My last post I talked about how I am almost finished with entering the entire collection into the museum’s collections management software. I can safely say that next week that will finally be finished. It is a bit relieving finally getting this task accomplished. When I first came to the American Royal almost two years ago, I had no idea the amount of work that was needed. After my first couple of weeks I quickly knew that I could not complete the task within the ten weeks I was initially hired for. I was working off a Microsoft Access database that was created in 2003 and was horribly outdated and was missing over 400 entries. I decided the only way to accomplish this task thoroughly was to go through each file individually and to ignore the Access database. Now I have entered just over 500 artifacts and when I am finished it should be closer to 525.
When I am finished with this I will start writing the action plan and organizing the collections storage areas available to me now. The end of the semester is quickly approaching, but everything is finally coming together.
Thanks for reading!
Before getting into the weeds of preparing for the move there are a few loose ends for me to finish. First, I need to complete digitizing the collection records for the museum, which has been a year and a half process so far. This is important to the move for two reasons. One, I am updating the collection as I go through this process, something that has not been done for awhile. Because of a lack of sufficient staffing, a few items have been misplaced simply because it was not recorded when an item was moved. Also, the collections will be searchable and it will much easier to look up a specific object or to create lists. I am hoping to finish this project within the next month so I can start working on the action plan for the American Royal and start offering suggestions on collection storage based off of current needs.
During this entire process I am also organizing the collection storage areas and addressing collection storage issues that need to be addressed immediately. This includes new storage materials and finding space for collection storage at the current location. This will also help get a better idea of what will be needed at the new facility.
Hello, my name is Philip Bland and I am the Collections Intern at the American Royal Association. Most people know the American Royal for its barbecue contest, livestock shows, or horse shows and few know that the American Royal has its own museum. For the past year and a half I have been working under the Director of Education, Kristie Larson, to help digitize the museum’s collection catalog and implement some best practices in collection storage. This semester though, we are pivoting from addressing current needs to looking towards the future.
Last October, the American Royal Association announced the relocation of its events and offices to a brand new facility located in Kansas City, Kansas. With it, the American Royal plans to incorporate an education center in addition to its current museum. With the prospect of a brand new museum at a new location, one of the first questions posed to me was how do we move the collection? This semester I will be working on developing an action plan for how to move/store the collection to the new museum. Also, I will provide a list of collection storage needs and options for the new museum. While working on this plan I will be reaching out to other museum professionals in the area that have also recently gone through moves or facility upgrades that required their collection to be moved and/or stored.
I am excited to take on a project that will expand my knowledge of collection management and also provides an opportunity to network with other museum professionals in the Kansas City area. I hope to pass on some of the knowledge to you as well throughout the process.
It’s been a busy two weeks at the American Royal. The week of September 19th we welcomed over 5,600 students and teachers to our School Tours and Youth Rodeo event and that Saturday we held a standing-room-only ProRodeo. That week a lot of my time was spent on School Tours acting as a lead for registration and welcome.
Last week I spent most of my time debriefing School Tours. Answering questions like what improvements can be made for next year? How did we handle certain situations? What adjustments did we make as the week went on? Now that the biggest education event of the year is over, I can really focus on reworking our Royal Scholar application process.
This week I will be composing the actual application and figuring out what will be the best format. Should it be a fillable PDF document or should we use an online based form through Formstack. Many of our applicants will be familiar with a web-based application, but we are limited in how many questions we can ask and what kind of questions we can ask.
This week most of my time was spent on preparing for School Tours, the American Royal’s largest education event of the year. Next week we will be hosting over 4,000 elementary students from across the Metro over four days. They will be learning various things about agriculture from how bees are important to agriculture to live milking demonstration. In the afternoon they will watch the Youth Rodeo, which is a fun way to end the day.
I mentioned in my previous post that the project I will be focusing on for this blog is the revision of the Royal Scholars application process. Let me explain a bit more about the American Royal’s Royal Scholars program. The Royal Scholars Program is our collegiate scholarship program. Each year a group of students who are majoring in an agriculture related field are selected to be the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship. We do not just award the scholarship and require nothing else of them though. They will make two trips to Kansas City at the Royal’s expense to help with various events. Last week they attended our Boots and Business After Hours event where they were able to introduce themselves to the business community of Kansas City and do a bit of networking. Next week they will help us with the last day of School Tours and lead workshops on Saturday for Youth Leadership Day, a daylong conference targeted towards local FFA and 4-H chapters. Since we use the Royal Scholars for so much, it is important that they are not only extraordinary students, but are articulate and leaders in their community.
I don’t want to get too wordy in one post so next week I will go over the current application process on what changes I want to make to.
Hello! My name is Philip Bland and I am a Master’s student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I am working on my M.A. in History through the Public History program and my B.A. in History is from the University of Missouri (go Tigers!). Being a lifelong Kansas Citian, I have come to truly appreciate everything this city has to offer, but have only recently discovered one of it’s oldest traditions.
I began working at the American Royal in May of 2015. I was contacted by one of my professors, Dr. Chris Cantwell, about a ten week internship with the American Royal to help organize their collections in their museum. Now, at this point the only thing I knew about the American Royal was the World Series of Barbecue, but I thought it would be good experience so I applied. Initially, the internship was only supposed to last ten weeks, but was extended for another ten weeks. After the second ten weeks were finished, I was given a part time position to help with the educational programs at the American Royal in addition to running the museum.
I will be posting each week chronicling my experiences at the American Royal. Specifically, I will be working on revising the application and selection process for the Royal Scholars program.
Oh man. For those researchers out there who have never come across the KMBC collection at the Marr Sound Archive, you need to check it out!! The Arthur B. Church KMBC radio collection offers an eclectic mix of local and national news, music shows, interviews, Kansas City events, political advertisements, local business advertisements, and serial programs from roughly 1930 to the 1950s. Between 2011-2012, the Marr Sound Archive digitized and documented 445 hours of material with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. You can read more about it here.
I have been digging into the KMBC collection in order to find more information on John B. Gage, the mayor of Kansas City from 1940-1946. Due to the hard work that went into archiving this collection, there is ample information to aid researchers in their work. Not only have I been able to discover information on John Gage, but I have also come across many other surprises. For example, I have included here a sound clip from the 1941 American Royal in Kansas City. In this recording, one finds an interesting crossroads between popular culture and local politics, as interviewer Larry Clark lets city manager L.P. Cookingham and actress Ruth Hussey speak to one another.
Those interested in archiving can access the finding aid for this recording here.
The Arthur B. Church KMBC radio collection is invaluable for those interested in the history of radio broadcast and Kansas City, and contains a plethora of subjects from which to conduct interesting research.