Off the Shelf

Off the Shelf

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Find out more about our Archives and Research Center.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Special Places, The Trustees' member magazine. To subscribe, join The Trustees today.

In Massachusetts, you can find history under every rock and on every corner. From the tracks of dinosaurs and the settlements of Mohicans to the stone walls of colonial farmers, The Trustees care for and share an incredible array of places and things that illuminate who we were, who we are now, and who we will be. 

But what you don’t see at Trustees properties are the hundreds of thousands of objects, photographs, maps, plans, diaries, and more that we don’t have room to show at our historic properties. Even The Trustees’ most celebrated natural landscapes have intricate stories behind their donation, acquisition, and protection — and we have stacks of documents that attest to them all. 

Now, we also have a place to organize and store them, thanks to 6,000 linear feet of high-density compact shelving newly installed at our Archives and Research Center (ARC) in Sharon (yes, that’s more than a mile of shelving!). The ARC provides state-of-the-art storage for all of the objects and archives not on display at our properties — as well as the documents and other materials that tell the story of each Trustees property and conservation restriction. It’s an extraordinary resource for staff, of course, but also for scholars and educators with an interest in everything from colonial dairy practices to the origins of the land trust movement itself. 

Just what does a mile-plus stretch of shelving look like? Check out our time-lapse video of its installation: