The term "Endangered Artifacts" is most associated with objects from ancient civilizations. Yet, in Pennsylvania, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, there’s now an effort to track down some of the state’s own most vulnerable historical treasures.
Discreetly tucked away on the second floor of an office building in Center City, Philadelphia is a conservation studio and digital archiving facility for some of the nation most valuable works on paper. On the day we visit among the rare books and delicate watercolors by world-famous artists, the original, hand-written constitution of PA, and the notebooks in which Bruce Springsteen jotted down his most famous songs were being pored over by teams of skilled conservation professionals.
It is from here - The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts - that a call has gone out to libraries, museums, historic sites ,and archives to help locate Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. Ingrid E. Bogel, executive director of the Center says the project aims to save important drawings, paintings, manuscripts, rare books, maps, photographs and other objects.
We’re certainly talking about those kinds of materials, but I’m even thinking about things that perhaps just have a wonderful story. And that might be just as exciting as something that has a George Washington signature on it.
The initial nominations will come from organizations, historical societies, museums and the like who have these items in their collections.
We are really thinking very broadly. We would like to have representation from the smallest all-volunteer institution if they have something great that they want to share. We’re also looking for geographic reach; we would love to have people nominate artifacts from all over the state.
The deadline for nominations is April 13th after which members of the public can vote for their favorite most endangered Pennsylvania Artifacts at a dedicated website.