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Consultant to assess artifacts for Doleman Black Heritage Museum

November 18, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown has named a consultant to assess a collection of artifacts that one day will be housed at the Doleman Black Heritage Museum.

On Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council agreed to hire Mary Beth Corrigan of Kensington, Md., to assess the collection, which includes slave bills of sale and mid-19th century quilts that former slaves made to commemorate their freedom. Part of Corrigan's role will be to assess the historic significance of the collection and recommend conservation strategies.

The artifacts were collected over the course of several decades from black households in Washington County by former Hagerstown resident Marguerite Doleman, who died in 2000 at the age of 79. Doleman kept the items in her North Locust Street home.

Doleman's friends and relatives, including her son, Charles "Sonny" Doleman, are in the process of finding a building to showcase the artifacts.

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City Planning Director Kathleen Maher told the council that Corrigan will earn $30,000 to assess the collection. Of that money, $15,000 will be covered by a grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, Maher said. The remaining $15,000 will come from the city's general fund contingency.

According to city documents, a six-member committee, which included Maher, met Oct. 31 to review three proposals from people who expressed interest in assessing the collection. The committee decided to choose Corrigan because she "exhibited good experience in conservation of historic artifacts" and showed the ability to "identify threats to the collection," such as mold, mildew, insects and rodents.

Maher told the council that Corrigan's proposal to assess the artifacts "came right in on budget."

"We're going to get good value for our money," Maher said. "(Corrigan) is going to do a very detailed analysis."

Other proposals were submitted by Nanny Jack & Co. of Baltimore and Richard Grubb & Associates of Cranbury. N.J. The amounts of those bids were unavailable.

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