By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Collections stewardship expected to enhance Santa Fe Trail Center
santa fe sign

By Jim Misunas

LARNED — The Santa Fe Trail Center Museum and Research Library has been selected to participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP).
Museums choose one of three categories for its assessment — collections stewardship, organizational, or community engagement.
The Santa Fe Trail Center will take part in the collections stewardship assessment process. A team of museum staff, Fort Larned Historical Society board members, volunteers and a peer reviewer will work together to assess and improve the museum’s care of artifacts which have been donated to the museum.
Becca Hiller, museum education director, said the museum is responsible for completing a survey and will answer specific questions about security and collections. The museum will select its peer reviewer from a recommended list sometime after July. The museum maintains more than 10,000 items and 5,000 photographs.
The program is funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and throughout its 30 years has been administered by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The group will underwrite $4,000 in travel and professional expenses for the Santa Fe Trail Center.  
“This program will help us improve our collections,” Hiller said. “They want to know how we maintain our collections and how we file paperwork on items and how we store them. The person we will choose will come from a similar background like Larned so they will understand the issue a museum of our size faces.”
Hiller said the guided self-study and on-site consultation with a museum professional, will empower the Trail Center to better serve the citizens of Pawnee County by facilitating its meeting and exceeding the highest professional standards of the museum field.
Small and mid-sized museums of all types, including art, history, science and technology, children’s, natural history, historic houses, nature centers, botanical gardens, and zoos participate in the program.
“Choosing to be part of the MAP program is indicative of the commitment to civic involvement, public service and overall excellence on the part of the Santa Fe Trail Center,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “Studies have shown America’s museums to be among the country’s most trusted and valued institutions. MAP is designed to make them even better.”
MAP is a confidential process of self-study, peer review and implementation. Museums use the assessment process to strengthen operations, build capacity, and enhance communication throughout the organization and in response to community needs.
Since its creation in 1981, the MAP program has served over 4,300 museums. MAP is supported through a cooperative agreement with IMLS. For more information, including a list of museums participating in MAP, please visit, call (202)289-9118 or email
AAM is the only organization representing the nation’s entire museum community and has been dedicated to promoting excellence within the museum field for over 100 years. For information about AAM, visit
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Please visit: http//
The Santa Fe Trail Center is two miles west of Larned on K-156. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call (620)285-2054; email; or visit