Medium 9781442267626

Collections Vol 3 N3

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"Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals" is a multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the discussion of all aspects of handling, preserving, researching, and organizing collections. Curators, archivists, collections managers, preparators, registrars, educators, students, and others contribute.

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Letter from the Editor

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This issue of Collections presents articles focused on innovative interpretations of how we interact with our diverse collections. We care for and must record our interactions with these objects but the methods we employ have changed radically over the years.

Most of us, in whatever role we assume in our museums, archives, or repositories, have incorporated photographic imagery into our records. Alwynne Beau-doin and Jennifer Petrik discuss the use of this most helpful medium and its impact on our collecting practices. The examples they share are from archaeology, but their relevance easily extends to other types of collections as well.

In “Thinking Outside the Museum Box” author Yun Shun Susie Chung sets forth an insightful discussion about Fermilab, a state-of-the-art laboratory site. She argues that it can be considered an ecomuseum, a nontraditional type of museum that involves decentralization of the museum building and a community-oriented, democratic approach to heritage management of the “working museum.” Chung urges museum professionals to further study these institutions.

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The Benefits of a Photograph and Image Collecting Database for Research and Archival Purposes, Illustrated by an Example from Canadian Archaeology

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Alwynne B. Beaudoin and Jennifer Petrik

Quaternary Environments, Royal Alberta Museum, 12845-102nd Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, TSN OM6. Email: Alwynne.Beaudoin@gov.ab.ca

AbstractThe practice of using photography, whether in digital, slide, or print form, is a fundamental method of documenting and preserving finds and information in archaeology and most other museum-related disciplines. Images play an important role in the communication and preservation of information and can be regarded as archival collections in their own right. However, in many situations it is difficult to store and search efficiently through this vital resource. With the advent of desktop databases and interconnectivity, images can be readily organized into a searchable database. This approach becomes especially useful when dealing with the huge numbers of photographs accumulated through large projects. The EPIC database is a good example of the solution to this problem. EPIC was created to deal with images generated through one research centre of a large archaeological project (SCAPE: Study of Cultural Adaptations in the Canadian Prairie Ecozone). Built around off-the-shelf software, EPIC allows users to view a small thumbnail of an image with associated information, and has been designed to facilitate multiple search pathways. It also has the ability to link to related Museum databases. EPIC has proved beneficial not only to the SCAPE research community, but also to others who have used the information generated through the project.

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Thinking Outside the Museum Box

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Heritage Management of a “Laboratory Ecomuseum,” Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Yun Shun Susie Chung, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Museum Studies Program, San Francisco State University, Humanities, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. E-mail: ysschung@sfsu.edu

AbstractMuseums and Heritage Management are two fields that focus on the governing institution’s sustainable administration, preservation, research, and communication of heritage. Museums, however, have the tendency to turn to the level of discussion on acclimatized institutions. Heritage management encompasses the “white cube” museum institution, but incorporates all levels of institutions that conduct the functions of administration, preservation, research, and communication of heritage. Ecomuseums are one kind of institution that is a non-traditional type of museum institution. This kind of museum is also more inclusive in community involvement. In order to “think outside the museum box,” museum discussions should be more comprehensive of different kinds of heritage institutions that perform those functions. This paper examines a different kind of heritage institution as a case study laboratory ecomuseum, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Preserving Art and the Environment through Sustainable Museum Buildings

ePub

Sara L. Frantz

Registrar, Nevada Museum of Art. E-mail: sfrantz@nevadaart.org

AbstractThis project analyzes the intersection between two highly specialized fields, sustainable building practices and the environmental controls crucial to art conservation maintained in art museum buildings. Art museums often cite these highly specialized light and atmospheric controls as an impediment to sustainable building. My goal is to bring these fields more closely together so that art museums can build sustainable facilities that cause less harm to the environment while simultaneously meeting art conservation needs.

Global Warming & Museums

Humankind has always seen nature as a force to be dominated or controlled. Coupled with this concept was the belief that humankind’s activities could never upset the earth’s ecosystems. The Industrial Revolution was based upon the development of technology to produce products that were affordable, desirable, and could be produced cheaply and quickly. This revolution was based upon a perceived endless supply of “natural capital” and “neither the health of natural systems, nor an awareness of their delicacy, complexity, and interconnectedness, [were] part of the industrial design agenda” (McDonough and Braungart 2002, 26). Thus, global warming is the result of a long legacy.

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Put Your Gloves On! Managing Volunteers in Museum Collections

ePub

Rachael Moreno

Graduate Student, John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA 94702. E-mail: rachael_moreno@yahoo.com.

Abstract This article is an adaptation of the master’s project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Museum Studies. The purpose of this project is to outline the elements of a successful and realistic volunteer program for museum collections departments, including how to effectively screen, train, supervise and retain unpaid volunteers in small to midsized museums.1 It also includes ways to establish and maintain a professional working relationship between museum staff and the volunteers. In addition to program recommendations, I also provide examples of projects that volunteers enjoy doing and can partake in easily with training and adequate supervision. With these program suggestions, collections managers will be able to better utilize their volunteers appropriately for collections care.

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