Sheldon research center awarded humanities grant

MIDDLEBURY — The Stewart-Swift Research Center of the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History was awarded a National Endowment for Humanities Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions for 2019. The grant will enable the Museum to hire consultants to assess the Center’s current digital collections and to develop a state-of-the-art preservation plan for future digital projects.

This is the initial necessary step toward building a sound technological infrastructure for providing broad future online access to the Center’s rich archival collections. The NEH PAG grant will also advance the Sheldon Museum’s mission to better preserve the Research Center’s unique and fragile holdings and share its collections with the public at large.

The Museum was founded by Henry L. Sheldon in 1882 and is the oldest community-based museum in the country. The Stewart-Swift Research Center houses rare books and pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, maps, ephemera and artwork. The Center’s archival collections are considered one of the most valuable in the state of Vermont.

The collections are used by a wide range of researchers including students, scholars, curators, architects, lawyers, detectives, film makers, genealogists, local historians and the general public. The broad array of subjects of local and national significance range from art and architecture, farming, marble and lumber industries to Merino sheep, religious revivalism, transportation, environment, abolitionism, women’s history, education, politics, recreation and other topics.

Only a portion of these unique materials (about 6,000 items) is currently available in a digital format through the Museum’s website, and two hosting sites: UVM’s Landscape Change Program and Middlebury College’s Walking History of Middlebury.

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