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Historic Mobile Preservation Society (Mobile, AL 36604-2910)
Melanie Thornton (Project Director: May 2015 to April 2017)
General Collections Assessment at the Historic Mobile Preservation Society

A general conservation assessment of the collections housed in the Historic Oakleigh House, a circa 1833 Greek Revival house museum, and the archival collection housed in the Minnie Mitchell Archives building, constructed in 1980.  Two conservators, one specializing in furniture and woodwork and the other in paper-based collections, would review the museum’s holdings and provide the organization a first assessment with which to plan for future preservation.  Highlights of the collection include a Thomas Sully portrait of Madame Octavia LeVert, a portrait of actor Edwin Booth, and several personal items of James C. Calhoun, including his ink well and hair bracelet.  The artifacts and archives support interpretive programs on the antebellum South for 4,000 visitors annually, as well as for students of public history, art history, and material culture at the University of Southern Alabama, Springhill College, and the University of Mobile.

The grant will provide funds for the Historic Mobile Preservation Society to hire conservation specialists to conduct a general assessment of the museum and archival collections housed at the Historic Oakleigh House and the Minnie Mitchell Archives. The museum and archival collection are significant in learning and interpreting the history of Mobile, a 300-year-old port city along the Gulf Coast. With over 1,150 artifacts and roughly 12,500 archival items, the collection is representative of various time periods of Mobile's history, with the primary focus on 1840-1860. The collection is a primary resource for scholars, students, authors and historians, who are researching the history of Mobile. Through our university partnerships, the collection at HMPS is integral to the post-secondary humanities education in Mobile. With the recently adopted Collections Management Policy, a collections assessment is the vital next step in long-term planning for preservation and care of the collection.

Project fields:
African American History; Art History and Criticism; U.S. Regional Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017