Chicora Foundation is well aware that in an era of shrinking budgets and rising costs,
museums, libraries, archives, and historical organizations must maximize the benefits of
limited preservation and conservation funding. We work with your team to provide
practical, cost-effective solutions for your complex problems.
Chicora will help you develop the training, skills, and programs your institution
needs. And we will do it for much less than you may imagine.
Areas of Expertise
Care and Handing of Collections -- The longevity of a
collection is related to how it is stored, handled, and used. Chicora develops in-house
training programs and workshops to help curators, registrars, archivists, librarians, and
other professionals sharpen or refine their skills in collection care and maintenance.
These workshops discuss different types of objects, the care each should receive, and the
types of simple, in-house treatments that can be safely performed.
Preservation Assessments -- Perhaps the greatest
problem facing many institutions is the uncertainty of just where to begin their
preservation efforts, or how to convince those with the money that preservation is an
important issue. Chicora provides detailed assessments of your institution, examining all
of the factors which affect the long-term preservation of collections. Such assessments,
typically conducted during a one to two-day site visit, include an evaluation of the
structure and its impact on preservation, temperature and humidity controls, ventilation
and filtration factors, prevention of water damage to collections, security, fire safety,
pest control practices and housekeeping, and disaster planning. Chicora will also examine
collections, handling and storage practices, patron use of the collections (in libraries
and archives), the effects of exhibition practices on collections, and strategies for
preservation. The assessment reports generally range from 50 to 80 pages, and provide a
foundation for future preservation funding and internal organization.
Integrated Pest Management -- One of the most serious
problems facing institutions is the control of pests in collections. Traditional methods
have emphasized the use of toxic chemicals -- frequently an expensive and potentially
hazardous approach. Chicora provides assistance in the identification of potential pest
problems and least toxic solutions. If chemical pesticides are necessary, Chicora helps
your institution identify those suitable and helps develop scopes for the
necessary work. Although we do not provide chemical treatments, two of our principals are
licensed by the State of South Carolina as commercial applicators in the areas of
structural pests and fumigation. This expertise ensures that you receive the most current,
up-to-date information possible. It also helps us better communicate with commercial pest
control firms which may be providing you with service.
HVAC, Environmental Monitoring and Controls -- The
effects of temperature, humidity, and pollutants on collections can be devastating.
Environmental controls are the first line of defense against collection damage. Effective
controls can help ensure the longevity of the collections, reduce pest populations, and
reduce housekeeping. Chicora provides institutions with assessments of existing
environmental control problems and suggestions on alternative solutions. We assist
museums, libraries, and archives select appropriate monitoring equipment, closely matching
needs, budgets, and staffing. We assist in the development of monitoring strategies and
the interpretation of results. When more technical, specialized expertise is required (for
example, HVAC engineers or industrial hygienists), Chicora works with individuals sensitive
to the particular needs and requirements of the preservation community.
Disaster Planning and Recovery -- Disaster planning
doesn't have to be an impossible chore, and your institution can be prepared. What it
sometimes takes is outside assistance, and Chicora can work with your team to develop a
comprehensive, working disaster plan in a matter of weeks. And, more than that, we can
help you establish recovery procedures, training sessions, and periodic updates of
essential information. For institutions with written plans, Chicora reviews procedures,
finds weak links, and helps with staff training. Like all of our services, disaster
training is individualized, with on-site and off-site consultation and training.
Planning for Preservation -- Many preservation problems
never occur if the institution is planned with preservation in mind. Chicora assists your
museum, library, or archive develop building programs and work with architects to maximize
the preservation potential of your new facility. We also work with physical plant and
housekeeping staffs to integrate preservation plans into every day activities.
Fire Safety -- Chicora is keenly aware that the single
greatest threat to cultural institutions is fire. Fire can destroy an entire collection,
and there is no way to restore collections reduced to ash. We develop and implement steps
which help make your facility safer from the threat of fire. We work with your team to
develop an awareness of the fire threat among your staff. We also provide training on the
proper response to a fire situation.
Archaeological Collections -- Chicora continues to be a
leader in working to ensure that archaeological collections are appropriately conserved
and curated. Our in-house conservation facilities handle a wide variety of archaeological
materials, including metals, wood, and leather. Chicora's conservation staff follows
the standards set out in the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice by the American
Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).
Gravestone and Cemetery Work -- Chicora can provide
assistance in cemetery preservation efforts, including historical research, mapping, grave
identification, conservation of ironwork, and treatment of gravestones.
Chicora provides both on-site consultations and workshops. Although we have standard
workshops in a variety of areas, we are also happy to work with your institution to
develop new programs or make existing workshops address your specific needs. All of our
workshops include hands-on activities and extensive hand-outs.
Our conservation services include treatment of some limited types of archaeological
collections, as well as cemetery preservation consultation.
Many of our programs can be adapted for general audiences. For example, we provide
programs in cemetery preservation for historical and
genealogical groups. And our Preserving Your Family Treasures
workshop has been a great success among friends' groups and those interested in learning
how they can better care for their antiques and collectibles.
One of the best and most respected links to additional conservation and preservation
information is Conservation On-Line (CoOL).
Check this website out for additional information and ideas. It will also provide links to a
number of other organizations that may be able to help you