The money is in and the process has started to find a contractor to replace the dome on Lew Wallace's 111 year old study. This means that we also have to start packing up all of the General's artifacts in the study to be put in storage while the dome is being repaired. Several volunteers worked hard to make an inventory of the more than 600 books on display and the musuem staff has been formulating a plan for how to pack everything and where everything should go.
Grounds keeper Deb King and collections manager Amanda McGuire started moving artifacts today in order to clean out the inglenook so the architect and potential contractors can get up to the dome to decide what needs to be done to repair it. The access to the dome is in the ceiling of the inglenook area and we don't want to take any chances of damaging artifacts by leaving them out while people are climbing up and down a ladder. Some items are still on display in the study but have moved to new locations. Other artifacts were brought over to the Carriage House for long term storage in the vault and some items were moved to Lew's cabinets for oversized books for temporary storage.
Part of the process of packing the artifacts is ensuring that each item has a unique three-part number to tie it to information in our collection database about what it is, where it is located and who donated it. Most of the artifacts have a number assigned to them but the number was never written on the artifact. A special process is used so that the number can be removed without causing any damage to the item.
Staff and volunteers will continue the process of packing up books and artifacts through the end of the year until construction begins. Some artifacts will be packed away and stored for a few years to allow them to "rest" so we can keep them for many years to come. These items will be brought out for special exhibits in the carriage house but will not be on permanent display in the study anymore, so be sure to make a trip out to see the General's "pleasure house for the soul" before the restoration work begins!