History Center Looking to Shrink Con Foster Collection

Boxes and shelves filled with artifacts. Traverse City’s History Center says they need to clean house.

The Con Foster collection contains thousands of artifacts- but many don’t represent the Grand Traverse region’s history.

Now the museum is left figuring out a way to properly get rid of many of the items. 

“It’s a collection of items from all over the world, and our museum’s mission is Grand Traverse region, Traverse City.”

Beneath the History Center of Traverse City sits thousands of odds and ends and artifacts. It’s the Con Foster collection, but many of the items aren’t necessarily needed by the history center. 

“We’ve been working really closely with the city on these, and they do know that this is a problem we have because we would like for the collection to gain more items that are appropriate for this area, because history keeps going,” explains Maddie Buteyn, the acting executive director of the History Center. 

To reorganize each item in a moral and ethical way, they must find the correct paperwork that goes with it; a process that sometimes takes up to five hours, and will cost thousands of dollars. 

“We are not able to deaccession because it is city owned items so we are working with the city on possibly coming up with a plan in the next several months to several years on how to prioritize the items in the collection.”

No matter how long it takes, their goal will remain the same. 

“We just want to make sure they find a home or stay here,  but to find them a better suited home for them,” says Buteyn.

Not every Con Foster item sits down in that room, many are currently on display at the History Center, which is open for the public to view.