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SLAM Records Management: Home

Resource guide for staff with recordkeeping responsibilities at SLAM

Historical Overview

The Museum Archives, located in the Richardson Memorial Library, is the institutional repository of historical records documenting the Saint Louis Art Museum’s campus, events, exhibitions, and programs. In 1975, Head Librarian Ann Abid expressed concern over the care and storage of the remaining Art Department records from the 1904 World’s Fair and other historic institutional documents. Under Abid’s leadership, the Art Department records were microfilmed in Detroit at the Archives of American Art and the Museum Archives program was established under the Library Department. A full-time Archivist was hired in 1976 through a grant funded by the City of St. Louis. A second full-time Archivist was then employed on an annual appointment from August 1976 through August 1977. He continued on in a part-time capacity from January 1978 until 1981. In November 1981, a National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) matching grant established the permanent records management program with a full-time Archivist and Archives Technician. The Archives program continued with two staff positions until October 2008 when the Archives Technician position was eliminated. A Records Policy Task Force was organized in 2011. The Secretary to the Boards, as Custodian of Records, was designated to serve as the Records Manager (Minutes of the Records Policy Task Force, March 27, 2012). The Saint Louis Art Museum instituted a formal records retention policy in 2013.

1904-1975:      The bulk of the Museum records and the World's Fair Art Department records were housed in a small room on the 3rd floor of the Cass Gilbert building. Additional Museum correspondence files were periodically transferred, but the space was subject to soot, dust, and extreme temperature changes. The need to clear the east wing for renovation work brought attention to the condition and historic value of the documents.

July 1975:        Archives of American Art surveyed the entire collection. The Art Department records of the 1904 World's Fair were shipped to Detroit for microfilming. 

1975-1981:      Historic Museum records placed under the protection of the Richardson Memorial Library (RML) and stored in a former painting storage area located in lower-level west wing attached to the back of the basement location of the RML

1981-1985:      Archives office relocated to the South Building in the stacks of the new library space

1985:               Archives storage moved to the room known as Gilbert 105 (lower level, east wing north side) with compact shelving

Late 1989:       Storage expanded to include Gilbert 110 (also lower level, east wing on south side) with standard shelving installed 

1998:               Compact shelving by Peterson installed in Gilbert 110

2008-2018:      Archives Office relocated in the former Teacher Resource Center

2018:               Archives office moved into the former Slide Library room of the RML

Records Management Role Delineation

This chart delineates the roles of the Department Head, Custodian of Records (CoR), and Archivist in administering the archives and records management program. 



Records designated as permanent in the Records Retention Schedule are transferred to the Museum Archives when no longer of use to the originating department.

Staff should contact the CoR and Archivist when records are ready to be transferred. "Inactive records" are defined as those records the Museum does not use on a day-to-day basis.

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Custodian of Records

When records are transferred to the Museum Archives, the CoR delegates the management of the records to the Museum's Archivist.

The Records Retention Policy will be reviewed annually by the CoR to respond to changes in federal or state law. The CoR will update and maintain the Record Retention Schedule in collaboration with the originating department and the Archivist.

Changes to the Policy, including the Records Retention Schedule, may be proposed to the CoR by the originating department or the Archivist as needed to respond to changes in federal or state law, space limitations, or long-term use. All proposed changes require the approval of the CoR and the Director.

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The Archivist is responsible for the inventory, storage, retrieval, and preservation of inactive permanent records, including those records of enduring value which document the history of the Museum and its affiliated organizations, both past and present. The Archivist performs periodic reviews of records stored and may consult with the originating department and the CoR if changes to the Records Retention Schedule are warranted.

Chronology of Archivists

Carl Bollinger                           1976 (March-August)

Gerald Baum                           1976 (September)-1977 – full time

                                                 1978-1981 – part time

Doris Sturzenberger                 1981-1985

Patricia Adams                         1985-1987

Norma Sindelar                        1987-2018

Keli Rylance, CA                       2018-2019 (Acting Archivist)

Jenna Stout, CA, CRM             2019-Present

Chronology of Custodians of Records

Madeleine Borggraefe             1909-1922

                                                 (1920 Bylaws est. Secretary as CoR)

James B. Musick                     1922-1945 

Merrit S. Hitt                            1945-1966

Andrew M. Stevens                 1966-1969

Alan Brimble                            1969-1979

Thomas C. Newkirk                 1980-1984 (Secretary / Controller)

Sidney M. Goldstein                1984-1987

Judith Weiss Levy                   1987-1988

Michael E. Shapiro                  1989-1990 (Secretary / Chief Curator)

Steven Owyoung                     1991-1992 (Secretary / Curator of Asian Arts)

Rick Simoncelli                        1993-2003 (Secretary / Assistant Director)

Sue Eddens                             2003-2005

Allen Langston                         2005

Maria Kveton                            2005-2011

Sean O'Neal                             2013-2016

John H. Remelius III                 2016-2022

Lawrence Crayton                    2022-2023