Historic collection will be assessed

Come this fall, the Wilton Historical Society will be making a list and checking it twice — to determine exactly what is in its collection and how each item may best be preserved.

With a grant from Heritage Preservation of Washington, D.C., the historical society will participate in the 2013 Conservation Assessment Program (CAP).

This program will help the society by providing a general conservation assessment of the museum’s collections and historic buildings, a major undertaking considering the scope of the society’s holdings.

“This is coming at a perfect time,” said Leslie Nolan, executive director of the historical society. “We have so much to do, so many collections. They are going to help us prioritize, catalog and conserve.

“We are not a typical historical society,” she continued, pointing out the major collections of toys, tools and trains. “We have over 600 tools and hundreds of toys. It’s probably the best toy collection in the state of Connecticut.”

Beyond that, there are collections of furniture, textiles, china, ceramics, paintings, decorative arts and costumes including dresses, lingerie, gloves, hats, muffs, purses, uniforms, children’s clothing and handmade shoes. “Wilton in 1850 had 150 shoemakers,” she said.

In addition to the objects, the historical society is responsible for 17 buildings, which will also be part of the assessment program.

Under the program, professional conservation and preservation specialists will spend two days this fall surveying the collections and buildings and three days preparing comprehensive reports that will identify conservation priorities. The on-site consultation will enable the historical society to evaluate its current collections care policies, procedures, and environmental conditions. The assessment reports will help the museum make appropriate improvements for the immediate, mid-range, and long-range care of its collections and historic buildings. The historical society expects to develop an ongoing list of priorities for the best care and conservation of its permanent collections and historic buildings from participating in the program.

According to Ms. Nolan, no such assessment has been done in recent memory.

The Wilton Historical Society is at 224 Danbury Road. Its current exhibition is 75 Objects/75 Years, An Anniversary Exhibition from the Permanent Collections.

Information: wiltonhistorical.org.