ICPN Mission Statement, Goals, and Background

The Illinois Collections & Preservation Network is a consortium of Illinois museums, libraries, archives, and preservation organizations that is working for you and for future generations!

The Illinois Collections Preservation Network was formed in 2010 as a result of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Connecting to Collections grant that was awarded in 2009 to the Illinois State Museum Society as representative of a consortium of 12 Illinois institutions.  This Statewide Preservation Planning Grant was the first time that such diverse entities as museums, libraries, archives, and preservation organizations worked together to garner federal support for Illinois' heritage collections.  To see comprehensive lists of Illinois' collection-holding facilities, go to the menu tab "IL Repositories."



The mission of the ICPN is to ensure the long-term preservation of museum, library, and archival collections in Illinois that document cultural and natural heritage for the education and enrichment of future generations.


Every state holds a unique blend of ingredients that are part of our heritage and identity, both as a state and as a nation.  In Illinois, a wide variety of institutions hold such collections in trust for the citizens of today, and want to ensure their care for future generations.  Illinois collections include irreplaceable works of art, artifacts, historical objects, books, documents, maps, photographs, audio and video tapes, digital records, and scientific specimens that document our state's unique cultural and natural heritage.


Illinois' heritage collections are under threat from natural hazards, human-made problems, unexpected calamities, and the inevitable processes of deterioration.  In 2008 alone, flooding, tornadoes, and an earthquake took their toll on Illinois collections -- the result was the damage and loss of irreplaceable treasures.  Many other important collections are stored in facilities with inadequate environmental controls and security, placing the state's heritage at risk.


  • Increase awareness of the importance of collections for the preservation and interpretation of our cultural and natural heritage.
  • Provide and promote a broad program of education and training in preservation.
  • Initiate, encourage, and enhance preservation programs and activities in all Illinois collections holding institutions.
  • Create an infrastructure and network to facilitate and sustain cooperative and coordinated preservation efforts of the ICPN.
  • Facilitate intelligent collections planning to target high priority needs and safeguard collections and test the efficacy of the plans.
  • Facilitate access to current online information on collections care, planning, training, cooperative response for emergencies, and funding opportunities for collections-holding institutions.

BACKGROUND: The Connecting to Collections Plan and Survey

  • In 2009, the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Illinois State Museum Society, representing a consortium of 12 Illinois institutions, a Connecting to Collections Statewide Planning Grant of $40,000 for preservation planning in the State of Illinois.  This was the first time that Illinois museums, libraries, archives, and preservation organizations had worked together to garner federal support for the state's heritage collections.
  • In July 2009, a survey was conducted to identify the long-term preservation needs and desires of the rich natural and cultural heritage represented in the many collections across the state of Illinois (our survey design was based on that of the Minnesota Connecting to Collections project, which closely followed the 2004 Heritage Preservation Heritage Health Index (HHI) survey).  The survey was designed to be completed on-line, but had the option of a paper copy if requested.  It was emailed to about 1000 institutions that included governmental organizations, large-sized public and private institutions, and small and mid-sized collections-holding organizations.  Participants completed 228 on-line surveys and 5 paper copies.  Survey respondents expressed a wide range of needs from increased preservation staff to increased training opportunities and funding for better storage facilities.  Graphs of the ICPN Survey Results can be seen here.
  • Four regional meetings were held to engage representatives from collecting institutions in dialogues that further assessed needs.  The following topics were explored:  Assessing Environmental Conditions and Collections Care, Disaster Planning and Response, Building Public and Professional Awareness and Future Preservation Efforts.  Scholarships were available to help with meeting travel costs.  Each of the day-long meetings engaged staff from museums, archives, libraries and historical societies in discussions ranging from how to set up a low-cost, sustainable statewide preservation program to more elaborate ideas which would require funding to sustain.  The dialogues at the meetings confirmed many of the results of the survey. 
  • The ICPN Preservation Plan was based on the results of the 2009 survey and the four meetings conducted by the Illinois Connecting to Collections project partners. Click to read a narrative about the Network and Preservation Plan.
  • In 2011 the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)  awarded the Illinois State Museum Society on behalf of a consortium of 12 museums, libraries, archives, and service providers across the state a Connecting to Collections statewide implementation grant ($182,241).  Illinois was one of only six states to receive an implementation grant in 2011.