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Grant number: PG-233775-16

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Mechanics' Institute (San Francisco, CA 94104-5003)
Deborah Hunt (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Mechanics' Institute Archives and Special Collections Preservation Assessment

A preservation assessment of the institute’s archives and special collections as well an evaluation of the institute’s disaster preparedness plans and staff training. The collections encompass four diverse subjects related to the 160 years history of the Mechanics’ Institute: the history of California and the San Francisco Bay Area; the development of industry in the western United States; the world of international and domestic chess; and the institute’s organizational records (membership records, minutes, exhibition reports). Comprising more than 8,500 book and periodicals, over 1,500 digital and analog photographs, and approximately 4,500 maps, atlases, gazetteers and other artifacts, the collections are heavily used for academic and popular research.

The goal of this project is to perform a comprehensive assessment of and disaster preparedness plan for the Mechanics' Institute (MI) archives and special collections for their continued preservation, management, and access. Since 1854, the MI has amassed a diverse collection of books, papers, photographs, and ephemera related to the history of California and the San Francisco Bay Area, the development of industry in the West, and the world of international and domestic chess. MI's archive of membership records, Board of Trustee minutes and industrial exhibition reports reflect the history and growth of the region from the gold miners to the present. The effort to organize, preserve and allow access to these collections has been lacking until recently; in the last year steps have been taken to collect, organize and inventory existing items. This project is the next logical step.

Project fields:
American Literature; U.S. History; U.S. Regional Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017