Combatting the Curation Crisis in North Carolina

Author(s): Abigail Heller; Mary Schmidt

Year: 2015


Archaeologists have an obligation to ensure the long-term survival and accessibility of collections that embody the tangible remains of community heritage and collective history. This study presents two examples of collaboration between state- and university-based archaeologists that address the current curation crisis and provide much needed training for future professionals. The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology Research Center (OSARC) is the state’s repository and steward for archaeological materials that are owned or maintained by the state. OSARC faces funding and staffing challenges due to increasing demands of curatorship and recent economic downturns. OSARC and North Carolina State University Anthropology graduate students are collaborating in efforts to mitigate the statewide curation crisis by working with two collections from historic sites that were lost to time for nearly 40 years. The study demonstrates how student involvement in solving the curation crisis also helps future archaeologists develop a sense of responsibility for the collections they produce. These cases exhibit how collaborative work can give emerging professionals an understanding of how to evaluate and prioritize collection restoration/conservation needs, technical skills in collections management, curation and conservation techniques, research potential assessment, and familiarity with the state and federal standards that collections must meet.

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Cite this Record

Combatting the Curation Crisis in North Carolina. Abigail Heller, Mary Schmidt. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397486)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;