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Grant number: PG-52494-15

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Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, PA 19380-2658)
Heather Hansen (Project Director: May 2014 to present)

Conservation Assessment of Historical Iron Artifacts Collection

Hiring a consultant to undertake a conservation assessment of a collection of 1,500 iron artifacts dating from the early history of Chester County, Pennsylvania.  The objects, mostly utilitarian, range from blacksmith’s tools and agricultural implements to kitchen utensils and firearms, and document the iron industry in the Delaware Valley from the colonial period through the present.  The historical society, along with nearby historic furnaces, as well as the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum, tells the story of the development of iron and steel industries and of weapon production in the area.  A new gallery focusing on “Industry and Creativity” is planned for opening in 2016 and will feature the local iron industry. The collection is widely used by students, teachers, and researchers from nearby colleges, universities, and local history organizations.

Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) requests a Preservation Assistance Grant to fund a conservation assessment of its ferrous metal (iron) collection. The assessment will be implemented by consulting objects conservator Linda Lennon and will result in recommendations for improved storage of the collection as well as condition surveys with treatment recommendations and priorities for individual objects. As part of the CCHS match, staff and volunteers will photograph and catalog the objects for improved documentation. The collection contains approximately 1,500 artifacts either made completely of ferrous metal or composite objects with a ferrous metal component. They tell the story of industry and everyday life. Iron has a rich and early history in Chester County due to extensive iron ore deposits, dense hardwood forests for fuel, and plentiful water power. CCHS’ mission-focused collections offer the most complete resource for understanding this region’s history.

Project fields:
Arts, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

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

Grant period:
1/1/2015 – 6/30/2016