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Surgeon kit of Dr. Lee Smith, 26th president of the McLean County Medical Society.

This holiday season, the McLean County Museum of History is raising $5,500 to upgrade our collections storage space to further meet museum and archival standards and ensure our collections are preserved for future generations. Our collection contains more than 20,000 objects donated from local residents of McLean County and beyond.

Over 26 years ago the Museum relocated to the Old Courthouse in Downtown Bloomington. Converting the building into a museum was challenging, but completed effectively to house the vast and growing collection of objects. However, residing in a historical building still poses unique storage problems--despite our best efforts, the building cooperates when it wants to and occasionally the result is a leaky pipe or drafty window that allows in water, pests, and dirt. After 26 years, we need your help to improve our collection storage to ensure the collection is preserved for generations to come.

The picture above shows a Civil War surgeon's kit donated by Dr. Lee Smith in 1917. Despite the attention of Museum staff, after nearly 100 years in our collection, temperature fluctuations and building relocation have damaged the kit beyond repair. We can, however, learn from this kit's damage. While it will never be displayed for the public, it highlights the necessity of improving the storage spaces over time.

Several simple but effective solutions can be implemented immediately to maintain the collection spaces. Doors can be sealed with door sweeps and windows can be sealed with new caulk, and new window treatments will also include a protective plastic film and painted plywood covers to better insulate them.

Some extra precautions will also be taken including: using chemical safe Identi-pens for object numbers, covering existing shelves with plastic so that water may not drip onto objects, and hygrothermographs will be purchased to aid the HVAC and alert staff of any temperature and humidity fluctuations.

With your help raising $5,500 we can purchase the supplies necessary to implement the solutions above. We are a private 501(c)3 not for profit and 70% of our annual support comes directly from private donations such as memberships and sponsorships. Maintaining best practices for the museum collection, archives, exhibits and storage are the full responsibility of McLean County Museum of History and no taxation support is received for these projects. To make a donation to this fund drive, click here.

After 26 years in the Old Courthouse, it is our generation's time to further improve our facility in order to maintain local history for many generations to come. Thank you!


Written By

Lauren Lacy

Lauren Lacy

Lauren Lacy is Director of Development at the McLean County Museum of History

Posted in Museum News

November 21st, 2017

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