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Processing Archivist, Fruitlands Museum, Sharon, MA


Processing & Finding Aid Creation

Fruitlands Museum Archives



December 14, 2018


Contact:        Alison Bassett, Manager of the Archives & Research Center



Project Overview

Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts joined The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) in 2016. Founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, the museum takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane which took place on this site in 1843. Along with the acquisition of 210 acres, The Trustees acquired archival collections.


This project's goal is to finish processing the collections that are listed below. For each of these collections, a finding aid will need to be created in accordance with archival standards and best practices. By performing this work, we hope that the materials can become immediately available for research with the finding aids put online.



The Trustees is seeking a qualified processing archivist to work at the Archives & Research Center at 27 Everett Street in Sharon, MA and process 30 linear feet.  To date, there has been a project archivist who has created a finding aid for the Shaker manuscript collection, and an archives assistant who has arranged the materials at box level. Therefore, this project's scope shall consist of processing at file level and then creating finding aids for the Fruitlands Collections for the following semi-processed archives: 

  1. Transcendentalist Collections (consists of papers from S. Margaret Fuller, Brooks Farm, George Willis Cooke, the Alcott Family, and others; lists and biographies already created - verify materials are as listed and update finding aid to reflect Trustees template)
  1. Shaker Collection (update with any additional materials)
  1. Sears Collections (update with any additional materials)
  1. Native American Collection (materials regarding the care and acquisition of materials) 
  1. Paintings (referred to as Gallery) Collection (materials regarding the care and acquisition of materials)
  1. Governance Collection (materials have been sorted by Archives Assistant, now need to be organized according to Trustees template)
  1. Stewardship Collections (to be organized according to Trustees template)



The Trustees of Reservations

Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation's first and Massachusetts' largest preservation and conservation nonprofit, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. Supported by members, friends and donors, The Trustees' 117 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.


The Archives & Research Center

In addition to our reservations, The Trustees operates an Archives and Research Center (ARC), an archives facility that serves as the hub of our curatorial stewardship and shelter for 127 years of records. The ARC, established in 2008, cares for a rich collection of historical items, including objects, books, manuscripts, and other archival materials. Subjects represented in the collections encompass American farming, social history, women's history, and military history, as well as American art, architecture, and landscape architecture, among many others. The ARC also contains collections that document the lives of American families from the 17th to the 21st century.


In its short time of existence, the ARC has become a valuable resource to The Trustees' staff and researchers from around the United States. We have seen incredible growth in our use and holdings. Our goal is to continue this expansion and bring more of the ARC's resources to an even wider audience than we currently reach. By creating online access to our collections catalog and finding aids, we aim to better serve the scholars, genealogists, teachers, writers, and the public that currently enjoy our properties and resources.


Statement of Needs

By processing Fruitlands Museum's historical and stewardship material, the ARC team will be better able to help the Fruitlands Museum property team as they launch a new planning effort for the property and its collections. The ARC team will also gain a clearer understanding of the contents and strengths of the collections, thereby allowing us to better assist researchers, to provide better care of the physical collections; and to promote the materials to new audiences.


Processing work will occur at the Archives & Research Center located in Sharon. Our operating hours are 9 - 5 each weekday. The processing estimate of 30 linear feet is based on the rubric developed by Yale University. Work will begin on or about January 14th, 2019 and must be completed by March 15th, 2019.



The Processing Archivist, will report to the Manager of The Trustees' Archives & Research Center (ARC) for an estimated three-month period. For each collection, the archivist will compare materials against the inventory, if available; identify any items in need of conservation or special handling; arrange materials to the folder level; describe the collection by creating a finding aid in Microsoft word, using the ARC's template, and in accordance with institutional practices; rehouse where necessary, and label all boxes and folders using ARC standards for identification. Upon review, the Digital Archivist will post finished finding aids online.



The processing archivist should have:

  • Master's degree in Library Science, with an archives concentration from an ALA -accredited institution.
  • Undergraduate degree in relevant discipline preferred, such as American history.
    • Demonstrated experience in processing manuscript collections, including arrangement and housing.
    • Demonstrated experience in describing collections, supported by completed finding aids.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of best practices for handling and housing different types of manuscript materials.
    • Excellent communication, interpersonal, research, writing, and analytical skills.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of archival processing standards and procedures.
    • Be able to able to lift or move 40 pounds unassisted, carry large/awkward folders, and climb and reach on stools and rolling ladders.

State Law prohibits discrimination. Awarding of this contract is subject to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity guidelines. The Trustees of Reservations is a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization.



The processing archivist would start the week of January 14th, 2019. At the start of the project a schedule will be developed identifying goals and proposed dates for completion of each stage of the project. The ARC team will support the Processing Archivist with weekly check in meetings and a review of collection arrangement plans.


All work for this contract must be completed by March 15, 2019.



This is a fixed-price contract, not to exceed $9,000. Work as outlined must be completed for this fee. Contractors will be paid monthly upon submission of an invoice for work completed in the month prior to billing.



Alison Bassett, Manager of the Archives & Research Center


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