Medium 9781442267817

Collections Vol 8 N2

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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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5 Articles

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Re-establishing Context for Orphaned Collections A Case Study from the Market Street Chinatown, San Jose, California

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Barbara L. Voss

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 50, Stanford University, Stanford CA 94305-2034, phone: (650)723-3421 (dept. office); email: bvoss@stanford.edu; https://www.stanford.edu/dept/anthropology/cgi-bin/web/?q=node/75; http://marketstreet.stanford.edu

Megan S. Kane

Social Science Research Assistant, Department of Anthropology, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 50, Stanford University, Stanford CA 94305-2034, phone: (650) 723-3421 (dept. office); email: mskane@stanford.edu; http://marketstreet.stanford.edu

Abstract While the primary rationale for curating orphaned archaeological collections is to restore the collections’ research potential, in practice such research programs are rarely actualized because of the challenges in reconstructing archaeological context. This article presents the results of a concerted effort undertaken to re-establish the context of the Market Street Chinatown archaeological collection. We outline the history of the excavation of the Market Street Chinatown, the subsequent “orphaning” of the collection, and the early efforts that uncovered the untapped research potential of the collection. Next, we describe the methods and results of the four-stage process we used during 2010–2011 to develop historical and archaeological context for research on the collection: archive analysis, methods analysis, feature context, and research potential assessment. While some of these procedures were tailored to the specific circumstances of the Market Street Chinatown collection, the overall process provides a model for re-establishing context for research purposes on other orphaned and endangered collections.

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Archiving Everyday Life Archiving as Critique

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Mary O’Connor

Professor, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3K2 CANADA phone: (905) 525-9140 x23731; email: moconnor@mcmaster.ca

Abstract In an age of reality television, what is radical about turning our attention to the everyday? This paper proposes a framework for collecting and archiving everyday life, based on the insights offered by theorists both of everyday life and of the archive, as well as by artists who have incorporated everyday life and/or the process of archiving into their work. Everyday Life Studies offers tools for understanding everyday life as overlooked and structured by systems of power, while also holding within it spaces for alternative ways of being that go unnoticed. Recent archive theory has problematized the power of the archive to structure ways of thinking and to determine whose stories will be told. This paper benefits from these discussions and proposes attending to everyday life (even in the act of collecting and archiving) as a project of critique that reveals a lack and indicates the possibilities for change.

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Jorge von Hauenschild From Amateur Collector to Professional Archaeologist in a Remote Corner of Argentina

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Henrik B. Lindskoug

CONICET, Museo de Antropología, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Av. Hipólito Yrigoyen 174, CP 5000, Córdoba Capital, Córdoba, Argentina, phone: + 54351 4331058 ext 311; email: henrikblindskoug@gmail.com

Abstract The von Hauenschild collection was one of the founding collections of the Museo de Antropología, a university museum at the Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, located in Córdoba Capital, central Argentina. The collection is one of the largest at the museum with over 4000 objects from the nearby province of Santiago del Estero, a place almost unexamined by Argentinean archaeologists since the early works initiated by the Wagner brothers in the 1920s. Santiago has been seen as a marginal place in the national Argentinean history and perceived as an impoverished and remote place, but during part of the early 20th century, Santiago was thriving, especially at the time of the large railroad constructions in the country. Santiago was also the home of the German-born engineer, Jorge von Hauenschild for 30 years. He formed the “von Hauenschild Collection” by excavating pre-historical tombs in the province in his quest for archaeological treasures. The collection has been almost untouched since the death of von Hauenschild in 1951. Research on the history of the collection shows the trajectory of von Hauenschild from a mere amateur to a professional archaeologist. Beginning as a collector of curious things, he transitioned into a modern archaeologist performing systematic archaeological investigations.

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The Deaccessioning and Disposal Practices of Small Museums in Kentucky and Indiana

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Gwen Corder

Independent Scholar; email: gfcord013@gmail.com

Abstract A survey conducted in 2008 for a graduate degree examined the methods that small museums use to deaccession and dispose of permanent collection items and compared findings against AAM and ICOM standards. An instrument was mailed to 200 large, medium, and small museums. Fifty-seven museums agreed to participate, 33 of which were small museums. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with six small museums. Some findings indicate that: small museums use untrained volunteers; small museum administrators do not have in-depth professional museum-training or education themselves; and small museums use money from the sale of collection items to finance operating and facilities’ costs. From these findings and fourteen years of personal experiences, it appears that small museums staff, board members, and volunteers need in-depth education and training in museum and collections management so that they can make better decisions about their collections.

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Notes from the Field

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Heather A. Wade

CAE, Executive Director, The Conococheague Institute for the Study of Cultural Heritage, 12995 Bain Road, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania 17236, (717)328-3467, email: heatherwade@innernet.net

Note: At the time that I wrote this article, I served on the faculty of Emporia State University as University Archivist.

Late in the fall 2009 semester, Dean Joyce Davis announced at a meeting of the University Libraries and Archives Administrative Team at Emporia State University that a new undergraduate summer research program had been proposed and it was anticipated that funding would be available to begin the program in the summer of 2010. She had committed funding from our unit to show support for the program, which, regardless of its specific participants’ areas of study, was bound to involve academic resources in the Libraries and Archives.

Dr. Tim Burnett, associate professor of biological sciences, had spearheaded the development of the summer research program in conjunction with the university’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Committee. Based on a National Institute of Health-funded,1 state-wide program called the Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (KINBRE), which emphasized support for undergraduates to gain hands-on research experience in the sciences to encourage them to go on to graduate studies and to develop into career-professionals.2 Using the Kansas Idea Network as a template, faculty at Emporia State University developed a curriculum-wide undergraduate summer research model that would function as follows:

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