Collaboration for Chicamacomico

While most of our group escaped the dreary day by working busily inside, Reid Thomas and others inspected the site's structures.

On February 5th C2C multiplied by coordinating a collaboration for Chicamacomico Life Saving Station (C4C). The site had suffered a good deal of damage in August 2011’s Hurricane Irene. Staff members from across North Carolina’s Department of Cultural Resources joined together with local National Park Service staff, students and instructors from Edgecombe Community College’s Historic Preservation Technology program, and other volunteers to focus on Chicamacomico’s imperilled artifact collection. A total of 20 workers devoted an entire Sunday to help the site.

Though the force of the hurricane lifted several of Chicamacomico’s buildings off their pilings, the collection objects inside did not sustain direct damage. An inventory constituted the collection’s biggest need and a primary disaster preparedness measure. In addition, a lack of climate control continually threatens those objects, such as wool uniforms and corroded metals, that are especially susceptible to high RH levels. 

Martha Battle Jackson and James Charlet

Martha Battle Jackson, Curator for NC Historic Sites, led the charge by developing a numerical tracking system to apply to each object during the inventory. Because many of Chicamacomico’s records are stored at the Outer Banks History Center, there is a chance that some collection objects can be matched later with accession information and eventually receive accession numbers, reflecting the years of their donation. Jackson worked with Chicamacomico’s Site Managers James Charlet and Linda Molloy to designate numbers  for the teams of inventoriers to assign to individual artifacts. 

C2C's Michelle Vaughn paired up with Lida Atkinson to inventory objects on exhibit.

Pairs of inventoriers worked steadily throughout the day and documented nearly 250 objects. Many of the artifacts were in exhibition cases and could not be tagged. Instead, teams photographed and recorded each one on worksheets for later entry into a database for Chicamacomico.

John Campbell records while Andrea Gabriel photographs and Linda Molloy advises.

Several of the site’s closets contained stored collection items. In those cases, inventoriers tied tyvek tags, marked with zig pens, to each object with Glide dental floss.

According to the tracking number system, each number began with “CLSS” (Chicamacomico Life Saving Station), followed by a letter indicating the building location, a number indicating a room within that building, and a sequential number within that room.

A tracking number is visible behind inventoriers George Strawley and Monika Fleming.


About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on February 14, 2012, in collections access, collections care, collections management, Connecting to Collections, disaster preparedness, historic sites, hurricanes, workshops and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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