The Archival Development Project is a perpetual preservation initiative by the Society to collect, organize, preserve, and share with the community historic items of significance pertaining to the history of Naples and its foundation. There are currently thousands of individual items of significance in the Society’s digital repository, much of which can be viewed using two desktop computer stations in the Center when part of a Cottage house museum tour.
Getting the repository ready to showcase meant using archival guidelines endorsed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This task was the responsibility of the Society’s Archival Coordinator Ms. Rayna Alam, who incidentally, recently completed a five-month program by the Florida Associations of Museums in collection management.
“The opening of the Archival Viewing Center is the result of years of strategic planning and significant laborious work,” said Elaine Reed, President & CEO of the Society. “The process involved unearthing and identifying our own archived collections, which had been sitting safely in storage, but undocumented.”
About the Archival Development Project
According to Reed, initiating the Archival Development Project allowed the Society to create a five-year goal for organizing its collections. The process started with the purchase of a proprietary software system that is specifically designed and used by libraries and museums to capture and document historic data.
The next step involved development of a collection management plan. The final steps included hiring a full time archival coordinator and redesigning the Historic Palm Cottage Guest House, which now houses the permanent Archival Viewing Center. The final step will be ongoing and involves procurement of public donations, digitization and recording, education and public viewing participation.
Reed notes, “The Archival Viewing Center is a great feature that expands the boundaries of what the Society offers.” Alam adds, “Residents and guests with an interest in nostalgia are going to love using the Center each time they visit the cottage because it will continue to grow and is simple to navigate.”
Items of unique interest in the Center’s repository include objects, such as an original crystal bell used at the Naples Hotel (on display); personal memorabilia, such as those from Frank Tenney, a former Society president including a scrapbook about Charles Lindbergh from the 1920s; documents, such as a letter requesting a Naples Mink (on display) from Marshall Field; and many more historic photos and newspaper clippings of hurricanes and development progress. All artwork and furnishings on display in the Cottage are also included in the repository.
The Archival Viewing Center is located at Historic Palm Cottage, one block east of the Naples Pier. Archival donations are accepted by appointment throughout the year, or can be dropped off at Historic Palm Cottage without an appointment on Saturday, May 24, 2014 between 1pm-4pm. For more information on donating to the repository, call Rayna Alam at 239.261.8164.