- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) - About 3,200 artifacts will be removed from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum’s collection amid an upcoming reduction in staff.

In an effort to keep museum operations manageable, roughly 25 percent of the museum’s 13,000-piece collection will be moved by June to a U.S. Army Center of Military History warehouse in Alabama. The remaining items largely will be those directly related to arsenal history, including the bell of the wrecked Effie Afton steamboat, the taxidermy horse in artillery harness and an array of small arms.

The museum staff will be reduced to one employee, after it went from five to three employees in the last few years, Steven Carr and Jodean Meleski of the U.S. Army’s Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Directorate told The (Moline) Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1QhWY13 ).

Museum staffers are responsible for tracking inventory and maintaining the collection, developing exhibits, leading tours and assisting with research.

Public hours will be reduced to allow staff more time to handle behind-the-scenes work. Other services, such as tour and research assistance, may not be as readily available, Meleski said.

Both of the Army officials stressed that the museum will not be shut down.

“Everyone realizes this museum is very, very important to the island and to the community,” Carr said.

The downsizing effort is part of a plan by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command to reduce building footprints by consolidating space, reorganizing unused or underused material, and changing building uses, according to Meleski.

Items targeted for removal include artifacts that are rarely or have never been displayed, the officials said.

In the future, if the Rock Island Arsenal Museum needs to use any of the artifacts that will be moved, it will be able to ask for those pieces back.

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Information from: The Dispatch, https://www.qconline.com

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