By John Long
Let’s take a break from endless election news and think for a moment about archives. There are some 17,500 museums and 123,000 libraries in the U.S. We all know one thing about such institutions: They generally require stuff. And hence they acquire stuff. Artifacts. Collections. Accessions. Objets d’art Across our nation, the material heritage of our culture is housed in museums and archives of every size, dimension and level of professionalism. These organizations exist, by and large, to preserve, interpret and exhibit these collections, which they hold in trust for future generations — nearly 5 billion items nationwide.
Long is director of the Salem Museum and a Roanoke Times columnist.