Archives and museums collect their artifacts and documents based on their collection development policy. Every institution’s collection development policy is unique, as it lays out a guideline for what type of material the institution will and will not collect. The Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives department is dedicated to collecting material mainly pertaining to the history of Loyola University New Orleans, the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus, and the history of New Orleans and Louisiana. You can read our complete collection development policy here.
Often, especially when an archive or museum has been in existence for a fairly long time, artifacts and other items come into their possession which don’t really fall into the collection development policy guidelines. This could be for several reasons: perhaps the collection development policy wasn’t written or enforced at the time of the donation; perhaps the donor wasn’t able to find another institution to donate the item to. Whatever the reason, historical institutions tend to occasionally find odd ball items in their collection.
Such was the case recently here at the Monroe Library. A certificate was discovered dated June of 1856 for St. John’s Lodge No. 11, a Masonic Lodge in the District of Columbia. After several communications with the lodge, which is still active, and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, we are happy to report that the certificate has a new home in the Grand Lodge Archives. Now this historic document will be much easier to find by researchers, genealogists, and historians.
Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.