Thursday, September 25, 2008

Green is the new black!

Dean Hall is on track to be LEED certified. So when NPR's All Things Considered profiled the California Academy of the Sciences as the world's greenest museum, it caught my attention. Check it out!

New Renovation Photos!

Last week Friday, I had chance to tour Dean Hall a second time with the Anthropology Department. The last time I toured was in May, and a lot of progress has been made since then. It’s very very exciting to see the spaces really coming together.

Apologies for the photos – taking photos into dark spaces with flash and, apparently, a dusty lens makes it appear that it was raining in the building. I assure you, it was not.

This is part of the museum work area. Such a nice long work area with storage. There will be more shelves along the walls and tables in the middle to work at, as well.
Museum work space

This is my favorite part. This space is the collections storage room. The runners in the floor will support our compactor storage units. At the left of the image is part of the large structural column that also lives in our storage space. It’ll be a challenge to work around, but no more so than the challenges our current spaces present.
Collections storage space

The overhead lights in the work space. Don’t they look big and bright? The alcove in the background is created by the entry way into the collections space – our loading bay, essentially.
Workspace lighting

That’s all for the museum space, but the rest of the building is coming along well too. The upper floors are more complete. This is the third floor student area. Lots of light, and a great view onto campus.
Third floor student study area.

And your standard issue hallway.
A third floor hallway

We also got to go out on the roof. They’ve built a small teaching area up there. These pipes also come out of the building up there – they look very futuristic and just cool.
The roof

Oh yeah, and the view’s not bad either. I can’t believe the trees are starting to turn. Fall is here!
View from the roof

There are more photos in Flickr!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Whatzit Answer: 9/19/2008

Last Friday's Whatzit garnered two guesses: A silly guess (my apologies, Jeff, if this answer was sincere) that the object in question is a decorative figleaf, and a more serious guess (thank you, May) that the object is a pincushion.

Whatzit - 9.19.2008

I would agree with May, that the practical use of this object was as a pincushion, although I might also imagine that it was simply hung on the wall. In our database, however, we call it neither a pincushion or a wall hanging; it's a whimsey.

Yes, whimsey, as in whimsical, fanciful, fun, silly. Produced by tribes of the northeast, often Iroquois or Mohawk, whimseys were popular between 1890 and 1930, often sold at craft fairs or, notably, to tourists at Niagara Falls. Whimseys were produced in many shapes and styles. The whimsey in Friday's post is known as a trilobe heart, but the boot was also a very popular style. We have many examples of whimseys in our collection.

An essay on Iroquois beadwork is available here, and images of many more whimsies are available here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Whatzit! 9/19/2008

I'm back! I have a lot to talk about, but not right now. Now is time for another edition of everyone's favorite guess-that-object game: Whatzit?!

Here's today's mystery object:
Whatzit - 9.19.2008
It has a lot of beads...

Whatzit - 9.19.2008
Is firm, but not hard...

Whatzit - 9.19.2008
And has an undecorated side...

So... Whatzit? Answers coming early next week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And the beat goes on

Well, I am back from vacation. It was delightful and I got to see lots of natural beauty, some interesting museums, amazing petroglyphs, and lots of great American kitsch. But September is here, and I guess that means a return to reality. And with reality, comes mystery.

I have the object pictured below and I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of something my grandmother had with her sewing supplies, but I don't have a clue about how to start searching the internet to find a name for it. Do you have any idea? It's made of a light wood, with a structure that reminds me of bamboo.
Unidentifed object

And look what else I found upon my return to work! A great big spider. I think it's a Hobo spider. I saw two in two days. One here at work, and one in my apartment. *shudder* I'm not a huge fan of big, venomous spiders.
Big spider
I'm not actually concerned about seeing one here at work because these spiders usually live outside, I didn't find it in a collections area, and spiders rarely pose a threat to collections. Spiders, if they are living in collections areas, are more likely to be a monitor that will let you know there may be other pests in your collections. Still, I'll be happy enough not to run into one of these guys again this year.