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About the Collections Access Project and Collections Database

The Collections Access Project

Photographing a Vase

Supported by a three-year, $1 million grant, the Collections Access Project makes possible unprecedented online access to museum objects, manuscripts, books, photographs, and other materials in Historic New England’s collections. By searching the online database, visitors to the web site can see images along with descriptive catalogue information and unique stories about objects located throughout the organization’s historic properties and storage facilities. The project embodies Historic New England’s commitment to providing access to its vast holdings of research materials and historical artifacts in new and exciting ways.

Staff members have focused on cataloging and photographing a variety of items, including furniture, wallpaper, jewelry, textiles, photographs, architectural drawings, ephemera, and household articles. Visit Historic New England’s website frequently and continue to explore the region’s past and present as told through its fascinating objects.

The Collections Database

As part of its centennial celebration, Historic New England inaugurated its first online system that merges information about its immense collections of museum artifacts, archival documents, books, and periodicals in a single resource. This unified database contains thousands of records and images. A significant percentage of Historic New England’s total holdings have been catalogued. The project is ongoing, and the number of records and images continues to increase.

The records vary in respect to the volume and status of information. Many records have in-depth data that staff members have verified. Some records consist of preliminary descriptions.

The materials in the database are catalogued according to local guidelines and adaptations of national standards. Generally, several controlled vocabulary systems are utilized for names and descriptive terms: the Getty Research Institute's Art & Architecture Thesaurus, Thesaurus of Geographic Names, and Union List of Artist Names; Robert G. Chenhall's The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging; and the Library of Congress Authorities database.

The cataloguing information found on records may include: titles, names of makers, names of associated individuals and organizations, dates of production or publication, places of production or distribution, formats, media, materials, descriptions, dimensions, and descriptive terms.

The quality of the images accompanying the records ranges from high quality to screen quality. Some records do not yet have images.

Please explore the collections.

About the Collections Access Project and Collections Database