Preserving Our Precious Past
Nebraska's 1.7 million history-loving citizens are served by more than 600 not-for-profit museums. Unfortunately, 86 percent of museum staff members have little or no training in artifact conservation.
"That's the mission of our program," explains Terry Dugas, manager of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications' Learning Services. He's talking about Saving Nebraska's Treasures, an educational outreach program teaching conservation techniques to Nebraskans.
The project targets two key audiences: average citizens eager to preserve their families' artifacts and the staff and volunteers of small museums and libraries across the state.
The project finds strength in the cooperation of three key organizations: the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Nebraska Library Commission, and the statewide public television network Nebraska Educational Telecommunications.
An accompanying television program also demonstrates preservation techniques in a kind of mini Antiques Roadshow format. In later phases, videoconferencing will be incorporated. Through these activities and a complementary Web site, the project helps Nebraskans save personal and public historical materials and educate staff in cultural heritage institutions in conservation techniques. It also increases community knowledge and appreciation of the past.
"We feel it will have a long-term impact on the people of Nebraska," says Dugas.