Vermont Historical Society offers a number of resources for helping local historical societies and museums with their collections care.

Collections care lending library

Bixby portraitThe League of Local Historical Societies Manager at Vermont Historical Society maintains a Collections Care Library of more than 200 books that are available for any Vermont local society or museum to borrow, with a small shipping fee. Please click here for the full list. For more information or assistance, please contact Eileen Corcoran at the Vermont Historical Society: (802) 479-8522 or

Special programs and assistance

The League offers participation in special programs, such as the Community History Partnership, Connecting to Collections, and the Alliance for Response. Additionally, the Vermont Historical Society occasionally hosts workshops designed to assist local historical societies and museums with a wide array of the challenges they may face, from collections care, strategic planning, volunteer recruitment, disaster management, creating exhibits, and planning regional history fairs to PastPerfect cataloging.

Handouts - Are You Ready For PastPerfect?:
An Overview of Best Practices for Collections Cataloging Workshop

One of the most essential functions of a historical society is to act as the caretaker of the town's history. Typically this involves collecting historical items and establishing a collection that is displayed and interpreted. By cataloging the collection, your institution will be able to make better decisions regarding preservation, display, environment, and will make the collection much more accessible.

This workshop was designed for any historical society or small museum—even those without PastPerfect software.

The workshop was led by:

Kay Schlueter, Northfield Historical Society, Collections Manager
Leslie Rowell, Old Stone House Museum, Archivist
Jackie Calder, Vermont Historical Society, Curator
Mary Rogstad, Vermont Historical Society, Collections Manager
Laura Brill, Vermont Historical Society, Community Outreach Coordinator


Kay Schlueter
PowerPoint: Before Powering Up
Are You Ready for PastPerfect Handout

Vermont Historical Society Documents
Temporary Loan Form
Deed of Gift

Incoming Loan
Outgoing Loan
Registration Record Form
Sample PastPerfect Sheet
Vermont Historical Society Museum Terms Glossary - Draft

Policy Fundamentals
On Accession Numbers
Developing a Collections Plan from AAM

Barnet Historical Society
Authority File for People's Names


Museum Registration Methods, Rebecca Buck, 5th ed., American Association of Museums (now American Alliance of Museums), 2010.

Museum Registration Methods for Small Museums- Dan Reibel, 4th ed., AASLH/Alta Mira Press, 2008 (

Nomenclature 3.0 for Museum Cataloging: Robert Chenhall's System for Cataloging Man Made Artifacts, Bourcier, Rogers, Nomenclature Committee, 3rd ed. AASLH/Altamira Press, 2010.

Online Resources

PastPerfect Specific

Past Perfect's website with a variety of articles and videos.
Used to build the 'subject' field in Past Perfect.
PastPerfect Listserv.
PastPerfect link to its YouTube Latest 'How To' Instruction and Recent Webinars.

Used in conjunction with Library of Congress authority file when determining additions to the 'subject' field.
Minnesota Historical Society list of technical leaflets that help with a variety of needs.
AASLH's Nomenclature 3.0 Community website.
PowerPoint presentation on how to use Nomenclature 3.0 and other tutorials.

Handling, Labeling and Collections Care
Conservator Ellen Carrlee has creating a small labeling kit for small museums with diverse collections.   Her blog also has links to other resources and information about labeling.
An overview of safe object handling.
A great resource for collections care and conservation.
PReP for disaster preparedness. Labeling materials- B-72 in acetone; pigment pen; acid-free paper

Please contact Eileen Corcoran for more information at or (802) 479-8522.

Collections Care Mentoring Program

Collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifact is an important undertaking. Local historical societies and museums do a remarkable job of this critical role in Vermont, often with severely limited resources. Now the Vermont Historical Society will carry forward the exemplary work previously undertaken by the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance and offer the Collections Care Mentoring Program.

If you are a local historical society or museum you may learn more about the VHS Collections Care Mentoring Program. If your organization has expertise in collections care, please find out how you can help with this new program at VHS.

Technical assistance

Questions concerning collections care and conservation are routinely handled by VHS professional staff. Assistance is often provided on the following topics:

  • Incorporating a new local historical society
  • Creating bylaws
  • Applying for 501(c)(3) non-profit status
  • Referrals to the Vermont Secretary of State’s website for questions on taxes, etc.
  • Collections conservation
  • Collections care
  • Collections inventorying and cataloging
  • Acquiring interns
  • Educational outreach
  • Hosting public events
  • Publishing town histories
  • Fundraising
  • Finding volunteers
  • Strategic planning
  • Creating websites
  • Applying for town financial support
  • Purchasing insurance
  • Preservation of buildings

For more information or assistance, please contact Eileen Corcoran at the Vermont Historical Society: (802) 479-8522 or

Vermont Connecting to Collections Project

The Vermont Connecting to Collections Project was an IMLS-funded project of the Vermont Historical Society working in partnership with the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, the Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont State Archives. Surveys were sent to public institutions with Vermont heritage collections including: museums, historical societies, historic sites, libraries, municipal offices, and probate courts. Of the 776 surveys sent out, over one-third were returned with answers to questions about who is responsible for and how they care for their collections.

IMLS_LogoTo see summary of findings, go to Vermont Heritage at Risk