active Collections movement, will be the main consultants on this project.
OHS holds significant collections representing Orient and East Marion. Collections range from the 17th century through the present day, including archival documents and photographs, fine art, textiles, baskets, furniture, carriages, sleighs and an iceboat, according to a press release.
“We want to respect our existing buildings and the layout of the campus that currently exists,” Ms. Dowd said, adding that they consider the buildings themselves exhibits.
“We want to respect the resources of our donors of our community and try to come up with the most cost-effective solution possible for caring for our collections,” she said.
The consultants will also show OHS how to prioritize their collections and help them ensure there is an appropriate HVAC system in place. OHS hopes to create a comprehensive plan for the entire campus that provides a more welcoming experience for visitors, better storage for its collections, and a programming and exhibition space.
Work should be finished by February, Ms. Dowd said.
“Thank you to the Gardiner Foundation board and to Gardiner Foundation executive director Kathryn Curran for this grant,” said Ed Caufield and Leslie Koch, co-presidents of the OHS board, in a press release. “With their support, OHS will be able to develop the right plan to protect and preserve our collections.”