Currently viewing the tag: "Karl F. Koopman"

Today Becca and I ventured up to Mammalogy to continue the brainstorming process about how to assign location numbers to the collections. While Mammalogy’s archive was the site for the Museum’s original library, today it can best be described as “complicated.” On the first floor, the original shelves were taken out and filing cabinets were inserted in their place. Each bay is separated by the original metal work. In addition, many filing cabinets have archival boxes stored on top of them. The first floor houses the reprints collection, field notes, Archbold correspondence and expedition photographs, Department correspondence, Sydney Anderson’s papers and Karl F. Koopman’s unprocessed files. The correspondence files and reprints are arranged well within the filing cabinets, but the Anderson papers, while collected together, can’t really be described as truly processed in the archival sense. Mr. Koopman’s papers have yet to be processed, from conference badges to college yearbook.

The second floor setup is similar, but represents a more extreme version. This is where we find the visual materials related to the many expeditions the Department has been involved with. Like many New York City residents the collections have roommates. The materials are often organized separately, but live together in one drawer. This situation makes it difficult to completely ascertain where a properly labeled collection would begin and end. Prints taken by different photographers from the same expedition are organized separately, but if fully processed, would they be part of the same collection? The collections are not unprocessed, but they are not processed either.

This situation led us to the conclusion that it would be easier to number the bays rather than the collections themselves. In most circumstances this would not be recommended, but here it works as a temporary solution. The next step in the process will be to actually label the sections as unobtrusively as possible, working with the Mammalogy Department to get their official buy-in. We discussed whether to use labels on cardboard, wire and other office supplies to develop a professional look.

As today is my last day at AMNH, I wanted to say thank you Becca, Iris, Barbara, Beth, Joanna and Michael for their support and partnership. I’ll miss thoroughly scrubbing my fingernails at the end of each day and the vague smell of formaldehyde. The Museum is truly a magical place and I am grateful to have contributed in my small way.

Today we created catalog records for some unprocessed or partially processed collections of former members of the Mammalogy Department. The collections, for the most part, are made up of the research notes, data sheets, correspondence and notes. But these collections also include all sorts of other formats: from the expected (photographs, negatives, slides and maps) to the more unexpected (glass slides, diplomas, boat flags, and audio recordings). The Karl F. Koopman papers include some unique “collections,” such as one made up of greeting cards and the more unusual one of conference nametags.

The Department of Mammalogy keeps very detailed records for all their specimens. There are catalogs organized by record number and by species, and there are also subsets containing specimen numbers from an individual expedition or for a specific animal. The records are kept in heavy bound volumes, with all the information neatly entered by hand and each record offers a great level of detail. We got a sense of the size of the collection of specimens, with the latest bound volume going beyond specimen 260,000 – and that is only in the Mammalogy Department.

We made our way to the second floor of the library with the glass tile floors. Here we found items related to the exhibits, from when to get a specimen from Yosemite to how much do the exhibit materials costs. For each animal in the North American Mammal Hall, there were files detailing the process behind creating exhibition space: from display diagrams, to the placement of the specimens.

Pictured here is one of the flags from the the papers of Sydney Anderson, a former member of the Museums Mammalogy Department. There were five flags from the Exploradora riverboat used during Museum expeditions to El Beni, Bolivia from 1963-1965. The flags represented the US Marines, Bolivia, Brazil and the National Geographic Society.

The green disc is from the Joseph Curtis Moore Papers. We were not completely sure what the discs were used for, but guessed that they were for personal recording. In this instance, the labels matched lecture notes in the collection. There was no sign of the playback machine, however.