Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Archival planning before a renovation.

Plans were in place to renovate VNSNY’s offices and the Archives needed to be moved later in the year. The lead time was about six months. The options discussed included deposit or donation of the Archives to an appropriate institution, or transfer to a storage facility with appropriate environmental controls where work might be undertaken. Winthrop would research and prepare options for VNS to review and consider. In advance of this task, a general clean-up of the Archives was needed and authorized. A contractor rearranged the boxes on shelves to match the organizational structure prepared when the Archives was set up in the mid-1990s. Other work included refiling the charged-out materials and preparing a Locator Guide that would facilitate access to the various groups and series of materials as well as aid in the planning for the move. In addition, Winthrop assisted with the conversion of the Archives Q&A Database to Excel, an internally supported spreadsheet.

Following the clean-up, research identified four institutions with interest in the VNSNY Archives and two options for long-term storage. The report contained a brief overview of each repository and its collections, a list of collections complimenting or with a connection to VNSNY, the storage environment, terms of deposit or donation, access and borrowing terms, copyright issues, etc. The VNSNY team reviewed the report and identified two institutions for follow-up meetings to discuss a deposit or donation. Winthrop archivist scheduled and participated in meetings between the institutions and the VNSNY team, responded to questions from all parties, and prepared a ‘comparison chart’ to aid VNSNY in its deliberations. Columbia University Medical Center was selected and the Winthrop Archivist reviewed the Memorandum of Agreement, identified a mover and reviewed the contract for the work. In the weeks before the move, VNSNY decided to place some of the archival materials, the uniforms, exhibit-related frames and panels, films and artifacts that had been on display in the lobby into storage provided by the moving company.  A Winthrop team of two archivists packed these materials as well as the miscellaneous charged-out files, unprocessed and other materials that had been sent to the Archives in the weeks before the move. Winthrop prepared lists of items to be sent to storage and overviews of the miscellaneous content of boxes targeted for Columbia. In addition, a Winthrop archivist was on-site the day of the move, aiding in the effort.