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Archeology for Interpreters > 4. What Do Archeologists Do?

How do we preserve archeological resources?

[photo] Canton porcelain from Fort Vancouver

Canton porcelain from Fort Vancouver's digitized collections. (NPS)

Long-term storage and curation

After objects have been analyzed and stabilized, they should be labeled, cataloged, and then packed in containers for curation. This should be done in a manner that is consistent with the standards of the repository where the collections are to be housed. Once these procedures have been completed, the collection is ready for long-term storage and curation. Again, it is important to make sure that all procedures have been fully documented along the way. All the associated records must be given to the repository along with the collection, as is usually required (Childs and Corcoran 2000).

There are numerous types of repositories that curate archeological collections. Each one is unique in its size, staff, funding, organization, and collections. Many repositories fit into more than one of these categories. Each of the broad categories of repositories that curate archeological collections outlined below are not mutually exclusive:

Fun fact

The curatorial staff at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is in the process of placing its Archeological Collection Online. Eventually digital images of 25% of the park's study collection - 50,000 of 200,000 artifacts - will be available.

For your information

The Museum Resource Center / Regional Archeology Program Move Out!
See the National Capital Regional Archeology Program's recent move to its new state-of-the-art museum support center in Maryland.

TSM/MJB