122 Articles
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Medium 9781538119969

The Snapshots of A. Thomas Nelson

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Snapshots of A. Thomas Nelson

A Case Study in the Preservation of Early 20th-Century Vernacular Albums

Stephanie Becker

Institutional Repository Content Manager, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; stephanie.becker@case.edu

Abstract Throughout the early 20th century, A. Thomas Nelson took snapshots while traveling the United States and Canada. His wife, Catherine Nelson, made a selection of these and placed them within eight photographic albums, later acquired by the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Using one of these, “Snapshots from Travels in the United States and Canada (1904–1940),” as a case study, this article explores preservation practices for early 20th-century vernacular albums. While such albums are a valuable part of any collection, they present many complex preservation challenges due to the variety of materials contained within a single object. Critical questions about cataloging, digitizing, and rehousing methods guide decisions on how to stabilize the album’s fragile condition and allow for access. This case study offers insight for collection managers and archivists who find themselves caring for similar snapshot albums.

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Tangible Objects versus Digital Interfaces

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Tangible Objects versus Digital Interfaces

Opportunities to Harness the Potential of Augmented Reality to Interact with Photographic Collections in Museums and Archives

Ingrid Forster

Photo Archivist, Photographer, Digital Media Strategist, Master of Digital Media Candidate 2018, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, CN; ingrid@ingridhforster.com

Abstract The use of augmented reality (AR) as an immersive and interactive engagement tool for art and cultural institutions is increasing. AR, when used in a meaningful way, has shown great potential for discovery-based learning experiences. In this article, I consider the potential of AR for photographic collections in museums and archives by addressing two key questions: How can digital tools like AR serve to enhance our understanding of photographs as both object and image? What are the implications and limitations of this technology when used for this purpose?

Sometimes you need to touch something to better understand it, but fulfilling that desire is not always possible. Take photographic objects—interacting with their physicality is seldom possible for researchers and members of the public alike. Photographs are understood as both object and image, a duality that generates debate in terms of how photographs are used for research, how they are exhibited and managed (physically and digitally), and how they are preserved in archives and museum collections. Given this dual status, it is worth considering the use of current digital technology as a means of interacting with photographic collections.

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Decoding

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Decoding

A Guide to Kodak Paper Surface Characteristics

Erin Fisher

Independent Researcher, Rochester, NY; efphotomail@gmail.com

Abstract From 1880 to 2005, the Eastman Kodak Company manufactured black-and-white fiber-based gelatin silver paper in a wide variety of weights, grades, and formats. Kodak manufacturer records and sample books include details about Kodak paper surface characteristics and are an invaluable resource for understanding photographic paper materials. Using the extensive number of Kodak data books, manuals, and manufacturing records spread out in the collections of three Rochester, New York–based institutions—George Eastman Museum, University of Rochester Special Collections, and Image Permanence Institute—I created a chronological guide to Kodak photographic paper surface characteristics. This guide is not an approximate identification guide for Kodak papers but rather a resource that can be used to fill in gaps and propose questions about Kodak manufacturing history that is no longer easily accessible. The guide aims to help researchers, photography archivists and historians, conservators, collection managers, or anyone else interested in Kodak history gain access to a better understanding of photographic paper produced by Kodak from 1930 to 1955. The process for creating the guide is described in this article and may be used as a starting point for future research while also illuminating the importance of documenting and providing access to technological and material details about photographic objects.

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Overcoming Legacy Processing in Photographic Collections through Collaboration and Digital Technologies

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Overcoming Legacy Processing in Photographic Collections through Collaboration and Digital Technologies

Terri Holtze

Head of Web Services, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Louisville, KY; terri.holtze@louisville.edu

Rachel Howard

Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; rachel.howard@louisville.edu

Randy Kuehn

Digital Technologies Systems Librarian, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Louisville, KY; randy.kuehn@louisville.edu

Rebecca Pattillo

Metadata Librarian, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; rebecca.pattillo@louisville.edu

Elizabeth Reilly

Curator, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; elizabeth.reilly@louisville.edu

Abstract In the 1960s, a Louisville photography studio began donating its negatives, prints, and invoices to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives. The Caufield & Shook collection remains a significant primary source for local history and a prime candidate for digitization. Unfortunately, on its receipt, nonarchivists processed the collection with little documentation of original order or organizational decision making. Additionally, workflow choices were determined largely by the desire to maximize student labor. In 2017, the digital initiatives librarian worked with in-house application developers and archives staff to create a workflow that has significantly sped up the process of making this valuable photographic collection accessible online. This article describes how archivists recovered from the poor processing decisions, used technology to enhance the digitization workflow, and developed a list of best practices for future processing and digitization of large photographic collections.

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Imaging as Praxis

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Imaging as Praxis

Cataloging, Housing, and Installing Lele Saveri’s The Newsstand

Tasha Lutek

Collection Specialist, Department of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; tasha_lutek@moma.org

Abstract In 2013, The Newsstand, a pop-up space featuring hundreds of zines and art objects, was installed in a Brooklyn, New York, subway station. The space was designed to be a site of collaboration and inspiration for artists. Even though the intention was not for it to be an artwork, two years later the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) re-created and exhibited The Newsstand in its galleries. To activate the installation, visitors were invited to engage with the space and read the zines contained inside. At the close of the exhibition, the work entered MoMA’s collection and shortly after was lent to the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV). The volume of material and interactive qualities of The Newsstand present unique challenges for collection staff. Using two museum installations as departure points, this is a case study outlining the strategies employed for cataloging, housing, and installing this complex work, focusing on how imaging played an essential role in making sense of the transition from nonart status to collection object.

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Preserving Patchogue

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Preserving Patchogue

A Small Institution Rehouses and Digitizes Glass Plate Negatives

Daniel J. Menzo

Independent Scholar, Long Island, NY; daniel.menzo@gmail.com

Abstract In 2015, the Greater Patchogue Historical Society in Long Island, New York, received a gift of nearly 2,000 glass plate negatives dating from the early 20th century. While the donor alluded to rare images of this small town and its people, the collection presented a series of preservation concerns. Many of the objects were soiled, and almost all were still in their original acidic paper sleeves. Determined to both protect and utilize the collection, this small institution, with the assistance of a graduate student intern, formalized a preservation plan that also created multiple points of access to the visual and historical information that these objects contained. After minimally cleaning, rehousing, and photographing a selected portion of the negatives, the digital files were later processed with editing software so that the organization’s members and local citizens could see the historic images. In addition to digitizing the negatives, the original sleeves were imaged to preserve valuable information, such as people’s names, the location of views, or a negative’s date. This ongoing project is an example of how smaller institutions can make a meaningful influence in their local communities by preserving photographic objects and implementing methods of digitization.

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Medium 9781538119952

Reconstructing the Lansdowne Collection of Classical Marbles, Volume II: Catalogue

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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Medium 9781538119952

Archives and Special Collections at the University of La Verne

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Archives and Special Collections at the University of La Verne

Putting the Repository of a Small Liberal Arts College to Work Online

Benjamin Jenkins

Archivist, Wilson Library, and Assistant Professor and Director of Public History Program, Department of History and Political Science, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA; bjenkins@laverne.edu

Keren Darancette

Research and Instruction Librarian, Wilson Library, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA; kdarancette@laverne.edu

Abstract Archives and Special Collections at the Wilson Library of the University of La Verne, located in inland southern California, offers an informative case study of descriptive practices and metadata attached to digital collections at a small liberal arts college. Since recruiting a staff specifically tasked to manage the archives, the Wilson Library has increased the number of collections available to patrons online through the creation of a digital collections Web page. Digitized, hosted collections include the papers of a faculty member from the early 20th century, photographs of early La Verne, historic local newspapers, and manuscript sources regarding Japanese American internment. Metadata fields at Wilson Library have developed to encompass a greater variety of contextual information about digitized records, improving users’ ability to put the collections to use for research. Ultimately, this case study demonstrates what a library at a small university can accomplish with a dedicated staff and a clear objective, even with limited resources.

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African Art at The Kreeger Museum

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

African Art at The Kreeger Museum

Validating a Collection and Its Historic Stakeholders

Antonia Dapena-Tretter

School and Outreach Manager, The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, CA; antonia@maybeorange.com

Eloise Pelton

Archivist, The Kreeger Museum, Washington, D.C.; research@kreegermuseum.org

Abstract Written by The Kreeger Museum’s former head of education and its founding archivist, this article looks closely at provenance and makes use of primary source documents and photographs to relive the rich story of how The Kreeger Museum’s African art collection came to be. A detailed account of the negotiations, communications, transactions, and circulations of people, objects, and ideas—the following narrative offers an interesting case study into the early European and American art collectors’ circuit.

Consisting of 28 art objects from at least 17 different West African cultures, The Kreeger Museum’s African collection is small but remarkably comprehensive and mostly the result of David Lloyd Kreeger’s choice to use Warren Robbins (1923–2008)—founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art—as his primary adviser. Purchased within the relatively short time frame of seven years, this important subcollection of the larger Kreeger Museum holdings reflects more than the financial success that made it possible, roughly defined by David Kreeger’s most profitable years at the Government Employees Insurance Company (better known by its acronym, GEICO).1 It also reveals a noteworthy appreciation of non-Western art, fostered during the collector’s years at Rutgers University (1925–1929), where he majored in political science and economics. As Kreeger built his collection, questions of authenticity were answered by tracing provenance back to notable European collectors or, in some rare instances, African soil and the precise moment of the object’s appropriation into Western hands. To shine a light on the history of the museum’s African holdings is to simultaneously illuminate a network of seemingly disparate connections—Dr. Albert Barnes (1872–1951), Paul Guillaume (1891–1934), and Helena Rubinstein (1872–1965)—and the colonial past that tied them and the larger Western tradition of collecting African art together.

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Voila!

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Voila!

The Rockefeller Archive Center’s Exhibit Creation Process

Marissa Vassari

Archivist and Educator, Rockefeller Archive Center, 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, NY; mvassari@rockarch.org

Abstract The Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in Sleepy Hollow, New York, hosts groups ranging from foundation staff to college-level classes. Over the course of a year, the RAC hosts approximately 30 visiting groups that include from as few as 10 people to as many as 45. The aim is to engage visiting groups with the RAC’s vast collections by creating hands-on, tailored exhibits. The RAC has created policies and procedures, exhibit guides, and workflow templates that allow for documentation of each exhibit and encourage inclusiveness and transparency among staff. Employing a new, standardized approach by using these tools has made all phases of the exhibit process more efficient and allows the RAC to provide a rich, immersive archival experience for visitors. This article offers a case study in standardized exhibit creation that may benefit professionals in other institutions who are seeking to develop work processes and policies without diminishing the visitor experience.

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The Money Museum of the Deutsche Bundesbank

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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Medium 9781538119952

The Anatomy of a Museum

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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Medium 9781538119952

Challenging the “Love of Possessions”

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Challenging the “Love of Possessions”

Repatriation of Sacred Objects in the United States and Canada

Jennifer L. Dekker

MA Candidate, St. Paul University, 65 University Private, Room 105, Ottawa, ON, Canada; jdekker@uottawa.ca

Abstract In 1990, the United States passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), requiring the repatriation of ancestral remains, funerary, and sacred objects from museums to source communities. Since then, hundreds of thousands of repatriations have occurred, allowing for respectful treatment of ancestors and reconnections to spiritual, communal practice, and ceremony. In Canada, repatriation has been recommended by the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Museum Association, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but there is no federal law. Does Canada have a functioning alternative? This examination provides a comparison of how repatriation differs in the two countries, demonstrating that case-by-case negotiations in Canada currently allow for more flexibility and customization to the needs of different Indigenous communities but that the transparency, coordination, and funding associated with NAGPRA would be a significant benefit to claimants in Canada.

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Reconstructing the Lansdowne Collection of Classical Marbles, Volume I: History

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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Medium 9781538119952

The Care of Prints and Drawings

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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