Preserving the Paper Past of the Town of Essex

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Start Date: Apr 9 2008
Location: Essex Shipbuilding Museum



Essex History Meeting

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

7:00 PM at the Waterline Center

Essex Shipbuilding Museum

‘Preserving the Paper Past of the Town of Essex’

Irreplaceable and unique historical documents dating from the 1700’s are stored within the Essex Town Hall. These archives include documents relating to the history, people, institutions, government, businesses, and built and natural environments of the Town of Essex.

Recent public interest and support from the Town has initiated a small project designed to stabilize and organize these archives.

This program, presented by Anne Bevan, will address the overall scope of this project, the first phase of the project, progress to date, the plan for completing the second phase, and what the future holds.

Admission is free.

Additional information:

Irreplaceable unique historical documents dating from the 1700’s are stored in various locations within the Essex Town Hall. These archives include documents relating to the history, people, institutions, government, businesses, and built and natural environments of the Town of Essex. The storage and preservation of these town documents has been a problem for some time. Recent public interest and support from the Town has initiated a small project designed to stabilize and organize these archives. While the optimal solution to the storage issue would likely involve creating a new archival storage facility, this small, low-cost project attempts to stabilize the archives in the town hall until a more permanent solution is addressed.

Many of the documents are being stored in a vault in the basement of the town hall. These records have been exposed to high levels of moisture and varying temperatures for many years- conditions that increase deterioration and damage by mold and moisture. For this reason, the materials stored in the vault have been given first priority. The project has been broken down into two parts: the stabilization of the storage environment and the stabilization and organization of the archive materials.

Over the last year, efforts have been made to stabilize the environment in the basement vault and assess the condition of the records. We are working to clean and reorganize the records stored in the vault. It has been a dirty and time-consuming process but we have found many old and interesting documents that have since been moved to safer storage. We have also identified documents that would benefit from professional attention to ensure their long-term survival.

The next phase of the project, starting in the spring 2008, will be to index the context of the vault and organize and store the materials in a safe and logical manner to not only protect the materials from the damaging environment of the vault, but also make them ready to be accessed by the public or town officials.