Item Level Assessment of the NHS Collection

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Northfield Historical Society
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
March 2013
End Date
June 2014
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview
To conduct an item-level conditions assessment of the museum collections.
Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Minnesota Historical Society Governing Board: William R. Stoeri, President Missy S. Thompson, Vice President Ruth Huss, Vice President D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary Dean M. Nelson, Treasurer Suzanne Blue Brenda J. Child Robert Bruininks Judith S. Corson D. Stephen Elliott Phyllis Rawls Goff William D. Green David R. Hakensen Ruth S. Huss Martha Kaemmer Dennis L. Lamkin David M. Larson Charles Mahar Dean M. Nelson Elizabeth M. Nordlie Dennis Nguyen Peter R. Reis Hussein Samatar Simon Stevens Susan Kenny Stevens William R. Stoeri Karen Wilson Thissen Missy Staples Thompson Eleanor Winston Ex-Officio: Mark Dayton, Governor Yvonne Prattner Solon Lieutenant Governor Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State Lori Swanson, Attorney General Rebecca Otto, State Auditor
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Historic Resources Advisory Committee Mark Peterson, Winona (Chair) - Executive Director, Winona County Historical Society - Governor's appointee to Minnesota Sesquicentennial and Minnesota Humanities Commissions - Qualified in history, historic preservation and history museum administration Leanne Brown, Eden Prairie - Director of Development, Carver County Library/Library Foundation - Formerly, Executive Director, Carver County Historical Society - Qualified in history, project management and museum studies Jack Byers, Minneapolis - Manager, Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED) - Manages CPED's Preservation and Design Section - Qualified in historic preservation, architecture, urban geography and planning Tamara Edevold, Bagley - Executive Director, Clearwater County Historical Society - Active in Minnesota's Historic Northwest, regional historical organization - Qualified in history, archaeology, anthropology and history museum administration Ram Gada, Eden Prairie - Engineer - Active in the documentation of Minnesota's East Indian community - State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), former member - Qualified in engineering, energy consulting and grants administration William Latady, Tower - Bois Forte Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer - Curator, Bois Forte Heritage Museum - Qualified in archaeology, anthropology, historic preservation and history museum administration Benjamin Vander Kooi, Luverne - Attorney practicing as Vander Kooi Law Offices, P.A., in Luverne, MN - Active in Vote Yes! Campaign - Past chair, MN State Arts Board - Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation - Qualified in historic preservation, nonprofit and grants administration Brenda Child, Minneapolis - Chair, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota - Enrolled member, Red Lake Nation - Qualified in history, American Studies and American Indian Studies Nicole Foss, Bemidji - Executive Director, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji, MN - Qualified in anthropology, historical archaeology, library and museum fields Kris Kiesling, Roseville - Director of Archives and Special Collections at University of MN Libraries - State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) member - Qualified in library and archives, digital services and history Jan Louwagie, Marshall - Coordinator, Southwest Minnesota Regional Research Center, Southwest Minnesota State University - Founding member of Society for the Study of Local and Regional History - Former member of State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) - Qualified in history and archival administration Ann Meline, Saint Cloud - Deputy Director, Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud - Formerly Assistant Director/Public Programs managing Exhibits, Collections and Education Departments - Former grant reviewer for Institute of Museum and Library Services - Qualified in history, nonprofit and museum administration Peter Reis, White Bear Lake - President, White Bear Lake Area Historical Society - Chair, Minnesota Historical Society's Grants Review Committee - Qualified in history and nonprofit and grants administration William Stoeri, Minneapolis - Ex-officio member (president of the MHS Board) Missy Staples Thompson, Saint Paul - Ex-officio member (treasurer of the MHS Board)
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants.
Appropriation Language

Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. $5,250,000 the first year and $5,250,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Short Term Measurable Outcomes

At the conclusion of the physical assessment of the collection, a good deal of time was spent analyzing the notes that were made on the changes that needed to be made in the collection to improve preservation. A summary report was written highlighting major portions of the collection providing details on the current conditions of the collection. That report will be used moving forward to measure how far NHS is progressing on its quest for improvement.

Even more important to NHS than the summary of current conditions is the pair of reports that were written noting projects that can be undertaken to improve preservation within the collection. During the assessment, similar improvements were observed to be needed throughout the collection. These similar needs formed the basis of the project reports. Many of these projects can be packaged, so-to-speak, for funding from target audiences and select grants. Interns and volunteers can be matched to needed projects so that the improvements can be made in an orderly manner. The reports outline exactly what improvement is needed in which capacity in the collection. They remove the guess work from short and long term planning, something that was greatly needed for NHS moving forward. The intellectual control gained from knowing where the deficiencies are will drive future choices and will ultimately improve the overall condition of the collection.

Long Term Measurable Outcomes

NHS undertook the box-level assessment to observe current conditions of the collection and to understand the needs of the collection to improve preservation. With no concrete knowledge of what needs the collection had, it was believed that the improvements would be minimal and could reasonably be completed within a five-year timeframe. Completing the assessment has changed this belief. Evidence of the scope and magnitude of the improvements that are needed in the collection since completing the assessment could very well demand a much lengthier timeline for completion. This was not the outcome the staff as NHS foresaw, but it is a reasonable, fact-based expectation grounded on the completed assessment and the reports generated from it if staffing levels remain the same. However, on the positive side, NHS has gained a much clearer picture of the needs of the collection from this assessment on which to base long term planning no matter how long completion of these projects take.

Recipient Board Members
Debby Nitz, Christian Hakala, Michele Reese, Jodi Lawson, Sam Demas, David Neuger, Alex Beeby, Sarah Beimers, Heather Scott, Jane McWilliams, Susannah Ottaway, Alice Thomas, Scott Richardson, Jim Christensen, Lisa Peterson
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Northfield Historical Society
Street Address
408 Division Street
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155