Archaeology after the field: assessment of the Josselyn Collection at the University of Alabama Birmingham

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University of Alabama Libraries

The University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) Josselyn Archaeological Collection (Josselyn Collection) contains artifacts from over 100 Archaic and Woodland period Native American sites from Alabama and other states in the Southeast. The collection is named for avocational archaeologist, Dan W. Josselyn, and contains both amateur and systematic field collections. The collection is in a state of disorganization. Major organization and restoration of the Josselyn collection needs to be undertaken not only for it to meet federal standards, but to fully meet its research potential. A review of Museum Best Practices was conducted to develop guidelines to revise and improve the Josselyn collection. In addition, a review of five institutions with collections similar to UAB's was conducted to discover their procedures for implementing Museum Best Practices guidelines. Based on this study, it is recommended that the following measures be developed for restoring the Josselyn Collection; (1) Develop a collections management policy; (2) Develop a collections manager position or assign oversight of the collection to department member; (3) Address security of the collection, which includes NAGPRA issues, collection hierarchy, and access to collections; (4) Implement environmental and pest control measures; (5) Develop formal lab procedures; (6) Rectify the poor storage conditions of the collection; (7) Address records and documentation issues, such as offsite backup and the development of database and current institutional records for the collection.

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Archaeology, Museum studies