Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fragile objects

There are many fragile objects in this collection - feathers, beading, paper mache masks, broken glass bottles - but there are some objects that make me nervous just looking at them. This partially reconstructed bowl is one of them:

Repaired pot

Repaired pot

Repaired pot

My best guess is that this bowl or pot was never a whole object in the collection. There was a donation of thousands of pottery sherds received in the 1970s, and I think the pieces making up this bowl came from that donation. This bowl is one of the objects which lacks any documentation. There is no number written on it, which is the primary way in which I can match an object to its records. Fortunately, this type of pottery is a very small percentage of our collection, so I can make some educated guesses about its history.

I believe that these pieces came to the museum in pieces and were reconstructed as a student project. In many areas, one can see the glue seeping through the cracks and yellowing.
Repaired pot

Most of the repairs seem reasonably secure, and I was able to lift it, but it makes me very very nervous to breath within a couple of feet of it. So what is going to happen to this bowl/pot? For the time being, it will be recorded as an undocumented object - an object that we might be able to find information on later, but don't have it right now - and taken care of as best we can. Deciding how to house it so it can be moved to a new facility will certainly be a challenge!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crystal Skulls and Glass Flooring

It's a quiet week here - I'm spending a lot of time processing digital photos for the database. We're also making headway in designing an actual website for the museum. This isn't an official date, but we're hoping to get it online by late August.

In the meantime, I keep up with museum news and blogs while I eat lunch, and two items caught my eye today.

More of the "crystal skulls" are forgeries. There was a big hullabaloo right about the time that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released over one of the famous crystal skulls being fake. The revelation that it was a forgery prompted other institutions with crystal skulls to begin close investigation. And this article reveals that the skulls in the British Museum and the Smithsonian both have evidence of modern manufacture. Sorry, Indy.

The Brooklyn Museum is reflooring its Court. Way more interesting than it sounds. This blog post from the Brooklyn Museum shows how they are saving and re-creating a very cool glass floor in their popular Court. Lots of neat images of original floorplans and the undertaking to save the floor. Check it out!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back to work!

Here in the US, we're coming back to work after a long weekend. I've got a list of projects to tackle this week which include processing some objects which had not been cataloged or photographed, some database cleanup, and some filing. In the meantime, here are some photos of the new building, coming along nicely. I may have mentioned this, but the museum will not be occupying the entire building; instead, it will have a nice suite of spaces on the first floor. The Anthropology and Geography departments will make up much of the upper floors.

As always, click through for larger images.
The addition to the front of the building is coming along very nicely.
Dean Hall July 1, 2008

The bottom floor walls have been put up.
Dean Hall July 1, 2008

It's quite a dry region here; you can see what the grass would look like if it wasn't watered regularly (most of the campus is).
Dean Hall July 1, 2008