This fall, the American Truck Historical Society is looking for two interns to assist in the digitization and cataloging of the White Motor Photo Collection. As necessary, the Collections Intern will support ATHS with other collection management projects.
- Enter accession and donor information for objects in the collection not already entered into the museum’s collections management software PastPerfect;
- Update old records already in PastPerfect;
- Correlate all items with correct paper and database files. If these files do not already exist, create said file;
- Ensure all objects are properly marked with old and new accession numbers;
- Digitally photograph or scan each object and add images to PastPerfect
Start Date: Flexible
Intended graduation with a focus in Museum Studies, History, or related field; strong attention to detail; excellent written and oral communication skills; and ability to work well alone and in a group.
Interested students should reach out to Courtney Dery (firstname.lastname@example.org), ATHS Library Director, for more information. Graduate students are preferred, but qualified undergraduates will be considered. Students interested in applying should follow the guidelines on the How to Apply page.
By Caitlin Eckard
So I have learned how to work with a new type of technology for this project as well. Yay for more things to put on my resume! The collection has several negatives, but no prints to go with them. I have been photographing the negatives using a backlight mount with a camera mounted above to capture the negative’s image. Obviously, these will have to go back and be edited some, but I think this is a great way to save the image. Eventually, ATHS will be able to make prints from the negatives, but right now we are just trying to digitize everything.
The only problem with the backlight is the temperature. It can get pretty hot, and usually it is only good for about a couple hours use. However, photographing these negatives goes really quickly. We also came across some glass negatives this week! I was excited, because I have never seen them up close. I feel a lot of progress has been made on this collection since I began the project. It is nice to see empty file cabinets, and the photos correctly sorted. I am scanning/ photographing about 1200 photos/ negatives every three days. After the photos are taken care of, it will be on to some of the films in the collection, which I would like to work with since I have no previous experience doing so.
By Caitlin Eckard
Even though I am working on the same project, there are so many issues at play here. The most recent and annoying issue has been the numbers assigned to the photos I have been scanning. There really is no organization between years, truck models or makes, or subject matter. They are all heaped together with no rhyme or reason. Hopefully, once this giant project is finished we can organize photos based on certain criteria, which would make them easier to find for reference questions. Also, I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, storage is really an issue here. More specifically storage and care of the photos/ negatives needs to be better. A lot of these items are bent, folded, or wrinkled simply because they have not been stored properly for many years. However, that is a project that other interns have been working on.
This week I have been more focused on photographing the negatives with no prints so that they may be added to the archive software. However, many of the negatives are loose, with no number or anything written on them. in the lucky moments when there is a reference number written, it takes a magnifying glass to find the number. This brings up the question of collections management. I cannot stress enough how important it is to organize collections in such a way that multiple people can access them. I have experienced this problem in many archive situations, where only one person has the knowledge to find items. This makes things very difficult when there is a high turnover rate for these employees. Every time a new library director comes in, they basically have to start from scratch to figure out how their predecessor organized collections. However, I am extremely happy to be part of the team that is making this library a better working institution.
By Caitlin Eckard
So as of today, I have scanned near 2000 photos. Storage is becoming a large issue here. The photos range from the 1930s to the present day, so a lot of the prints and/or negatives are in very poor condition. I am glad to be part of the team that is preserving these photos, but the questions remains for many of the board members: what do we do with these photos/ negatives after they have been scanned and digitized? Luckily, I have had some say in what to do with this collection. I think it needs to be saved, for reasons other than reference questions. (Which is typically what these pictures will be used for.) There is just a problem of storage, climate control, and maintenance, which some people feel is too big of an expense to the historical society.
I wish there was a simple solution to this problem, but it will still require some decision making on ATHS’s part. I think that they should make these photos searchable on their website, so people could pay for prints they might want. I think this would bring in enough income to store the massive amount of photography. It is very difficult to explain the importance of this collection to board members who think we should just dispose of these materials. However, I think that is a typical problem with museums and historical institutions, where do you draw the line?
By Caitlin Eckard
ATHS’s annual Convention and Antique Truck Show was the last week of May in Springfield, MO. I went as a volunteer, and actually learned a lot about the internal workings of the historical society. I was also privileged to meet the majority of the executive board, who all thanked me endlessly for the work I had already completed this Spring. That was nice to hear.
I worked at the merchandise table and answered general questions about the show. All in all there were 711 trucks registered and around 4500 visitors. They also already have the profits made from this years convention, which I thought was an impressive number. The interesting this is that the profits they make from the conventions are not added into their budget. Apparently, only in previous years have they made a decent profit. Hopefully, this can maybe go towards another employee…. One can wish!
I think the convention was run very well, and it was a fun event, I did learn a lot more about trucks. I prefer the brass era trucks because they are the oldest and most interesting in my opinion. They already have the next four years conventions booked too! Hopefully, they continue to do well with this fundraiser of sorts, because it really is a good event, and worthwhile to the company.
1914 MW. Oldest truck at convention.