The Astoria Library just landed a grant that will help staff take the next step in cataloguing and preserving the many important historical items uncovered in the building’s basement.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department awarded 18 grants totaling $230,000 to organizations across the state Thursday. The grants will go to projects from exhibits to oral history that conserve, develop and interpret the state’s cultural heritage.
The library received a grant for $10,850 to “organize and develop a plan for the placement, storage and care of the archival collection.” The grant will not require a financial match from the city, said Library Director Jimmy Pearson. Rather, the library will provide staff time and volunteer hours.
As the library staff prepare for an upcoming renovation of the 50-year-old building, they have had to figure out what to do with historical items in the basement.
The biggest piece of the grant is that it will allow Pearson to hire an archivist who can evaluate the items, train volunteers on how to preserve the items and also figure out ways to store the items and make them available to the public.
“Preservation, restoration and access,” Pearson said, summing up the three most important points as he sees them.
He added that the grant will start refining what local preservationist John Goodenberger and his students started. Goodenberger has spent hundreds of hours sifting through the basement’s buried treasures.
“The grant has been a culmination of the right people at the right time in the right place with an understanding of what’s down there,” Pearson said.
The Astoria City Council will still need to formally accept the grant at a future meeting.