First Day of Seasonal Public Closing…Mark I on the Wall

So, it is the first day of our seasonal closing. (Yes, we are still working here at KHS. The seasonal closing doesn’t mean the organization is shut down or that we are turning off any lights.) To be honest, the staff here at KHS has been working towards this day in anticipation for weeks now, so it is a bit surprising to wake up this morning to find us actually here – those of us not snowed out, that is. I know we have been talking in this blog about what we plan on doing and how we are setting goals to make sure we accomplish those plans as we are sacrificing continual public hours for 3 months.

To give you some insight into the minds of the worker bees, I can tell you we are disappointed to not be able to keep the doors open for everyone to come in and see us for these winter months. We enjoy our interaction with the public and truly want to offer access to our collections and continue on with those educationally encouraging moments with youth of various ages. That is the bitter part of the closing, the sweet part is that we can now devote some serious time to making those collections accessible in the future.

This doesn’t mean that we have lost or misplaced any collections, I know we keep talking about “finding” things, but what we are really saying is that we are going to do a more detailed inventory. All of those records from 50 years ago that say “flag” or “journal” or “image of man on horse,” we are going to go through and detail a flag of what, a journal by whom and what was that guy doing on a horse anyway?  We are also planning on getting more of these collections – at a more detailed level – in our catalog, where you can search for them from home. OR in our digital catalog, where you can view them from home.

(IMAGE, right: The special collections and library staff are working on cataloging microfilm for all of the counties. You can tell what we have done as of today.)

Unfortunately, because of budget cuts in the last few years – as I am sure you are tired of hearing about – we don’t have the staff to effectively do both–keep the doors open year round AND created detailed level of online access for our collections. To strike a balance between the two, here we are – doors closed to walk-ins for a few months. BUT, for groups of 10 or more, including researchers, school groups, etc… we will open up for you with some advanced notice. We are also open the second Saturday for January and February, so plan your trips around that. We would love to show you what we have been doing while we were away.

(Image, left– Behind the scenes, the museum collections and exhibition team is keeping track of their progress on this wall-size chart. You can see the points already accomplished.)

My goals are developing projects and writing lots of grant applications, as well as catching up on our recent oral history collections donations in our record keeping software, PastPerfect, as well as beginning my new skill of cataloging oral history collections into our catalog. I want you to know what the 10,000 items we have in our oral history archive are – other than awesome, that is. I don’t want a repeat of what a student doing research in our library told me a few months ago, which was “the only reason I knew this oral history collection was here was because someone told me about it.”

I can’t wait for the day when that isn’t an issue. Thanks to the tough decision to adopt seasonal hours for 3 years, hopefully that will be a non-issue by 2014.

Of course, we will be updating you on our “findings” as we move on with the inventory/cataloging process. Keep checking back in and don’t be afraid to let us know what you think…seriously.