Country Doctor Museum receives conservation books and online resources from national agency
The museum is the oldest in the United States dedicated to the history of America's rural health care. The collection includes more than 5,000 medical artifacts and volumes of historic texts gathered from across the nation. Exhibits, like the one pictured, highlight the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century. Photo by Cliff Hollis.
(June 22, 2009)
Treasured objects and artifacts at the Country Doctor Museum will be preserved for future generations with help from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The institute recently awarded the museum its “Connecting to Collections Bookshelf,” a core set of conservation books and online resources, in cooperation with the American Association of State and Local History.
The Country Doctor Museum is one of 19 museums or libraries in North Carolina, and 3,000 nationwide, to receive the award.
“The IMLS Bookshelf will provide immediate, up-to-date information when questions or problems come up requiring informed answers,” said Anne Anderson, curator of the Country Doctor Museum. “The IMLS Bookshelf would have proven valuable when a broken heart pressure monitor leaked beads of mercury out of its storage box onto the floor, when 25 boxes of medical antiques were left anonymously on the front porch, or when rainwater from a coastal tropical storm flooded one of our buildings. With our limited staff, the IMLS Bookshelf will offer expert advice and guidance in times of urgent need.”
The institute’s bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art and history museums and in libraries’ special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens and nature centers. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness and culturally specific conservation issues.
The resource series is a crucial component of “Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action,” a conservation initiative launched by the institute in 2006. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative puts a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America’s collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.
The Country Doctor Museum is operated by East Carolina University’s Laupus Library. For more information, call 252-235-4165 or visit the Web site at www.countrydoctormuseum.org.