- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - With a project as arduous as moving an entire museum’s worth of artifacts to another location, that museum needs all the help it can get. Yankton’s Dakota Territorial Museum recently got some needed assistance.

Independent conservationist Terri Schindel of Estes Park, Colorado, visited the museum late last month to help prepare some of the museum’s more fragile artifacts for the move to the Mead Building. This included sewing protective nets onto very old and worn flags and onto a dress worn by a lady-in-waiting for Great Britain’s Queen Victoria. Schindel’s area of expertise is textiles.

Museum Director Crystal Nelson told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (https://bit.ly/2aSK9jU ) that she was grateful for the extra assistance.

“Terri is not only helping us get ready for the move, but is also doing a basic assessment of what the items will need before it goes on exhibit so we don’t have to take it out and revisit it again before then,” she said. “We don’t want to potentially damage it more than we have to.”

Schindel also assisted with training museum workers and volunteers about cleaning, rehousing and preparation work for the move, as well as how to package textile items.

“The volunteers have done basic level training with me and advanced training with Terri,” Nelson said. “They’re working on their projects and Terri’s helping them so they can keep working on them.”

The textiles they were working on, like the 36-star flag created in either the 1860s or 1870s, will most likely be in storage for several years before being unpackaged. This is due to what museum space will be available before and after the move, though Nelson hopes to eventually use it in an exhibit.

“When we get to the new facility, we want to do a better job taking care of the collection pieces, so we won’t have them on display all the time,” she said. “They will go on a rotation basis so they can have some rest and recovery between their exhibition times.

Schindel’s presence was secured through an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant the museum received in 2014. She will eventually return to help prepare more artifacts for the move as part of the grant. She has also helped the museum apply for federal grants in the past.

Schindel, who graduated from conservation school in 1988, has worked as a conservator of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C. and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. She currently travels throughout South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana to help various museums with their conservation projects.

“I teach people in small, rural and tribal museums collection care and conservation,” she explained.

She enjoys learning the history of the artifacts she works on.

“Our ancestors kept the most important things to them and almost all those items end up in local history museums,” she said. “Local history is where you find the really amazing artifacts.”

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, https://www.yankton.net/

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