Geary County Historical Society and Museums Mission Statement
The mission of the Geary County Historical Society, Inc. (GCHS) is:
- To preserve and collect the history of Geary County, Kansas
- To disseminate historical information using all appropriate media
- To provide community education on local history and culture
- To preserve historic landmarks
- To recognize exceptional historic preservation
- To promote public participation in preservation and commemoration of regional, state and national history
- To operate museums/ historic sites that preserve objects of value to the Geary County story
Statement of Purpose
The GCHS Museum is committed to expanding the public’s sense of community through and understanding of Geary County history and its place in American society. To achieve this purpose, the Museum collects and preserves artifacts and information that document the Geary County heritage, and they produce interpretive exhibits, educational programs and publications. The GCHS Museum is dedicated to the belief that we can learn from the past to understand better the present and the future.
Types of Collections
In accordance with its mission, the GCHS Museum maintains three types of collections: permanent, education, and reference.
Permanent collection The permanent collection will consist of materials that further the goals of the GCHS Museum as delineated in the statement of purpose. These materials, including artifacts, photographs, manuscripts, textiles, ephemera, oral histories, and buildings must meet the collecting criteria outlined. Objects in this collection are cared for in accordance with professional guidelines intended to promote their long-term preservation. The Curator and Executive Director have primary responsibility for the permanent collection.
Education collection (also known as the “Hands-on” or reproduction/prop collection).
The education collection will consist of materials that have value for instructional or exhibit purposes, but are considered expendable or replaceable. Items in the education collection are not accessioned, but an inventory of this collection is to be maintained by the Collections Manager. (Artifacts used for programs including Fashion Shows and Traveling Trunks are an example).
Reference collection. The reference collection includes both published and unpublished secondary source material, as well as the newspaper clipping files, photographs, ephemera and research papers. Reference collection materials are housed in the public research area and in the curatorial archive area.
How do we decide what to accept?
The Permanent Collection of the GCHS Museum shall be limited to materials of significance to Geary County history. The Museum’s Statement of Purpose and the Museum’s Collection Committee shall guide acquisitions. Acquisitions may include three dimensional objects, textiles, documents, photographs, audiovisual materials, and sound recordings. Materials appropriate to the collection must meet the following criteria:
· Geographical. Materials created or used in Geary County, or which have a direct connection with historical events that occurred in Geary County, or which have a direct connection with residents of Geary County.
· Chronological. The GCHS Museum will collect materials from all time periods in the County’s history, up to and including the present as space allows.
· Condition. The GCHS Museum has a responsibility not only to collect, but also to preserve its collections and make them accessible to the public. All additions to the collection must be in such condition that they can be stored, protected and preserved under conditions that insure availability for exhibit and/or research. In order to be acceptable for the GCHS Museum permanent collection, an item MUST be in good physical condition unless it has outstanding historical value that warrants extraordinary measures for preservation.
· Information. Materials must be well documented by donor as to provenance (origin, content, and history) or be an exceptional example of a particular type of item needed to fill a gap in the collection.
· Collecting Plan. In order to manage resources responsibly the GCHS Museum shall not acquire materials that constitute excessive duplication within the collection, for example: schoolbooks (there are about 210 in the collection), Victorian petticoats, newspapers, most yearbooks, mid-century women's hats, and dolls.