Sunday, July 26, 2015

Elusive Clocks

Aft Engine Room of the Cassin Young
This week I spent some time with Resource Management. The first day I received a sneak peak of what the annual inventory of collections might entail. It seems like a game of hide and seek but I would never get to hide. The inventory process sounded systematic at first, reading the location of the item, finding the item, matching the catalog numbers, and recording the item’s condition. Eventually, this information finds its way onto the Interior Collections Management System. However, there were a couple of elusive items that made for a bit of a patience building exercise. For instance, few clocks became much more difficult to find on the Cassin Young then I would have ever imagined. On the bright side, I thoroughly enjoyed crawling through hatches, to get the aft engine room in search of the ship’s clocks. It is interesting to think about how investigations into missing items depends upon the importance of the item. Personally, I am glad I am not the one that has to make those seemingly tough decisions. Although it may be something as simple as a missing pencil, but what if it were one of the missing clocks? How much of an impact has the clock made on today’s understanding of the way those aboard the Cassin Young told time? Many questions would need to be asked and hopefully one would be able to figure out the answers, making way towards a definitive answer for the missing item.

Blue board (left) and ethafoam (right)

During my time with Resource Management, I was able to help out with a preservation project that they have going on. Within the collections holding area, the items are held on top of ethafoam. It is a foam sheet that provides a bit of protection for the items as they sit on the shelves. Over time, ethafoam starts to deteriorate. This was unforeseen as an impending problem and has become an issue. The deterioration has made the sheets useless for protecting the items. After being touched, the sheets turn into a snow-like form upon touch. We spent a day replacing the ethafoam with blue boards. These blue boards are consistent with a card board type of substance. It provides support for the collections and will not deteriorate nearly as quickly as the ethafoam has proven to.

Myself and the SCA Curatorial Intern
Overall, Resource Management involved care-taking for the pieces of history that BNHP still has. I feel as though this division contains a large amount of appreciation for this role of preservation. Many pieces of America’s story can be told through these pieces of history and it was amazing to be a part of its preservation. 

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