Posts Tagged ‘collections’

What’s cooler than being cool?

July 30, 2009

ICE COLD!

So this past week I got to experience one of the joys of collections management: mold. Yes, as it turns out our entire basket collection has at some point in the past 30 years been exposed to that festering nemesis of the collections manager. Complicating things further was the fact that as a small museum, we were ill equipped to deal with such developments. I knew that the best way to deal with the problem was to freeze the baskets. This would hopefully kill any active spores on the baskets. But where oh where to find a freezer that could accommodate this?

old baskets display(Holy baskets, batman!)

Also, while that’s most of them, there were more than what’s shown here. Well, our first thought was the school. They have a gigantic walk-in freezer, but weren’t comfortable with us putting moldy baskets in it, even if they were wrapped up and the whole point was that the cold would kill the mold. Honestly, I can’t really blame them, it’s kind of a gross proposal. After the school I thought maybe the Fish and Game office could help us out. Alas, they do not have a freezer. Then I thought well maybe Fish and Wildlife does. Yes, they have one, but it’s broken. No dice. However, the guy at Fish and Wildlife suggested we try the hospital or the cannery. The hospital was going to have the same issue with us that the school did, so we went straight to the cannery. Because, duh, of course they have huge freezers. I was apprehensive, though, and concerned they too would take issue with putting moldy baskets in where food is usually kept. But no! Success! Peter Pan Seafoods, Inc. saved the day, allowing us to store our baskets in their deep freeze for 24 hours. So last week the kids helped me wrap each basket in either a taped up garbage bag or ziploc and get them into the office. And then over the weekend Deb and I transported the packaged baskets to the cannery freezer, where they spent Sunday night at -40 degrees (brrrrr). Monday afternoon Deb and I went to retrieve them and brought them back to the museum where they thawed out for the next 24 hours. And Tuesday, Brittany and I set to work unwrapping each basket and placing it back in its case.

I have to admit, I was really nervous about the whole thing. Seeing as I’d never undertaken that kind of conservation on my own before, I was terrified I’d do it wrong and cause even more damage to the objects. But again, no! Everything turned out marvelously. The baskets weren’t exposed to any moisture, there doesn’t appear to be any new mold deveoping (of course only time will tell with that), and their new arrangement in the case is pretty snazzy if I do say so myself.

new baskets display(You probably can’t tell the difference, from photos alone, but trust me, it’s waaaaaay different in person.)

So despite all of the false starts and failed leads, I was really impressed with how willing everyone was to help. I think it’s really cool how people in Dillingham really seem to get behind the museum. Even if they don’t necessarily visit it all that often, they’re pretty much all willing to help out in some small way, if they can. Which is nice. It really is a community center.

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Show & Tell & Dance at BCM

June 19, 2009

We’re nearly three weeks into the internships, and we’re moving right along with our Engaging Underserved Populations Project. (Update after first official Working Group Meeting later this month/early July) When I’m not slogging through visitor surveys, past studies, zip codes and census stuff, I have found time to get out and have a great time in the museum.

Last Friday, I stuck around from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m for our $1 admission night, sponsored by Target — which might be the greatest company in the world for allowing people to visit museum around the country for reduced prices. We put on a first-time program of Show & Tell. Our collections manager, Jennifer, and I showed Vietnamese Water Puppets, while two of our Teen Ambassadors brought in items of their own.  The star of the show, however, was Nelson, a five-year-old superbaby, who reads Greek mythology and created a Medusa sculpture to show off. When he got tired, Akemi from the Japanese house exhibit came with wax food to show off. It was pretty sweet.

We had plenty of visitors, and the kids loved wearing the special white gloves in order to gently touch the objects. Unfortunately we didn’t have any parents or children interested in signing up to bring in their own objects for another Show & Tell session. We will be trying again in July, and I will be bringing in the brass crab that all of you have seen probably 12 times by now. Any suggestions on how we can do a better job in welcoming parents and kids to participate in Show & Tell? Check out the pictures on Facebook and become a fan!

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