Friday, June 24, 2011

Independence National Historical Park Week 5

This past week, Sarah and I had the privilege to work with the CRM or Cultural Resource Management department for an in-depth look at what makes Independence National Historical Park one of few "Icon" parks in the region. The CRM department includes the historians, archivists, museum curators, archaeologists, and historical architects that overlook all of the historical and cultural assets here at the park.

Our week started out in the archive department. In addition to be given a tour of the facility that houses most of the park records and important documents, we were given an idea of how they manage so much information. However, because many of the important documents and records predate computers, the department has the massive task of cataloging all of the information digitally. This is important so that future generations will be able to benefit from the information that has been collected here.

Part of our task while working in the department was organizing some of the archival photographs of Independence Hall. It gave us an interesting look at how the hall has changed over the past 100+ years.

It was really interesting to see even how work practices have changed over the years. While it may be difficult to see at this size, but the above picture from the early 20th century shows two painters painting the highest points on Independence Hall. Something tells me OSHA would have a problem with their method today....

Later in the week, we got to spend some time with the museum collections here at the park. There are several facilities around the park that house the vast collections in temperature and climate controlled environments to ensure they last as long as possible.

We then helped do a museum inventory that must be done multiple times a year to ensure no part of the collection goes missing. We were able to handle some artifacts and tools that date back to the 1700s. It was interesting to learn that many museums only display a small fraction of what is actually in their collection, and Independence National Park is no exception.

Hopefully we can update after we get to spend some time with the resident archaeologists and historical architect here at the park.

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