Contact: Audrey Johnson-Thornton, President


Belmont Mansion Awarded Major Preservation Resource

(Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 2008) — Treasured objects and artifacts held by the Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion will be preserved for future generations with a special Connecting to Collections Bookshelf resource provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding of the nation's museums and libraries. The Connecting to Collections Bookshelf is comprised of a core set of conservation books, DVDs and online resources to help small libraries and museums preserve America's heritage.

"The Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion is delighted to be among the first 2,000 recipients selected to receive this major resource from the IMLS and its cooperating partner, the American Association for State and Local History," noted Audrey Johnson-Thornton, President of the Underground Railroad Museum. "The Bookshelf will enable us to continue to preserve, expand and share the rich history that we have uncovered about Belmont Mansion, its owner Judge Richard Peters and the connections that each had to Philadelphia's anti-slavery and abolitionist activities," she added.

"We are pleased to announce this first group of IMLS Bookshelf recipients. These small libraries and museums are taking up the charge to care for America's heritage," said Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS. "A recent national study tells a sobering story about the state of America's library and museum collections. Without immediate action we stand to lose important collections that are at the heart of the American story."

The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens and nature centers. The resource addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues.

The IMLS Bookshelf is a major component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in response to a 2005 study by Heritage Preservation documenting the dire state of the nation's collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America's collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.