Archaeological Curation in the Mississippi Valley Division: A Plan for Consolidation
Army Corps of Engineers, Mandatory Center of Expertise St Louis United States
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, and 36 CFR Part 79, Curation of Federally Owned and Administered Archeological Collections, state that archaeological materials removed from federal lands remain the property of the U.S. government and that federal land managers are to ensure that these collections are preserved by suitable scientific or educational institutions possessing adequate curatorial capabilities. Currently, MVD archaeological collections are ineffectively managed and improperly housed due to their dispersed locations and inconsistent administration. In February 2014, MVD command directed the Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections MCX CMAC to review the location, extent, and condition of MVD collections and to prepare a plan for consolidation that would include a program for cost effective and efficient long-term curation. Under this directive, MCX CMAC, for the first time, reviewed collections status information that included ownership and long-term responsibility. MCX CMAC also reviewed repositories and funding strategies throughout MVD. A plan for consolidation was developed based on a critical review of the appropriate care required for collections and the need to achieve efficiencies. The study findings and recommended plan include the following MVD archaeological collections totaling 4,200 cubic feet are housed in 22 repositories, and most collections require some level of rehabilitation. Through collections ownership research, the study identified a reduction in volume of 43 from the originally reported 7,300 cubic feet in 48 repositories. The Corps is required by 36 CFR Part 79 to appropriately care for collections and to use monies appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress to fund curation.