The National Watch & Clock Museum is excited about the opportunity to use the NAWCC Message Board as a means to provide both NAWCC Members and the general public with information about the Museumís collection, programs, events and exhibits. While many members of the NAWCC are familiar with the history and mission of the National Watch & Clock Museum, some in the general public are not. I would like to take this opportunity to share some basic information about the museum with you.

The National Watch and Clock Museum was officially opened to the public in 1977 with fewer than 1,000 items. Since that time, the collection has increased to over 12,000 items and the museum has undergone several expansion projects. Today, the museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America. The collection is always being refined through the acquisition and deaccession process (things I will discuss in later messages) with the intention of serving as the dominant repository for horological objects, archival, and printed material.

The Museum collection is international in scope and covers a wide variety of clocks, watches, tools, and other time-related items. The greatest strength of the collection is its collection of nineteenth-century American clocks and watches. However, additional collections include early English Tall case clocks, Asian timepieces from Japan and China, and timekeeping devices from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Russia.

The Museumís exhibit galleries take you on a tour through the entire history of timekeeping technology from early non-mechanical devices to todayís atomic and radio controlled clocks. We will be using this forum to highlight important and interesting objects from the Museumís collection.
Special temporary exhibits are also part of the museum experience. Previous exhibits have examined Presidential timepieces, military timekeeping, fine timepieces from around the world, Civil War timepieces, and American Tall case clocks.

A future article will review the Museumís long range exhibit schedule and the rationale used in selecting topics for these changing exhibits. 2009ís exhibits are highlighting the importance of time to the field of exploration, and an exhibit presenting a fine collection of Asian fire clocks.

The Museum is committed to meeting the needs of NAWCC Members by providing access to the Museum collection (both physically and virtually) and we have an ambitious plan to create a Memberís Study area within the Museumís collection storage area. While the plan is in place, the funding is not, and we will be actively seeking funding partners to make this new collection storage and study area a reality. Additionally, the Museum houses the NAWCC Library & Archives, providing reference services free of charge to NAWCC members needing more information about their timepieces, an extensive Lending Library (including books and audio visual material), and extensive archival material.

The existence of the National Watch & Clock Museum provides NAWCC Members a wonderful resource while demonstrating to the general public the NAWCCís commitment to education and preservation. The Museum is widely recognized and respected in the museum community as a valuable resource and a worthy host for loaned objects. 2009 marks the beginning of the Museumís efforts to achieve accreditation by the American Association of Museums, something only 776 other museums in America can claim (out of a total of almost 18,000 museums in the US!)

If you are a member of the NAWCC, thank you. Your membership dollars assist the Museum in achieving its mission. If you are not a member of the NAWCC, please consider becoming one and joining thousands of other like-minded people who enjoy and support the technology, history and preservation of horology.