I’ve finished compiling all the gathered information about the objects in the Alexander Major’s House into an Excel spreadsheet, which I believe will then be imported into PastPerfect (the museum’s collections management software). There are several required fields that must be filled out when adding object records for accession.
One is the Collection field. I decided to have each room of the house be its own collection. For example, there’s a painting of Alexander Majors in the house’s entry hall, so it will be part of the Entry Hall Collection. Objects are given both a less descriptive Object Name, as well as a more descriptive Object Title. The Object Title would be “Oil Painting of Alexander Majors,” while the Object Name would simply be “Painting.” The Object Description includes even more details about an object, including information about the object’s specific location in the room, it’s composition, place of origin, etc. For instance, the Object Description for the Major’s painting contains details about the artist and painting, like how it was painted by local artist Mary Campbell and was based on a tintype of Majors at age thirty-six. Other information required in an object record include the date the object was made, the name of the donor, the catalog date, and the name of the staff member who cataloged the object. The most difficult part has been finding out who the donor of an object was, which I am currently working on by looking through old newsletters and organizational papers.
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 I was working off a Microsoft Access database that was created in 2003 and was horribly outdated and was missing over 400 entries.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!
By Kathrine Miller
This is a continued posting of my blog discussing on working among the collections at the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead. I thought it would be a great topic to breakup into a couple postings due the amount information and photos that I am relaying on this particular topic. Please be sure to see my first posting on this topic to follow my journey.
My last post left off where I was elated of finding an organization that would take the time to make sure my internship had a well-balanced learning experience. This included finding out that I would have an opportunity to work among their most cherished items besides the actual site itself. I know this is a rare educational experience that I am gaining and I will be grateful for every minute of it.
As stated before, the project I am handling is a small artifact collection that has been sitting on site but has not been cleaned, catalogued properly, nor stored in the appropriate preservation containers. For the last two weeks, this has been my duty on Saturdays and at I was elated then I started to look at all the work needed to be completed-Got to work very quickly!!
Each step became regimented, precise and I began to find my pace within the pile of collections. Katie, my immediate supervisor would check on me from time to time as I worked through the assembly line of washing the artifacts in buckets of warm water to sift to dirt and grime as best as possible to the final stage of a drying table. The next step would be to catalogue the artifact on a hard copy of a “Catalog Form”. This form consisted of detailing information such as an object ID, object name, home location, where found, description / condition of item and taking and its height/width/length.
I had to tag the object ID of each artifact and also photograph each piece for a computer backup. Within the group of collections, I have completed the process for all the glass artifacts and I will now begin to start the cataloguing of the more difficult pieces next. I figure this will take me another couple Saturday sessions to complete this project but I have gained a solid block of knowledge within the collection room.
The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) is presently accepting applications for one internship position with an emphasis in the history of Family Medicine.
The position is open to all interested undergraduate and graduate students living in the Kansas City metropolitan area and surrounding communities, with preference given to students majoring in history, library or information science, historical administration or a related field. The successful applicant must complete a total of 120 hours over 8 to 12 weeks; weekly hours and scheduling are flexible. Upon successful completion of the internship, a scholarship award in the amount of $1,000.00 will be given. For additional details on duties and responsibilities of the position, please visit the Center’s website at:
The CHFM serves as the principal repository for the collection, conservation, exhibition and study of materials relating to the history of the specialty of Family Medicine in America, and acts as a combination library, archives and museum.
The Center is located at the national headquarters of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) at 11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway in Leawood, Kansas.
For more information, please contact:
Don Ivey, MPA
Center for the History of Family Medicine
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood, KS 66211
Telephone: (800) 274-2237, ext. 4420
Fax: (913) 906-6095
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
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.
While this is my first post, I’ve been at the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) for some time now. And my work has been quite eye opening so far…
The first day there, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a board meeting. ATHS is large, so they have board members from across the U.S. Each member can then join a committee of their choosing. (Archival, fundraising, etc.) It was nice to see how other museum entities functioned with their boards. ATHS is quite different though because the majority of their board are or were truckers, so sometimes it can be a challenge with conflicting ideas based on personal interest and professional need.
My main project so far has been helping to organize the ATHS’s White Photo Collection. The White family began the ATHS, so the majority of the photos were passed on from them. This task seems so large, but I really enjoy the work of organizing and making sense of the collection. There are about 130,000 photos in this particular collection, and it is the largest collection the ATHS possesses. Ultimately, the idea is to digitize the collection so members can search an online database for the pictures. Also, most of the pictures are in stage one degradation (vinegar smells!), so organization and storage needs to happen rather quickly.
In the board meeting I participated in the members were discussing digitizing the collection and then possibly destroying the collection in an effort to save time and money for future storage facilities. To me this seems horrible, but I guess if you don’t have the money? What do you fellow interns think?
The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine and the International Center for Osteopathic History are seeking two students for for 12 week paid summer internships. The interns will Assist the museum’s Registrar with inventory and cataloging the institution’s collection. As necessary, the Collections Intern will support the Registrar with other collection management projects. Students will come away with experience in collections management, PastPerfect record keeping software, and the digitization process.
Interested applicants should see the full call for interns here. Cover letters and curriculum vitae are due to the museum by March 3, 2014.