Local committee seeks to address problems in preserving history

RAPID CITY, S.D. — In the mission of the Journey Museum, preservation of the culture and heritage of the Black Hills is at the forefront. However, with so many items of great significance to the area and so little space to keep them, it proves a huge problem.

The Journey MuseumWhereas many institutions have only about 5 to 10 percent of their artifacts on display at one time, the Journey displays most of their collection to the public. And in a reversed situation, only about 10 percent of storage space.

The Shoebox Committee aims to change that.

According to museum director Troy Kilpatrick, the committee was started as a way of gathering local individuals and institutions together that are focused on addressing lack of archive space in Rapid City, along with preserving priceless materials for the public’s future viewing.

“The idea behind that is that we all have that shoebox of things we are collecting, and we are a shoebox of people from all kinds of different organizations around the area,” Museum Archivist and Curator Megan Ostrenga said. “And we are hoping to be able to preserve everyone else’s shoebox.”

Of course, everything can’t be stored in the same conditions. When taking into account characteristics such as age and fragility, storage space must be accommodating through factors such as temperature and humidity.

The Journey Museum aims to find a place where they can house more materials appropriately while still making them available to the public.

“I mean, you don’t want to lose any piece of history. I hope that we can come up with some strategic plan, bring the right stake holders to the table, get more collectors involved,” Ward 5 Alderwoman Laura Armstrong said. “Have a good discussion, and just work on a common goal through a public/private partnership.”

And while no exact dates are planned for another meeting, members of the group are eager to keep the discussion open.

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