Collection management plan and artifact analysis of a central Texas German ranch, Hedwig's Hill (41MS3), Mason County
O'Brien, Karen Lynn
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The Hedwig's Hill Collection is a classic example of an uncared-for, under-researched collection within a museum setting. Generated in 1971, this collection sat unprocessed within various storage conditions and facilities of the Museum of Texas Tech University. In 1979, a portion of the Collection was removed for conservation purposes. However, no work was ever completed and boxes full of artifacts were misplaced for 18 years before being relocated. During this time, artifacts were broken or destroyed through abuse and lack of care. Because of the current state of the collection (disorganized, improperly housed), basic collections management and simple preventive conservation procedures provide the basis for reestablishing the integrity of this collection. Processing the Hedwig's Hill Collection and conducting research on the objects adds valuable information for the interpretation of the site and for historical data on the types of materials used during the time period (1855 to 1930). Although rare, in-depth reports on historical materials from similar houses (early western frontier settlements) have been conducted in San Antonio (Durrenberger, 1965) and Victoria County (Fox and Livingston, 1979), Texas and at a farm house in Arizona (Fontana and Greenleaf, 1962). The main goal of this study is to bring the Hedwig's Hill Collection under control. This goal is reached through implementing standard, managed care over the Collection and gaining an understanding of the extent of the Collection in terms of the kinds of materials, amounts of materials, and condition of materials. A second goal is to use the Collection to demonstrate the potential for research of a collection that had been uncared for previously.