REACHED FOR MUSEUM COLLECTION
In the mid-1990s, the Museum acquired a computer program called PastPerfect to help digitally inventory, catalogue, and index all existing records. It may seem from like a straight forward task, but this could not be further from the truth. With over 8,000 artifacts and nearly 5,000 donors and contacts (all of whom also get recorded), a wide range of skills is required. Successful completion of this project requires a working knowledge of complex computer software, historical interpretation, organization, and above all, patience.
This process begins with the collection and organization of all paper records housed throughout the facility; then a plan is established for the systematic entry of the data into the computer. As the project moves along from there each entry requires a detailed report of each record, with details, descriptions, years, related information, numbers, related artifacts, and myriad other facts that need to be filled in. Maintaining consistency in projects like this is what most museums find to be the biggest challenge of all. Luckily for the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, we have a hero.
For the last two years Connie Allendorf has headed this project. She has done a fantastic job. And just recently, she has reached a very important milestone: every single object and document has been entered into the computer, all with associated years, dates, people, search terms, and related objects. Her efforts are greatly appreciated and have already served to benefit staff, volunteers, as well as innumerable guests. “The software has strong search capabilities. Searches can be done by: donor name, artifact name or number, year range, location within the Museum, and so much more,” she said. “Museum staff can access this database from any computer in the museum. And there is a computer in the gift shop dedicated to the PastPerfect program, from which the public can do their personal research.” Allendorf’s salary and the public computer and workstation was underwritten by generous grants from The Galena Foundation and the Galena State Bank & Trust Co.
We all want to take this opportunity to thank Kris Chapman and her team of generously dedicated volunteers who have been working on photographing and imaging all of these artifacts as well. As of now, over 6,000 images have been entered into PastPerfect with their corresponding digital record.
A great many thanks are due to all involved with this milestone, as the Society strides headlong into the future and strives to preserve the treasures of the past.