I began volunteering with the Log House Museum in about Mid-April. The project that I chose was basically an introduction to PastPerfect. Now this is a software used by museums to keep track of all the items in their collections, sorta like an online database if you will.
The project was to consist of closing out the “Telling Our West Side Story-Work” exhibit. This means that checking to make sure that all of the items that were on display for the exhibit were entered into the system under that exhibit and also to get the items used rehoused in their proper location. For the most part, a lot of the objects were already there, including items that were loaned to the museum just for this exhibit.
For the first few weeks, I worked on getting all of the items not on the exhibit log into the exhibit log. I did alright with this task until, I came across items that were not labeled with their object numbers or were mislabeled. These things happen and those mysteries would be solved at a later time. For the remainder of April, I spent my time getting items added to the exhibit log. After I had made decent headway with that, I began to remove the items from the exhibit log this way the exhibit could be closed out.
We shall fastforward a bit, to the tray of mystery items! This included some medicinal items, bottle opened, shoehorn, a cloth sack, and a photograph or two. I was trying to find some information on something that I can’t recall and stumbled, I guess, onto a record of a red plastic ice scrapper. Which then led me to ask, if it was at all possible that some of the items were just never labeled. The resulting answer was, yes it is possible. The tray of mystery items was solved. If I remember correctly all but three items were just never labeled, the others were loaned from a patron. With that being said, I was able to wind down the list of exhibit items to just six. Either May 5th or May 8th, I was able to wind it down to just two items. There was question on if some loaned items had been retrieved by their owner. (They were)
The last two items on the list are two matchbooks, that are being rather difficult to find, but I’m sure that in time they will resurface. The rehousing of these items has begun, it’s a slow process but I’m hopeful that by the end of my term, the exhibit will be closed out. Also, I have emailed the persons were loaned items to the museum for this exhibit. One person has already stopped in and picked his items up. Another would like theirs mailed, and so on.
After I had gotten the exhibit in a place where there was nothing more to do done on it, I was able to work on side projects. One was accessioning a collection from 2015. This collection included things from West Side Federal Savings and Loan, for instance a paper tray, sure grip, and a deck of play cards, a key chain and some photographs. Became aware last week or so that I accessioned this collection with collection of the same accession number. We haven’t figured out how to change the whole record without having to do each one individually, so that has been back burned for now.
This past Sunday, May 15th, I prepped an 1867 brown velvet wedding dress for cold storage, so as to kill off any possible insects. Although I only found insect shells on the underskirt, so win there! After the dress comes out of cold storage, it will most likely be stored in a textile box as some of the seams around the sleeve area are not the strongest.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The dress that I had put into cold storage did not come out this day. The freezer just did not feel cold. So the dial was changed to the ‘1’ setting and I checked on the temperature for the time that I was there. In between checking the temperature, I began to go through a box that had trays of buttons and some glass items. For the glass items a note was setting on top of them saying they needed to be deaccessioned. So I made a note in the Committee Review box, moved the glass items to a tray that was more fitting and added some ethofoam pieces to keep all the trays level. Then I began to figure out the buttons. There were two trays and a Ziploc bag full of buttons. In the bag there were a lot of duplicates of buttons that were already on the thinner sheets of foam. Also from further research into PastPerfect, the majority of those buttons are not in the system. After talking to Lissa, she believes that Couden donated them and to catalog them under his accession number. By the end of the day, I was able to create a list of the ones that were in PastPerfect, which ones have multiple records, and which buttons are not in the system. So the plan for Sunday (May 22) is to begin inputting the buttons into the system and begin their labeling. As there are a lot of buttons that process could take some time.