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Volume 24, Number 5 — May 2017

ETSU Museum receives "Connecting to Collections Bookshelf'

A Core Set of Conservation Books and Online Resources

June 26, 2009

GRAY, TN The East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil Site has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) "Connecting to Collections Bookshelf," a core set of conservation books and online resources that will help the museum to preserve its treasured objects and artifacts for future generations.

The IMLS has now awarded almost 3,000 free sets of the Bookshelf in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History.

"We are pleased and honored to be chosen to receive this important collection," said Jeanne Zavada, director of the museum. "As a new museum established to preserve and care for fossils, particularly those from the Gray Fossil Site, we take our responsibilities very seriously, and this collection of resources will definitely help."

The young museum, which opened Labor Day weekend in 2007, has already hosted over 150,000 visitors, scholars, students and research scientists from all over the world in the ensuing 22 months. In addition to ETSU employees, the museum is staffed with volunteers who provide tours and perform other vital functions for the state entity.

"When IMLS launched this initiative to improve the dire state of our nation's collections, we understood that the materials gathered for the Bookshelf would serve as important tools for museums, libraries and archives nationwide," said Anne-Imelda Radice, IMLS director. "We were both pleased and encouraged by the overwhelming interest of institutions prepared to answer the call to action, and we know that with their dedication, artifacts from our shared history will be preserved for future generations."

The ETSU and GSB Natural History Museum will receive this essential set of resources based on an application describing the needs and plans for the care of its collections. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or 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 IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of "Connecting to Collections" a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006 in response to a 2005 study it released in partnership with Heritage Preservation entitled A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of these collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. It works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

The ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and is located 1.8 miles off the I-26 Gray Exit 13. For information, call toll-free 1-866-202-6223 or visit www.grayfossilmuseum.com. To learn more about the IMLS, visit www.imls.gov.