CCAHA’s Philadelphia Stewardship Program is designed to assist non-profit collecting institutions in achieving their preservation and conservation goals for their collections. Working with CCAHA staff, participating institutions learn about the preservation needs of their collections and buildings and develop long-range plans for addressing those needs. Institutions also have the opportunity to obtain assistance with emergency planning efforts or get support in updating, creating, or refining essential policy documents.
Institutions in Track I of the Program receive a free preservation needs assessment. The needs assessment process encompasses a general evaluation of the institution’s preservation needs for the collection and is the first step in developing a preservation plan for collections. In addition to pinpointing areas of concern and recommendations for improvement, the assessment is widely recognized as a valuable tool in fundraising for collections care. Once completed, participants will be eligible to apply for a matching grant of up to $2,500 to implement a recommendation in the assessment. Track I is the recommended starting point for any institution without a preservation needs assessment or for institutions with out of date assessments.
Preservation planning is essential for any institution wishing to systematically forward its collections care goals. Those institutions in Track II work with CCAHA staff to develop a long-range (3-5 year) preservation plan that creates a course of action to help guide the institution to meet preservation goals and priorities in a logical, efficient, and effective manner. Once the preservation plans are completed and board approved, the institution will have the opportunity to apply for a matching grant of up to $2,500 to pursue a project identified as a priority in its preservation plan. To be considered for Track II, institutions must have completed a preservation needs assessment.
Being prepared and identifying the potential threats to one’s institution are the best ways of mitigating risks to cultural collections. Track III was developed to aid institutions in starting the emergency preparedness and planning process. Organizations participating in Track III work with CCAHA staff to prepare a risk assessment. The risk assessment will identify natural or man-made emergencies that may threaten the collections and outlines strategies for mitigation. Upon receiving the assessment, institutions will work with CCAHA staff to develop immediate emergency response guidelines, and work toward completion of a full emergency response plan. CCAHA staff will be available as a resource and to review the completed plan. Once the emergency plan has been completed and board approved, the institution will have the opportunity to apply for a matching grant of up to $2,500 to purchase emergency supplies or train staff in emergency preparedness. Track III is recommended for any institution that does not have an emergency plan or for institutions with out of date plans.
Policy documents provide the framework upon which many collections and preservation decisions are made. Institutions that participate in Track IV work with CCAHA staff on the process of developing a set of collections management policies or revising current policies. The goals of establishing policies are to aid institutions in creating consistency in day-to-day operations; to ensure stability at times of change; and to create documents that will inform decision-making at all levels of the institution.
Institutions that participate in the program are asked to choose three policy areas for concentration over the course of the program. Some examples of policies include:
Institutions large and small face a myriad of complex questions that must eventually be answered when they undertake digitization projects. By investing in advance planning, institutions can work to streamline the process of digitization, potentially avoiding costly errors. Track V participants will work with CCAHA staff who will help develop a written digital preservation policy and assist with program development. The digital preservation policy provides a basic framework to guide all decision making regarding the digitization of the collections and subsequent use, management, and preservation of the resulting files. The policy identifies the scope of content to be preserved, outlines roles and responsibilities, and defines standards.
The Philadelphia Stewardship Program is open to non-profit institutions within Philadelphia, Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery Counties. Each track of the Program requires a minimum of a 12-month commitment.
Participants in the Philadelphia Stewardship Program are selected via a competitive application process. Limited spaces are available. Applications are reviewed by an independent committee of museum, library, archives, and conservation professionals. For more information on each of the tracks, visit the individual track pages at the links to the left. To apply, download the appropriate application form from the application forms page.
If you have any questions about the Philadelphia Stewardship Program or would like to know which track would be appropriate for your institution, please contact CCAHA’s Preservation Services Office at 215.545.0613 or at .