Friday, March 21, 2008

Progress Report

This week is Spring Break for Central Washington University. That means that it is extremely quiet in the building, which normal bustles with undergraduates during daytime hours. The quiet has given me a chance to take stock of progress. But first, a progress shot of our future museum home:

Dean Hall construction 002

The Dean Hall renovation is progressing! The bottom floor walls have been moved out - I can see framing for them around - and the front of the building is being added on to. Dean Hall will house more than the museum; it will also be home to the Dean of the College of the Sciences, the Geography Department, the Anthropology Department, and several large classrooms. But it's exciting to see progress being made.

Progress is being made inside the museum as well. I had three hard working interns helping me this quarter. They worked on a variety of tasks including cataloging, rehousing, photographing, and updating the PastPerfect records for nearly 250 of our collections objects. Receiving special attention was our collection of West African material, including many pieces of jewelry, our collection of spears, arrows, and bows, and our collection of Southwest Pottery. I cannot thank these interns enough for their hard work, and am grateful that two will be returning for the Spring Quarter.
Updated housing

Updated housing

In addition, Anthropology 362: Curation and Collections Management researched our small collection of Navajo weavings and rehoused them. Previously, these textiles had been half-rolled, half-folded, but now they are rolled and hung on our impromptu textile storage rack.
Updated housing

So we've made some really excellent progress this quarter, and I think we're going to make some really excellent progress next quarter. We've come a long way, but there's a great deal more work to be done.


bronwyn said...

I recently discovered your blog after trawling through the net for some information on collection management. I've been employed as the only person to look after a small sports museum. the collection storage as it is at present is giving me nightmares - so much degredation, things housed in plastic containers all over the place etc etc. can you recommend any good books / websites that give information on the best way to store and house a collection. I've come at this from a Public Programmes / exhibition research background and am really struggling with lack of knowledge about conservation storage.
best of luck with the project - i look forward to seeing how it progresses and getting more ideas for my own museum.
thanks, bronwyn.

Lynn Bethke said...

Are there other museums in the area you can contact or whose storage area you might tour? I find it's always most useful to see what other people have done. I have found the volume Storage of Natural History Collections: Ideas and Practical Solutions by Rose and Torres to be useful. Also the Manual of Housekeeping from the National Trust has much useful information about material types.

A couple of websites which I've found useful/inspirational:

But I do wish there was more online about practical solutions to collections storage (and I should know - I've spent a lot of time looking for that information), which is part of the reason I like to show the occasional storage examples.

Feel free to email me, as well: bethkel at cwu dot edu