A Tour and Luncheon Worth Archiving!

FRIENDS of WHS Members Tour SAPF

Friends of WHS board members and others toured the new State Archive Preservation Facility (SAPF) on Madison’s near-east side on Tuesday, September 18th. Led by board president Phil Schauer, Friends members were given a tour of the new state-of-the-art facility by Matt Blessing, WHS administrator of the Division of Library, Archives and Museum collections.

Blessing led the group through the new four-story storage facility that will eventually hold more than 500,000 artifacts. The facility will also contain 200,000 books and over 50,000 archival boxes with millions of pages of manuscript pages and documents from state agencies. The WHS is also moving 110,000 historic objects to the new facility, located at 202 South Thornton Avenue, along with hundreds of boxes filled with over 400,000 archeological objects. In addition, the new facility will house 22,000 objects and several archival collections from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

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Highlights of the tour of SAPF included a stop in the film storage room, where a temperature of forty degrees with a constant low humidity level will preserve the fantastic film and movie collection for the future. Blessing explained that when a film needs to be shown, it will be moved to a transition room where the temperature is gradually raised – again to preserve the quality of the film. Currently most of the film collection is still at the WHS headquarters on the UW campus. When the weather cools in October the collection will be moved to SAPF.

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Blessing also explained the new digital identification system that helps staff locate objects and collections. Each object has a scanning ID code that is also on the storage box and the shelf where the box is stored at SAPF. When a researcher needs an object, they can identify it online at the WHS site. WHS staff at SAPF then can locate the needed document of object, pull it from its storage shelf, and by the next morning the researcher can access the needed material at the WHS headquarters building.

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On the tour, Friends members saw an early version of the Oscar Mayer “Wiener Mobile,” the hamburger-carrying caricature of Marc’s Big Boy restaurants, and an early television camera from the WHA educational TV station. Stepping out onto the loading dock area of SAPF, Blessing explained that trucks arrive daily with materials from the WHS headquarters building. This process has been going on since early spring and will continue for several years before the move is completed.

Blessing stressed that the new SAPF facility helps the historical society meet its mission of “To collect, preserve and share.” The new facility was built with extra storage space so that the WHS can continue to meet its mission into the future.

FRIENDS of WHS Honor Fannie Hicklin

As part of the September meeting of the Friends of WHS board, a luncheon meal was shared at the Hungry Goat restaurant in Fitchburg. At the gathering, Friends’ President Phil Schauer honored Dr. Fannie Hicklin for her many years of service to both the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she served on the Board of Curators for 27 years including as President of the board, and the Friends of WHS group, where she served as a board member for many years.

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After her introduction at the luncheon Dr. Hicklin regaled the gathered Friends members with stories about coming to Madison to get her doctorate degree at UW. During that time she also worked at the historical society and first became aware of the importance of the institution. Her witty recollections entranced the gathering as the centenarian (Fannie recently celebrated her 100th birthday!) retired educator’s presence made for a wonderful time for all.

– Brad Steinmetz, FWHS Vice President

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