CCAHA: Environmental management: stewardship & sustainability


Creating stable environmental conditions is the most significant step an institution can take for the long-term preservation of the collections materials under its stewardship. While most preservation actions affect single items or groups of items, environmental conditions affect entire collections.

Though providing stable environmental conditions is a goal for most archives, museums, and libraries, in actuality it can be very difficult to achieve ideal specifications. In addition to economic limitations faced by many institutions, collections are often housed in historic structures, in buildings with aging systems, or in structures whose designs make environmental management difficult.

This one day program will explore new approaches to controlling environmental conditions in cultural institutions. Leading experts in the field will present physically and financially feasible environmental control strategies to help institutions preserve collections materials for the long-term

Topics covered will include:

  • The Collections Environment
  • Understanding the Building/Climate Relationship
  • New Approaches and Best Practices for Environmental Control
  • Environmental Monitoring and Data Analysis

This program is intended for staff of cultural heritage organizations responsible for monitoring and managing environmental conditions for collections, including registrars, facilities managers, archivists, librarians, curators, collections managers, and stewards of historic house museums.

Michael C. Henry PE, AIA, Principal Engineer/Architect,Watson & Henry Associates
Richard L. Kerschner, Director of Preservation and Conservation, Shelburne Museum
James M. Reilly, Director, Image Permanence Institute

Location: The State Museum of Pennsylvania
300 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120

When: Tuesday, June 18th
8:15am – 8:45am Refreshments
8:45am – 4:30pm Program

$60 CCAHA members
$90 Non-members

Registration, secure credit card payment, and additional program information are available on our website at:


This Week in 1913


Omaha, Nebraska, 1913.

Authors: Jeff Satterly and Robert Muhlhauser,

The week of March 21st through March 26th marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the greatest – and least well known – natural disasters to ever hit the United States. This week in 1913, a series of late winter storms caused tornadoes and severe flooding across the Midwest that killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless while causing billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure property, businesses and infrastructure.

On March 23rd, Easter Sunday, a total of four F4 tornadoes swept through Nebraska and western parts of Iowa, including one twister a quarter mile wide that plowed directly through downtown Omaha, killing more than 94 people. Fires started by stoves and live electrical wires quickly took hold in the wreckage, further devastating the west side of the city. Damage to Omaha was estimated at around $8 million, or $187 million in today’s dollars. To this day the tornado is on record as the deadliest in Nebraska history.

134 West Fourth Street, Dayton, Ohio, 1913.

Meanwhile, March 21st through 24th saw three consecutive storms dump up to 11 inches of rain onto the Great Miami watershed in northern Ohio. The oversaturated ground couldn’t absorb the water quickly enough, so the runoff flowed directly into the Great Miami River, swelling it far beyond its normal capacity. By 5 AM on March 25th the river was rising at a rate of roughly one inch every five minutes, setting the stage for the worst natural disaster in Ohio history, as well as severe flooding in Pennsylvania and Indiana.
In Ohio, cities and towns all along the Great Miami and its tributaries saw flooding, death and destruction over the next few days. The damage to Dayton would prove to be the worst by far, and to this day the flood is often referred to as the “Great Dayton Flood.” Thanks to its location on the banks of the Great Miami River, Dayton had experienced floods on a regular basis since the city’s founding in 1796. Rain had fallen for days by the time the levees broke around 6 AM on March 25th, and water began to flow into the streets at speeds approaching 25 miles per hour. By the time the flood’s advance slowed on March 26th, some 14 square miles of the city were underwater, and 360 people were dead.
Fourth and Main Street, Dayton, Ohio, 1913.

Cleanup efforts in Dayton would take over a year to complete, and the area’s economy took more than a decade to return to pre-flood levels. Despite the destruction, some good came from the disasters in 1913 as well; the Red Cross later found their experience in helping flood victims crucial when they were sent to the battlefields of Europe during World War I, and the United Way was born from other efforts to aid flood victims.

We’d also to thank some of the great archives and archivists who have done so much to work to help preserve the amazing history of the 1913 flood, including the Dayton Metro Library and historian Trudy Bell. The amount of history compiled at these two websites is truly amazing. Don’t forget to check out for more images.

Using Theater to Explore Archives

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is hosting a new theatrical work this April that explores the question of why archives are important, and how we interact with the history and stories within these collections. The performance, titled ArkHIVE, will be held in the Historical Society’s beautiful Reading Room in Center City Philadelphia from April 13-15. Artist Sebastienne Mundheim and her team will travel through time, using the Historical Society’s archives for inspiration. The audience will encounter dancers dressed in armor, roaring sound in a quiet library, a landscape of paper architecture, and stories of those who changed history.

There will be performances at 4, 6, and 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, Sunday, April 14, and Monday, April 15.

Tickets are $20 for general admission. We are offering a special $5 discount to MARAC members with the code “MARAC”. For more information or to register, visit


The Drexel University Libraries, in collaboration with the Delaware Valley Archivists Group, will be hosting the Society of American Archivists (SAA) workshop “Inreach and Outreach for Digital Archives” on June 18, 2013. The workshop focuses on collaboration and change management skills needed for establishing a digital archives program and is part of the new Digital Archives Specialist certification. To learn more about the workshop and register, please go to

Find a Ride, Find a Roommate for MARAC in Erie

The MARAC spring meeting in Erie, Pa. is a little over a month away (April 25-27). Still figuring out how you’re going to get to the Flagship City or looking for a roommate? If so, check out the following rideshare/roomshare/houseshare spreadsheet:

Use the tabs in the spreadsheet to find a ride, offer a ride, find a roommate, or offer crash space in your home near Erie. This spreadsheet is editable by anyone. If you no longer need a ride, rider, or roommate, please come back and update your information. All those with plans to attend the April MARAC meeting in Erie, Pa. are welcome to use this spreadsheet.

This spreadsheet is intended for informational use only. It is not a matching service; you need to use the information on the spreadsheet to find people to share rooms and rides with.

MARAC claims no ownership of the spreadsheet and is not responsible for the contents of this spreadsheet or any actions which result from using this spreadsheet. Please use good judgement and common sense when reaching out to strangers.

If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh at And thank you to the SAA SNAP Roundtable for the use of this form.

Free Digital Preservation Webinars

ASERL is pleased to again host a series of webinars to aid member librarians, staff, and others in learning the basic tenets of digital preservation. The first series, offered in Spring 2012, continues to attract repeated viewers via ASERL’s Vimeo channel (see ). For 2013, we’ve re-focused the content based on user feedback and re-structured the series into four 60-minute webinars.

All sessions are free and open to anyone interested in learning more about this important topic. Further updates can be found at

Intro to Digital Preservation #1: “Preservation Planning and Overview of PREMIS for Beginners”
Speaker: Lisa Gregory, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

This webinar is designed to help participants begin formulating a digital preservation plan for their digital collections. Even if you already have files accumulating, planning and implementing basic digital preservation strategies doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Topics to be covered include what to consider during planning, first steps for implementation, as well as a basic introduction to PREMIS, the Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata. The goal will be to help you start thinking about preservation as part of your everyday digital workflow.

DATE: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Intro to Digital Preservation #2: “Forbearing the Digital Dark Age: Capturing Metadata for Digital Objects”
Speaker: Chris Dietrich, National Park Service.

Metadata is the key to both discovery and long-term accessibility of digital content. This webinar will address metadata for digital photos, documents, audio-video, tabular data, and GIS data. Topics include categories of metadata, metadata standards for different asset types, metadata capture strategies, and metadata software tools. Links to additional resources for digital preservationists will also be provided.

DATE: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Intro to Digital Preservation #3: “Management of Incoming Born-Digital Special Collections”
Speaker: Gretchen Gueguen, University of Virginia.

This webinar will cover the basics of getting started with managing born-digital archives. Through basic techniques and practical suggestions, you will learn how to assess your collection, develop a management plan, put basic policies in place, and set up an accessioning workflow. Simple tools to help you do the job will be reviewed along with guides and other resources to help answer your questions.

DATE: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Intro to Digital Preservation #4: “Using FITS to Identify File Formats and Extract Metadata”
Speaker: Andrea Goethals, Harvard University.

After an introduction to file formats and technical metadata, a demo of the File Information Tool Set (FITS) will be given. You will learn what it does, how it differs from other format tools, how to use it, how to customize it and how Harvard is using FITS in different ways. No experience with FITS is necessary but if you would like to try it out in advance you can download it from

DATE: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT