Thursday, July 24, 2008

Working with Objects

Many people might not realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes in a museum. One of the areas that takes the most time because of the necessary detail that goes into getting it right is working with the objects.

Here's what the main storage area looks like. This is where most of the items (except the larger items like furniture and farm tools, etc.) are housed.

Our museum has only been open for four and a half years and our collection isn't necessarily large, but it's growing day by day. People bring in objects to donate to the museum all the time. And, one of the most important things we do with the collection is cataloguing each object no matter how small. Cataloguing means measuring, describing, photographing, and tagging or physically numbering an item with its own unique number. We do this by hand. Then, all that information has to be added to our collections database, as well as indications of the storage area and shelving unit each item is housed in/on. Here's an example of one item's record in our database.

Our collections intern, Dana, has been working on entering catalogue information into the database and photographing each of the objects in the collection. Luckily, we have a corps of trained volunteers who spend about 4-8 hours every month cataloguing and numbering artifacts-- this helps to cut down on the backlog of artifacts that weren't catalogued as they came in as well as keeping us on schedule with the stuff that still comes in every week. In the first month Dana started, she completed over 115 records-- entering the information into the database and taking photographs. I'm assuming that we've more than doubled that in the past month, since we've also been locating objects already catalogued and entered into the database but for which there is no associated photograph.

There's still a lot to be done, but we're making great progress.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Time for something completely different

It's a first for us. We're trying something new...something exciting...

Background: The last week of July, Mickie's hosting our annual kids' summer history program. This year, it'll be four days. We're calling it Summer History Explorers' Camp. Each day, there will be a new theme/topic with activities, information, lessons, etc.

We were looking for something that would create a tangible outcome to the program. Here's what we came up with.

After every day's theme, the campers will have a chance to look through our photographic collection and write exhibit labels for chosen photographs that relate to the day's topic. Then, on August 16, we'll host an exhibit opening that will display the photographs and labels written by the campers. The exhibit is titled "Picturing the Past." (I'll provide additional information on the photographs if necessary with supplemental labels.)

We're excited by this. It's our first time allowing the public to dictate the story of an exhibit. This "public" will be the campers in the summer program.

I hope you'll join us for the opening-- Saturday, August 16, at 2pm at the Museum.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rick Trevino!

We're hosting our first concert in conjunction with our Up the Chisholm Trail event. This year, Rick Trevino is going to be the main attraction.

Visit his MySpace site at to hear some music.

Tickets will go on sale soon. Visit for more information.