Alaska State Museums Bulletin 74

Printable Version


A Museum Move Lesson
Shaking the Money Tree
Spotlight on Grant in Aid
Alaska Museums in the News
Professional Development/Training Opportunities
Professional Time Wasting on the Web


A Museum Move Lesson:  A Moving Experience is Also Physical

A perspective from Lisa Golisek, Alaska State Museum Protections and Visitors Services Manager (aka Admin Move Branch Team Leader)


It’s March 2014 and we are in the midst of the Alaska State Museum’s “big move.” As mentioned in previous bulletins, the move encompasses relocating the Alaska State Museum’s collections, staff, supplies and equipment by May – just a few months away.  We have developed two main branches under which teams have been established to handle the move; the collection move branch and the Admin move branch.  Between the two branches everything in the museum will be moved. The Admin Move Branch team, like the collections branch team, is amazing and has years of experience with the museum, I would never want to go through a move without their professional knowledge and skills, however we are definitely a brains over brawn group.  This is where moving companies play a role. We value our move team for their intellect, but we needed contracted movers for their muscle and youthful energy.

move stuff

To save yourself time, money, chaos, and keep the museum safe and secure, I submit the attached checklist in preparation for working with a move company.

Preparing to Move with a Contracted Moving Company:

  • Delineate a space to stack materials near the freight door for transfer out of the building
  • Inventory items to be moved and make a checklist of the order you want the items moved. Include pickup and delivery stops if there are multiple destinations
  • Create a move plan and go over it with the moving company supervisor when you schedule a move.
    • The plan should include:
      • List of items and the dimension and/or cubic footage of material to be moved
      • Perceived challenges associated with the move, such as a 3’x4’x3’ cabinet that needs to be moved up a flight of 40-inch wide staircase with a landing and a turn at the top
      • Estimate on time to accomplish the move. Experience is the best teacher on how much time you will need to budget for the move.  If you are a novice to working with a moving company, discussing the move plans in advance will allow them to determine a time estimate
      • List of equipment and supplies the company needs to provide including the truck! Lift gates, straps, moving blankets, hand trucks, palette jacks, suction cups for moving glass are equipment you’ll need to request or they likely won’t bring it
  • If the move is complicated and involves sensitive, confidential or irreplaceable objects, schedule a walk-through with the movers and ask the company for background checks on employees. Avoid working with contractors that have convictions of theft and vandalism in particular
  • Outline all the locations for pickup and delivery
  • Have one museum employee in charge of the movers at a time. Too many directors definitely leads to confusion, poor rapport, and slows the process
  • The employee in charge should escort the movers and oversees their work at all times.  Lack of supervision escalates the potential for damage and loss


When the movers arrive:

  • Sign them in, provide badges, go over security rules that apply, and make copies of their ID’s particularly if they are working with them in secured areas and they are assisting with a collections move
  • Provide the movers with a checklist of what needs to be done in the order it needs to happen
  • Show the movers the items to be moved and give them the opportunity to suggest or make changes to the order and methods of moving the objects if possible
  • Describe the contents of boxes and explain moving requirements and your expectations for handling the items.
  • Oversee what is being put in the truck so the movers don’t pick up pile in the wrong items.  Document what’s going in the

Two lessons learned from working with contracted movers during our office moves :

  1. You can expect moving equipment and supplies with a contracted moving company to require some of the same planning and coordination required for moving collections.
  2. You will likely suffer from some of the same obstacles and emotions involved with moving museum collections objects.

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Question:  We have a 100-year-old rusted steel flask of mercury in our heated museum building.  It is the size of a medium coffee thermos and holds about a cup of mercury.  Are we being foolish to keep the mercury?  If so, what should we do with it?


ASM: You will need to dispose of it properly. It should not be a part of your museum collection.  Mercury does evaporate and the gas it forms is very toxic.    I would suggest contacting the state department of environmental conservation and ask them about the proper way to disposed of it.  They have a whole page dedicated to mercury on their website.

The contact is Mariena Brewer 907-269-1099

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Shaking the Money Tree

Museums Alaska

Collections Management Fund

This year, $100,000 in grants will be available to museums and cultural centers in Alaska for collections management supplies and activities. The goal is to build capacity for managing collections through professional expertise, training, and conservation materials and supplies.

The deadline to submit grant applications is Monday, March 31, 2014.

The next deadline will be September 30, 2014.

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit, government, tribal entities or equivalent organizations that hold collections in the public trust, such as a museum or cultural center. Small, rural-based organizations are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to projects that are collaborative or cooperative in nature. Emergency conservation projects will be given priority. Membership in Museums Alaska is encouraged but not required.

You must apply online only through the link below.

Collections Management Fund Application 2014

Collections Management Fund Guidelines 2014



The deadline for applications is May 1, 2014.

The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Preservation and Access has offered Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions for more than a decade. These grants help small and mid-sized cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections.  Awards of up to $6,000 support preservation related collection assessments, consultations, purchase of preservation supplies and equipment, training and workshops, and institutional and collaborative disaster and emergency planning.  Preservation Assistance Grants also support assessments of digital collections and education and training in standards and best practices for digital preservation, and the care and handling of collections during digitization.  NEH does not fund digitization or the development of digital programs in this grant category. 

All applications to the NEH must be submitted through See the application guidelines for details.

The 2014 guidelines for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions are available at You will also find sample project descriptions, sample narratives, and a list of frequently asked questions.


See our feature article and interactive map of PAG awards across the country, up on our Web site now:

Small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant are encouraged to apply. This year, we have added a special encouragement for applications from presidentially designated institutions (Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities), and from Native American tribes with significant humanities collections.

For more information, contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at 202-606-8570 and

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Spotlight on Grant in Aid

Big Change in GIA this year!

The Grant in Aid is moving entirely online.  You will be able to fill out any of the three GIA applications online this year.  We have moved the process to SurveyMonkey to make it more convenient to apply.

Here is how it works:

After April 1st you can go to our Grant Information webpage (

click on one of the three links depending on what grant you are applying for.

(Remember we have kept the Mini-grant and the Internship grant applications very short so it is necessary to contact Scott Carrlee, Curator of Museums Services before you apply for either of these grants as a pre-application condition).

The application layout is very similar to the previous GIA applications and should be easy to follow.


SurveyMonkey will not time you out of an application but it does not allow for saving an application once you start.  So you will not be able to stop in the middle and come back to it.  For that reason we are providing a template for the Regular grant which has longer questions.  You can work on the template off-line and then cut and paste the text into the SurveyMonkey application.  The template can be found on the Grant information webpage


Applications must be filled out by 11:45 p.m. on June 2.

Once your application is on SurveyMonkey,  you will get a confirmation email.

All attachments or peripheral material can be emails to any time before June 2.

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Alaska Museums in the News

The ASM Move of Collections

Maxwell Selected as Senior Curator of Programs for Ketchikan Museums

State Library Archives and Museums New Building: The Movie

Alaska Veterans Museum

Phase Change:  Museum’s last day of public operations

Final Friday marks last public day for Alaska State Museum

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Professional Development/Training Opportunities

Connecting to Collections Webinars are back!!

Digital Collections: A Future for Small Museums

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 9 a.m. Alaska Time

Join us on Tuesday as we discuss digital collections and a few ways to create them. If you were unable to attend the Small Museum Association Conference in Ocean City, Maryland this year, this webinar is a great opportunity to catch one of the Conference’s workshops. Amanda Shepp will review the process of digital museum creation and ideas for small organizations. Bring your questions and ideas and get ready for the future!

You do not need to be a registered member of the Online Community to participate in this webinar. Simply go to the meeting room here:

Once there, enter your name and location and click enter. You will be redirected to the webinar. If you’re having difficulty, please take a look at our technical check page. This live chat event is not like one of our online courses, no pre-registration is required. Simply log on during the time of the webinar. An archive of the event will be posted to the Online Community.

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Professional Time Wasting on the Web

Let your finger do the reading.  Maybe we should pass these out at the front desk for exhibit label reading?

Dirty Car Art (this will really amaze  you!)

Smashing art is art

The Art of Museum Exhibitions (radio program)

Corcoran Dismantlement Offeres Lessons for Museums and Sites

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