Currently viewing the tag: "Oversize Materials"

Today in Anthropology I worked with Lauren to complete the risk assessment in Location II. There were only about 10 collections left in this location, and fortunately they were fairly large and generally only 1 or 2 collection units. We finished the risk assessment in this location before lunch, and moved on to the map case in the Anthropology hallway after lunch. Our favorite find from Location II today was this floor plan of an unknown museum from the “Notes on Museum Collections in Europe and America, 1911-1930” collection. Notice the bear hunt scene at the far left.


After lunch, we completed risk assessment on the hallway map case, and found these drawings of clay dolls from the collection of James Alfred Ford.


Next week we hope to finish risk assessment on the remaining hallway cabinets, which will bring us much closer to finishing both phases in Anthropology – hooray!

Today we began the risk assessment portion of our project. One of the collections had a very curious summary: Various Collections by Various Creators for Various Purposes. Because it was stored in oversized boxes, we had not opened them on our first pass so the contents were still a mystery. When we finally did open them up, what we found was like Christmas! Because it was Christmas (!): cards, drawings, invitations, placeholders, and original artwork created for museum Christmas parties.

This mounted display contains a drawing of Henry Fairfield Osborn by “Bunny” in front of the museum leading his pet dinosaurs. To the right of the drawing is a Christmas card by Charles Knight for Osborn. At the lower right is a random picture of a caveman and a woolly mammoth. Obviously the department had a sense of humor.

Also included in the box were other original artworks by Charles Knight including this great New Year’s painting and a “Welcome to the Third Mongolian Expedition” sign.

(10 collections-2 hours)

This afternoon Phoebe and I completed the Risk Assessment phase of the project for the collections in Room 36 of the Anthropology Department. This includes the Photographs Collections and oversize materials related to the Department’s Accession Files and various Curatorial Collections. Information regarding the extent, format, and condition of these collections is now gathered in a database devoted to this particular location in the Department. Below is an example of some artwork in good condition:

Having finished this phase of the project, if only in one location out of several, we got the sense that the Risk Assessment phase of the project is equally as intensive and time-consuming as the Cataloging phase. Obviously these impressions are specific to the Anthropology Department and likely not entirely applicable to the Museum’s other science departments. Nonetheless, the experience should be informative for the future of the project.

Our experience in the Anthropology Department was undeniably a positive and enjoyable one. It was a great privilege to have access to some of the amazing collections in the Museum’s possession that are not generally available to the public. Throughout our time in the Anthropology Archives, Kristen Mable was a tremendous help to us.  When we did take a step back from the projects we were focusing on, we would frequently marvel at the skill and effort required to manage such a large and active archive from day to day. We are also grateful for the support of Becca, Iris, Barbara and the rest of the team members in managing the more complex aspects of the project and allowing us to immerse ourselves in the work before us. We’re looking forward to continuing this project in the summer.