Skip to Main Content

Preservation Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of preservation.

Meeting Notes

14 people representing 12 institutions attended this virtual program.

The guest speaker was Anastasia Matijkiw, DHPSNY Program Manager. Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY) provides services to institutions that hold historical records. These services include planning and assessment services. To receive assessments, institutions must submit an application. There are three application rounds a year. The deadline for the next round is March 26, 2021.  Applicants receive a response about 8 weeks after the deadline. .

A staff member from Schenectady County Historical Society was at the meeting. The Historical Society has received a DHPSNY assessment in the past. They said the hardest part of the assessment was setting aside time for the preparation work needed to provide the information DHPSNY needed prior to their assessment visit.

The assessments focus on archival materials, so make sure that your application reflects your archival holdings, not museum objects, historic buildings, books.

DHPSNY offers three types of assessments: archival needs assessments, preservation surveys, and strategic planning assistance. Local governments can apply for preservation surveys but not the other two types of assessments. Institutions may only apply for one type of assessment at a time, and DHPSNY will not begin a new assessment until any previous assessments awarded are complete. If it has been more than 10 years since your last assessment, DHPSNY recommends that you apply for another one. More information and sample applications are available on the DHPSNY web site. If you apply for one type of assessment, but the reviewers believe you would benefit more from another type of assessment, they may award a different type of service.

DHPSNY also provides condition surveys that build on past assessment. However, these are difficult to do in the current virtual environment. Please contact Anastasia if you are interested in a condition survey.

DHPSNY will also be introducing a new assessment track for institutions that aren't yet ready for a full assessment. This new program will help institutions build capacity so they will be ready for full assessments in the future. The program will accept applications on a rolling basis. DHPSNY will send out information when this program is available.

Assessments result in detailed reports as well as an 8-12 page Executive Summary that highlights big picture findings to share with yoru Board and members. The reports help institutions better articulate what they need and advocate for it. Institutions can have success asking for donations of items or money for needs identified in the report. They can also help staff emphasize particular needs to their Board and get more Board support for projects. The reports provide proof to funding agencies that your institution has done preliminary legwork on an issue and may improve your chances of getting a grant.

Institutions may only apply for one assessment at a time, and a must have completed an assessment before applying for a new one. This is to ensure that both the institution and the consultant doing the assessment can focus on the area of the assessment. DHPSNY is working to check in more intentionally with sites in the year following the assessment than in the past so answer questions and provide follow up support. Starting this year, DHPSNY is also offering follow up training 6 months after institutions receive the assessment report. The training will be a 1/2 virtual program that will focus on implementing one of the recommendations in the report.

Strategic Planning Assistance

DHPSNY works with NYCON for strategic planning. They will do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and then lead a facilitated conversation. They will work with the institution to develop goals, strategies and actions for the next three years, and a formal plan to present to the Board for approval.

Preservation Survey

Preservation surveys have changed during COVID and requires more collection of data by the institution's staff  before a report can be written. Sites fill out  an extensive questionnaire that will include photo documentation of the facilities.They will also collect snapshot data from environmental data collection loggers loaned to the institution by DHPSNY. After this, the institution will have virtual meeting(s) with DHPSNY. Once DHPSNY has all the information they need, they will provide a report.

Assessment Application Process

Applications are submitted online with a program called Submittable.This is the preferred method of application, but DHPSNY can provide paper copies of the application if an online application is difficult for you.

Every application is reviewed by at least three outside reviewers and then it goes to the Advisory Committee for final decisions. DHPSNY staff does not do the formal review, so they can provide help and review your draft application as long as you provide time for them to do so.

Application Tips

  • Make sure your application narrative focuses on your archival material, not your museum objects, historic building, etc.
  • Clearly explain why you need the service you are applying for.
  • Fiscal responsibility section - you do not need to be bringing in a lot of money or have a big budget, but DHPYSNY wants institutions to be spending money on your archives and organization. 

Other DHPSNY Services

  • Everything now being done virtually, and DHPSNY is still figuring out the best way to provide some services this way.
  • Developing a blog, which should be available soon.
  • Currently highlighting anti-racism work in New York State.
  • eNewsletter - this is the best place to get information about upcoming programming.
    • Can sign up for the newsletter on DHPSNY web page.
    • Includes information about events related to documentary heritage in New York State, so can send event information to Anastasia for inclusion in the newsletter.
  • Webinars - most are recorded and available on the web page under the Education tab.
  • Plan to offer more in-depth online courses in 2021. Let Anastasia know if you have ideas for topics. Will produce handouts and packets for people unable to participate online.
  • Mentorship Circles - Groups of 6-8 people to discuss things they all want to learn more about. Circles include students and new and experienced practitioners. Hope to launch the next group of circles in Summer 2021.
  • Plan to offer more in-depth online



© 2024 | Capital District Library Council
800 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham New York 12110
Phone: 518-438-2500