I’m writing to tell you more about how we are preparing for the move to the Archives and Research Center (ARC) at Munroe Tavern. We will be opening a bit later than originally planned – but fear not! Plans are well underway to get the archives up and running in the next few months, and we are so excited to finally get to share our new building with the public!
First, we are happy to announce that in October, we had our custom designed compact shelving installed in the basement vaults, as well as additional fixed shelving and locking gun cabinets. We also received the metal bookcases ordered for our reading room on the first floor and the rare bookshelves for the second floor. Additionally, we ordered and assembled several metal processing tables that will be used primarily by our volunteers and interns in our processing room. In October, we purchased two large exhibit cases that will be located in the reading room, and we also received a donation of two table exhibit cases from the International Museum of World War II that recently closed in Natick.
We are still waiting to receive some additional wire shelving for both the second floor of the ARC and the basement vaults, as well as metal flat file map drawers for the second floor. Our window treatments, special ordered for our unique windows, will be installed the third week of November. As you can see, preparations have certainly been underway and are nearly complete!
On to the move itself! This project has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended), and we have split it up into “phases” to keep each step straight.
Phase One, weather permitting, will be taking place this Wednesday, November 20. This phase will involve moving most archival collections from the current archives, located in the Hancock-Clarke House basement, into the new archival compact shelving at the ARC. This includes our reading room browsing library and our rare book collection. We will then spend the next few weeks arranging the collections in the new space at the ARC, as well as rearranging the old archival storage spaces at Hancock-Clarke in preparation for Phase Two.
Phase Two will involve moving large framed artwork, signs, and any exhibit related materials that had previously been stored at Munroe Tavern to the old Hancock-Clarke archives (which will now be freed up after Phase One is complete). An exciting thing to point out about this collections move is that we are not losing any space that we already had – we are just gaining additional space! So, we will be re-purposing the Hancock-Clarke archival vaults in order to store these oversize materials that are not accessed frequently. The Phase Two move will be completed by fine arts handlers at T. E. Andreson in order to assure the safety of these items while in transit. Phase Two is planned for late December or early January.
After Phase Two, and in preparation for Phase Three, we will be moving most of the technology, including computers, scanners, and the server, from Hancock-Clarke archives into the new spaces in the ARC. Any remaining collections items at the ARC that have not yet been placed on shelving will be arranged on the new wire shelving (which will, at this point, have been delivered and installed). The staff offices will be prepared and furnished, and the processing room will be prepared for volunteer work spaces.
Phase Three is the final phase, and it is tentatively scheduled for January 28, 2020. This is the least intensive phase, and it involves moving all extraneous items left at Hancock-Clarke archives after Phase One to the ARC (such as filing cabinets, oversize map files, and any remaining archival collections). All remaining office furniture at Hancock-Clarke archives will either be moved to the ARC or disposed of, and the office spaces will also be re-purposed for collections storage.
By this time, when all three phases are complete, it will likely be early February. At that point, we will spend the next several weeks putting the finishing touches on our public reading room space, as well as updating object and box locations in our database, thereby allowing us to accommodate researchers and research requests. We expect these preparations to be completed so that we can be fully open to the public by late spring or early summer of 2020. We look forward to welcoming you into the archives’ new home!
-Elizabeth Mubarek, Archives Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.