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Grant number: PG-52368-14

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Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, MO 63166-0299)
Andrew Colligan (Project Director: May 2013 to present)

Preservation Assessment of the Missouri Botanical Garden Archives

A preservation assessment of the applicant's archival holdings comprising over 3,000 linear feet of historical records, journals, photographs, publications, oral histories, artwork, and architectural drawings. The materials document the early history of St. Louis, including westward expansion, regional commerce, and the Civil War and highlight the Botanical Garden's nationally prominent role in the early development of botanical sciences. Included is correspondence from Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, and Julian Steyermark, widely regarded as the most prolific plant collector in history. The materials have been used actively by humanities scholars and in exhibitions, including recent traveling exhibits on the history of the Mississippi River, produced by the Minnesota Historical Society, and on the Lewis and Clark expedition, produced by the Virginia Historical Society.

Missouri Botanical Garden Archives collections include historic manuscripts, photographs, drawings, and artifacts, supporting the study of the humanities by documenting early St. Louis cultural and social history, commerce, growth, westward expansion, the Civil War, and document the role the MBG came to play in early botanical science. MBG Archives serve scientists, historians, educators, students, and the general public in humanities research by preserving and sharing histories, ideas, and research to foster a better understanding of nature for the benefit of society. Deficiencies in the current archives facility have hampered our ability to serve in this capacity and have begun to threaten the sustainability of the archive. Studying and addressing factors that ensure the long term preservation of collections and provide researchers and the public improved access and collection utilization are of paramount concern. We seek funds to hire a consultant to perform a general preservation assessment to enable the archive to address ongoing needs, identify deficiencies, and create a long term plan to guide future care of the archive.

Project fields:
History of Science; History, General; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

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

Grant period:
1/1/2014 – 7/31/2015