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NSHS FOUNDATION Newsletter

July/August 2002

Foundation Elects Officers and New Trustees at Annual Meeting

Jim Hewitt, Lincoln, was elected president of the NSHS Foundation during the Foundation's annual meeting April 20, 2002, in Kearney. Officers elected include: Allison Petersen, Walton, executive vice president/president elect 2003-4; Jack Campbell, Lincoln, vice president; Joanne Shephard, Valentine, secretary; Bob Northrop, Lincoln, treasurer.

The Foundation welcomed eleven new trustees to the board: Fred Backer, Omaha; David Beynon, Lincoln; Richard Bush, Kearney; Wally Dickson, Lincoln; Don Dillon, Lincoln; Marilyn Forke, Lincoln; Janyce Hunt, Blair; James Lamphere, Lincoln; Brad Rohrig, Omaha; Darrell Stock, Lincoln; and Charles Wright, Lincoln. Steve Guenzel of Lincoln was elected to the board of directors for a two-year term.

Norman Geske, emeritus director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, was the featured speaker. He discussed the history and development of art museums in Nebraska as well as some of Nebraska's most prominent artists.

Foundation Receives Two Grants in Support of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center

This spring the NSHS Foundation received two grants to assist with the purchase of three specialized tools for use at the Ford Conservation Center in Omaha.

The Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation granted $6,000 to purchase two tools that will make it possible to provide additional, complicated treatment at the center. The Leister Labor hot air gun, a device using warm or hot air as a heated spatula, can be used in all treatments involving the use or the removal of adhesives that can be softened or activated through heat. The removal of tape from paper artifacts is an excellent use of the device. The tool has variously sized nozzles to direct and control the flow of air to a small area.

The nebulizer/mister enables the conservators to disperse solutions through very fine particles. The applications of the mister allow the consolidation of paint (especially of matte, powdery, and flaking paint layers) by using a low concentration of consolidant without the additional mechanical impact of a brush. Conservators will be able to treat very fragile and powdery surfaces that would be extremely difficult or impossible to treat otherwise.

The Lozier Foundation has provided a $12,500 grant to assist with the purchase of a new digital scanner for the digital imaging laboratory at the Ford Center. The state-of-the-art scanner will offer the highest technological capabilities possible to produce scans of materials at the maximum optical resolution, allowing the capture of small details in small originals. Capturing that level of information enables researchers and historians to use the information in new ways and discover details that have not been seen since the photographer snapped the picture. For more information on how digital imaging has affected historical research, refer to Jill Koelling's article, "Revealing History," in the Summer 2000 issue of Nebraska History. Or, for a look at images scanned at the Ford Center, view the Solomon Butcher photograph collection on line. A sampling of Butcher photos on the NSHS website:
http://www.nebraskahistory.org/lib-arch/research/photos/highlite/butcher/index.htm

The entire collection on the American Memory website:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/nbhihtml/pshome.html

The financial support of these two foundations has made it possible for the Ford Center to offer additional services to preserve and conserve the material culture of Nebraska and its citizens. Delicate and complicated treatments to fragile materials can be done safely, without additional stress or risk to the materials. THANK YOU!

What to Do with "Obsolete" Insurance

Do you have a life insurance policy purchased years ago to provide financial protection you no longer need? If so, it could be a great asset to give the Foundation to support the Historical Society, while creating a tax deduction for you and your estate. Consider these benefits when you irrevocably name the Foundation as both the owner and beneficiary of the policy:

YOU RECEIVE AN INCOME TAX DEDUCTION
When you fill out your itemized tax return, you can claim a charitable deduction for the cost basis of the policy or an amount approximately equal to the cash surrender value. For deduction purposes, the gift is treated as though it were cash.
YOU REDUCE THE SIZE OF YOUR ESTATE
At death, the face value of most life insurance policies is includable in the taxable estate of the deceased. For some estates, this can mean a significant increase in estate taxes. However, transferring the policy during life will remove this "hidden" asset and reduce the size of your estate and any applicable taxes.
YOU LEAVE YOUR CURRENT INCOME UNDISTURBED
Many people would like to support the preservation of our state's history, but are concerned about their own cash flow and unforeseen emergencies. Some people are reluctant to reduce investment assets.
      At the same time, it's possible you have forgotten about an "obsolete" life insurance policy or consider it an unneeded asset. In any case, the beauty of giving such a policy is that the gift doesn't affect your current income.
IT'S EASY TO DO
Making a gift of life insurance is easier than you might think. Your life insurance professional can help you obtain a transfer form from the insurance company or you can contact the company directly.

For more information on how you can make a charitable gift with life insurance in support of Nebraska history, contact Jac Spahn, NSHS Foundation executive director, 888-515-3535 or 435-3535 in Lincoln.

As with any charitable or estate planning, you should consult with your advisors to determine which method may be best suited to your individual needs.

Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South #408
Lincoln, NE 68508

Storing Your Treasures
By Julie Reilly, chief conservator, Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center

As we delve into the next millennium, many of us look to the past as well as to the future. What important events have shaped our past? What are the mileposts of our culture, our state, our city, and our families? How can we preserve the lessons and the triumphs of the past for the future? How can we save Nebraska's treasures and our family's treasures?

One of the easiest ways to preserve our mementos, documents, photographs, christening gowns, pennants, medals, trophies, and other items is to store them properly. The first line of defense in proper storage is keeping your treasures in a good environment. The rule of thumb is that if you would be comfortable in the storage location, your objects will be "comfortable" there also. High or low temperature, high or low relative humidity, and high light exposure all cause serious deterioration of historic and artistic collections.

Storage materials, those that are safe and compatible with your treasures, are the second line of defense. Many paper products, such as cardboard and newsprint, are chemically acidic. The acids from poor quality storage materials migrate into your object, where they attack the materials from which your object is made and accelerate the degradation process. Storage boxes, papers, file folders, tissue, and fabrics should be made of archival quality materials. They should be acid-free, 100 percent cotton, and lignin-free, if possible.

Some storage materials are made with a buffering agent incorporated into them. The alkaline buffer helps absorb the acids that your object produces as it deteriorates and helps slow the aging process. These storage materials are great for nonprotein based objects, such as papers and cotton fabrics, but not for silk, wool, leather, or photographs. Some plastics, such as polyvinylchloride (PVC), used to make slide pages, are bad for long term storage because they also produce acids when they age. Others, such as polypropylene and acrylic plastics, are inert and safe for use in storage. Rubber bands, self-adhesive labels, rubber cement, most glue, and tape should be avoided. These materials actually deteriorate faster than your object and will cause damage. Paper clips and staples will corrode, eat away at paper, and cause staining.

Wood, used to make cabinets, shelving, frame backboards, and cupboards, emits a great deal of acid and other aggressive gasses that attack objects. You may have found a lead coin or figurine in an oak drawer that is covered with fuzzy, white corrosion. This corrosion is due to the emission of acidic gas by the oak. Cedar, erroneously thought effective for pest control, emits almost as much acid as oak and is not good for long-term storage of papers or clothing. Metal storage furniture is better, and today's "powder coated" steel is the best.

Enclosures for storage should always be large enough to completely contain your object. Folders should be large enough to entirely enclose your papers or edges will be torn, frayed, or worn. Heavy objects should not be stacked on lighter ones. Anything folded should be padded with acid-free tissue to prevent creases and tears at the folds. Objects too large for boxes or cupboards can be covered with washed unbleached muslin drapes to keep out light and dust. Framed pieces should be stored on edge with pads beneath the frame.

All items should be at least four inches off the floor on shelves or on blocks to allow for easy access for cleaning and to prevent damage in the event of a plumbing leak or flood. If you have an object you are interested in saving for the future, proper storage is a must.

There are special storage tips for specific types of collections. For example, silver cloth is ideal for storing silver and can be purchased from your local jeweler. If you have questions about your collections, family heirlooms, or other items, please contact the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 402-595-1180.

Foundation Board of Directors

James W. Hewitt, Lincoln, President
Allison D. Petersen, Walton, Executive Vice President
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary
Robert D. Northrop, Lincoln, Treasurer
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln
Thomas Creigh, Jr., Hastings
Martha A. Greer, Lincoln
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln
Diane N. "Diny" Landen, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Lu Marcotte, Nebraska City
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Cynthia Olson, Lisco
Amy Scott-Willer, Omaha
John W. Webster, Omaha
S. N. "Bud" Wolbach, Grand Island
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln

Dorothy G. Hevelone, Beatrice, Director Emeritus

Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio
Keith Blackledge, North Platte, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Jim McKee, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio

Contact Information:

Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South, #408
Lincoln, NE 68508-1813

Ph: 402-435-3535
Fax: 402-435-3986


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