Moving Beyond the Archival CMS Status Quo at MFAH
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is one of the largest museums in the United States. The museum’s archives houses more than 100 years of institutional records and associated manuscript collections that chronicle not only the museum’s history, but also the artistic and cultural development of Houston—collections that should be broadly accessible and discoverable.
Prior to implementing ArchivEra, the archives staff worked (and struggled) with a “hodgepodge” of databases and legacy information repositories. The move to a central location was the motivator to invest in a purpose-built archival collections management system. The CMS needed to be simple and fast to implement, offer complete functionality out of the box (unlike open source software or an “adapted” museum or library system), and easy to learn and maintain, without scripting or coding—and without independence on the IT department.
Says Managing Archivist Marie Wise, “As a small archives staff of two, we need a system that we can maintain and customize on our own yet has all the functionality we need, out of the box. The customization options and flexibility of ArchivEra are unique; we are able to make it be what we want it to be.” The MFAH Archives had a number of requirements; the right CMS had to deliver:
- Fast, reliable implementation
- Accessions and records retention tracking
- Ease of use, and customizable without relying on IT
- Enable staff to easily manage hierarchies and generate finding aids
Not only has ArchivEra delivered results in all those areas, it brought the “serendipity” factor, ending up solving even more problems than they set out to, such as replacing their legacy exhibition database.
We invite you to learn more about the many ways the archives within The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston uses ArchivEra to move well beyond the status quo. To read their full success story – please click here.
Investing in Archival Digital Projects
Archival digital projects offer greater efficiency, opportunity costs, increased institutional prestige, build staff expertise, and improve morale.
Strategizing for Digitization Projects
Archivists strategize before a digitization project. Digitization requires a significant investment, and assessing costs and benefits is essential.
Reading Room Recommendations
An archives reading room should provide reader comfort with optimum security for historical materials.
Processing Room Recommendations
A processing room provides a separate workspace from storage areas where archivists examine, sort, arrange, describe, and rehouse archival materials.
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