Following recommendations from a preservation assessment, and with ongoing involvement of preservation, engineering, and facilities management specialists, the Museum developed a comprehensive preservation plan that included installation of environmental controls and reorganization of collection spaces. In 2010, we successfully raised $90,000 to complete the HVAC project, and installed environmental controls in six collection storage rooms.
The HVAC project, as well as other renovations identified within our preservation plan, is particularly important to the Library & Archives. The L&A collection has grown at a dramatic rate over the years, becoming one of the greatest aerospace research information resources in the world, now the third largest in the United States. However, because of this dramatic growth, archived records were stored in five remote rooms within the main Museum site, and at two off-site locations. This posed a significant problem for retrieval, collection care, and overall security.
The L&A has developed a comprehensive space plan for all of our collection storage areas, which is expected to improve efficiency by over 200%. In January 2011, the L&A installed customized and mechanically operated shelving in the Film Archives. The project was funded by two local philanthropic organizations, Las Patronas and The Parker Foundation. The L&A has identified the Archival Collection Room, also known as the Caged-in Area, as the next high priority renovation.
To deal with space limitations and to better organize the collection, the L&A has begun to relocate its collections to consolidate like-materials. As an example, the technical manual collection has been relocated from four locations and consolidated into a single space, currently being inventoried, preserved, and cataloged. Also, the L&A’s blueprint and drawings collection was moved from four locations to the Archival Collection Room, the area next planned for renovation.
Through reorganizing and renovating the collection storage areas, the Museum will be able to improve efficiency in preservation, security, and accessibility. In 2013, the L&A began a fundraising campaign to renovate the Archival Collection Room. The project includes the installation of compact shelving and construction of surrounding walls. To date, $154,000 has been raised. Renovation activity is currently staged in steps, utilizing available funding, and currently the walls surrounding the area have been constructed.