State Historical Society to Assume Management Of Western Historical Manuscript Collection
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Nov. 10, 2010
Contact: Jennifer Hollingshead
Office: (573) 882-0601
Move Underscores University's Continued Focus on Mission, Results
COLUMBIA, Mo.-University officials today announced they will transfer full management of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection from the University of Missouri System to the State Historical Society of Missouri, which was founded in 1898 by the Missouri Press Association. Today this society is considered the preeminent research facility for studying and sharing the Show Me State's heritage with the public.
This organizational realignment of the 67-year-old collection with the State Historical Society will allow the university to streamline management, direction and support for the collection, and reduce the unit's $1 million annual budget from resulting operational efficiencies and cost savings. Previously, the collection was jointly managed by the University of Missouri System and the State Historical Society.
"The system's continuing review of organization alignment with strategic priorities and core mission identified this historical document collection as a better direct fit with the expertise and focus of the State Historical Society," said Steve Graham, senior associate vice president-academic affairs for the University of Missouri System.
"Going forward, the State Historical Society will become solely responsible for the custody and processing of the collections and the reference services associated with this manuscript collection," he added. "Our aim will be to maintain quality service while taking advantage of statewide efficiencies we can achieve by drawing on the strengths of the State Historical Society."
Gary Kremer, executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri and director of the collection, said the transition of the organization will take about two months and could involve a reduction of positions. There are currently 24 staff who oversee the statewide collections operation. The four campuses of the University of Missouri System will continue to provide office and storage space, the cost of utilities and access to the courier service for distribution of the collection's documents.
The Western Historical Manuscripts Collection was created in 1943 to collect, preserve and make readily available to prospective users records that illuminate all aspects of life in Missouri and the Midwest. The collection encompasses political, military and diplomatic records; information on religion, the arts, education, the professions, ethnic and social groupings and movements; all aspects of the economy; and data on the lives of both famous and obscure individuals who illustrate the experience and culture of the region.
"This collection is an important statewide resource readily available to faculties, students, visiting scholars and the public," Kremer said. "This management change will provide us with an opportunity to evaluate how we can serve their needs more effectively and cost-efficiently."
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