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On the Road: Moving the Archives 0 Comment(s)

You've probably heard the historic synagogue is moving again -- but did you know the Society's archival collections need to move first? The collections will remain off-site for several years while the synagogue is relocated to its new home and we build our new museum facility.

How do you move an archive?

For the last several months, staff and volunteers have been conducting inventories, updating catalog records, preparing detailed condition reports and photographs of all the objects, and re-housing and packing collections in acid-free storage boxes.

What is moving?

More than 500 linear feet of archival documents, 500 historic artifacts, 5,000 photographs, 75 scrapbooks, and historic furnishings including stained glass windows, synagogue pews, light fixtures, and even the chandelier in the sanctuary will be moved out of the synagogue.

How will the collections be moved?

The collections will be packed by experienced art handlers and transported in a climate-controlled, air-ride truck.

Acid-free document boxes house the archival collections. The boxes will be placed in commercial bins lined with special archival foam for extra cushioning during transit, and then set on shelving in the storage facility.

Large items including historic pews and stained glass windows will be soft-packed using a combination of virgin polyethylene, cardboard, bubble wrap, and blankets.

Where will the collections be housed?

Collections Committee touring the off-site storage facility

A museum-services company will store the collections in their facility with museum-level security, fire protection, and 24/7 climate control. The collections will be kept in a controlled-access storage vault where our staff will be able to access and work with the collections at any time.

After visiting the facility earlier this year, Merrill Lavine, a museum registrar and Collections Committee member, reported, "I've worked with collections at several local fine arts companies and none of them are close to what this company offers in terms of professionalism, service, attention to detail, and personal pride in their business."

Will the archives be accessible to researchers?

The archives will be closed beginning May 10, 2016. Limited research service via telephone and email may be available in the next several months while we complete the move. We plan to re-open to researchers in September 2016, but anticipate that research requests will require several days advance notice to allow for retrieval of materials. Please check our website for updates.

Close-up of iron gate outside the historic synagogue

What will happen to the fence, our only outdoor collection item, that surrounds the synagogue?

Designed and built by Gichner Ironworks in 1975, the beautiful iron fence will be removed, restored, and a portion re-installed at the synagogue's eventual new site at 3rd and F Streets.

We're very excited to set this move in motion and progress along towards building our new museum!