Happy Preservation Month! Preservation is a year-round activity, but May is designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a time to celebrate and share the places that are meaningful to us as individuals and to the larger community. Our staff is dedicated to maintaining the 300+ year-old Old State House and its collections for the enjoyment of Bostonians and our many visitors, and our continued hard work is a testament to the importance of preservation. This month, we're checking in with just a few members of our staff to learn how they help us maintain and share the Old State House and its collections.
Matt Ottinger, Director of Facilities and Historic Preservation, has the fun and important job of maintaining the 304 year old Old State House. Handling both day-to-day needs and major preservation and restoration projects keeps him busy. Matt has lead projects that go from the top of the building to the bottom; gilding of the weathervane, restoring the tower, repointing the bricks, and replacing equipment in the sub-basement. Work on a historic building is never finished and in order to have another 300 years, Matt does his best to stay ahead of major issues and be prepared for just about anything.
The staff at the Old State House works to preserve our building and our collections every day of the week. On Fridays, Collections Manager Sira Dooley Fairchild vacuums our artifact storage areas, inspects the sticky bug traps for unwelcome guests, and checks temperature and humidity levels. These routine tasks help to preserve our object collection and the building for future generations!
Library and Archives Manager Elizabeth Roscio works on preservation on a smaller, but equally important, scale! Managing our collection of paper-based materials means that Elizabeth is responsible for maintaining a stable environment for items that are susceptible to damage through exposure to heat, light, and moisture. Techniques like re-housing into acid-free containers and folders, removing staples and straight pins, and digitization help to preserve our archival collections. You may remember when we found a copper time capsule full of 100+ year old documents and manuscripts in the lion statue from the top of the Old State House - one of Elizabeth's recent projects was to stabilize and organize those items to ensure that they will be in good condition for generations of future researchers.