January 6, 2018, New Orleans, LA

  1. The committee approved the minutes from the previous year.
  2. Attendance /Membership:
    • Those in attendance were: Sara Rivers-Cofield (Chair), Timo Ylimanu (SHA Board liaison), Kerry Gonzalez, Mary Petrich-Guy, Marybeth Tomka, Norine Carroll, Jenn Ogborne, Alasdair Brooks, Robert Chidester, Leigh Anne Ellison, Mike Polk, Danielle Cathcart, Heather Olson, Dani Mount, Chris Lowman, Paola Schiappacasse, Elizabeth Bollwerk, Sarah Platt, Susan Snow, Cyndal Mateja, Beatrix Arendt, Dena Doroszenko, Giovanna Vitelli, Amanda Sexton, Jessica MacLean, Emily Williams, Mike Lucas, Leah Stricker, Sarah Heffner, and Christina Hodge
    • Committee chair Sara Rivers-Cofield made a general statement that membership is really open to anyone who wants to serve, but also offered the option of being a “lurker” on the e-mail list. Everyone who signed in indicated they want to be a member, except for one person who prefers to be a lurker.
  3. Update on the Archaeological Collections Consortium (ACC): Sara RC reported on the activities of the ACC for the year. The ACC is a curation-focused group bringing together members of SHA, SAA, and ACRA collections committees to work together on collections concerns in archaeology. The SHA representatives on the ACC are Mark Warner, Julia King, and Sara Rivers-Cofield. The ACC worked on three main projects in 2017:
    • Putting together a new edited volume on curation/collections management; the draft chapters are in and under review by the SAA press.
    • Drafting guidance for “no-collection” fieldwork projects which seem to be a growing trend in the western U.S. but currently lack regulation. The best practices document hit a hiccup getting approved by SAA, who wanted a stronger stance against no-collection in general. The ACC revised the introduction to address SAA’s concerns.
    • The new project of the ACC is to pull together curricula that can be used to teach about collections in various academic and professional settings, whether it is one lecture in an Intro to Archaeology class, a whole class devoted to archaeological collections, or a workshop for cultural resource managers on collections.
  4. Presentation of projects:
    • The CCC sponsored a reprisal of the “Boxed but Not Forgotten” session, again led by Mark Warner with Sara R-C as co-chair. It was very well attended. One of the participants, Paola Schiappacasse, suggested we might want to consider turning the session into an edited volume. [Sara later passed this suggestion on to Mark Warner who was not in attendance, but realized that SHA was already publishing an edited volume called “New Life for Old Collections” which is in press, so we might want to wait and see how that volume does.]
    • Sara R-C and Kerry Gonzalez taught a workshop on using x-radiography as a collections management tool. The workshop was full and people seemed receptive.
    • Leigh Anne Ellison and Sara R-C hosted a Curation roundtable for the second time. The table was full and many topics were covered. Sara took notes on things the participants were looking for, such as more guidance on collections care from SHA, particularly with regard to artifact sampling, artifact databases, and ownership issues.
    • Kerry Gonzalez (with Marybeth Tomka and Mary Petrich-Guy) presented the preliminary results of their work to collect information on collections repositories from each U.S. State. They passed around copies of the report, and said they had an 85% response rate, but were still looking to hear from anyone they might have missed. Several follow-up measures were discussed [see the section below on plans and goals].
  5. Plans and goals:
    • Curation Repository Survey: The discussion of plans and goals began with the continuation of the work of the curation repository survey sub-committee. How do we want to use the info we have gathered and what are the next steps?
      • The first priority is to contact all of the respondents to touch base and verify the accuracy of the information before anything is disseminated (Kerry and the sub-committee)
      • We want to look for more responses and fill in any gaps.
      • We want to get this information up on the SHA website to serve as a resource for people (Sara would work with Mark Freeman to get the CCC a presence on the SHA website).
      • Dena Doroszenko suggested that we include Canada in the survey and she offered to help with this.
      • Marybeth Tomka stated that she would like to see an expanded database of who has what collections. This is something the SAA Collections Committee has apparently discussed but has not really executed.
    • Helpful Resources: Continuing with the theme of gathering helpful resources, the CCC had previously discussed making YouTube videos, webinars, and similar that deal with collections care. This year we decided to accumulate links instead of trying to make these resources ourselves.
    • Conservation FAQ: Emily Williams reported on her effort to update the Conservation FAQ that is currently on the SHA website. After resolving some authorship issues, the conservators who developed the resource have decided that they would prefer to add to the FAQ instead of revising. They are seeking questions people would like answered.
    • Generating Content: Amber Grafft-Weiss came to the meeting to solicit content from the CCC for various SHA social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, the SHA blog). Marybeth Tomka offered up the barcode effort at TARL as a blog post. In general, all agreed that creating content on collections for the website, newsletter, journal, etc. was a good thing. Sara would solicit content in e-mails to the CCC.
    • Conference presence: Plans for future conferences centered around ideas for workshops, especially the idea of having a workshop on how to do collections-based research, with a theme of “Excavating the collections.” Also discussed was the idea of having something akin to the technology room, except that it would be a room where repositories could set up tables to feature collections they have that people could use. Also discussed was the idea of having a table where people could “Ask a Curator.” Sara said she would follow up on this in the Committee Chair meeting since it involved booking conference space, which has financial implications and can get complicated.
    • Collections Award: Giovanna Vitelli again brought up the idea of creating an SHA award for exceptional work with collections. Sara explained the rationale for shifting the approach to nominating collections-based research for existing awards; namely that the awards committee is not open to adding awards and collections-based research might be better served if it is considered simply doing archaeology, not a separate a separate “other” approach to archaeology. This continues to be the strategy adopted by the CCC.
    • Bottle residue analysis: Although not present because of a conflict with another meeting, Mark Warner reiterated an offer from the University of Idaho to do free bottle residue analysis (sender pays shipping). Just e-mail him at mwarner@uidaho.edu.
  6. Discussion/New Business from attendees
    • No brand new plans were discussed; just more ideas for following-up on content-generation, workshops, etc. as discussed above.
  7. Adjournment