Today was my last day interning at the museum. For my last day I continued to catalog Northern New Hampshire Magazines. Overall I really enjoyed my time at the museum. I feel like I learned a lot in my experience here at the Museum of the White Mountains. When I first came here I knew very little about museums. Now I feel like I have a solid foundation on cataloging for museums, and how museums push to strive for a presence online. Mostly I enjoyed my research into how museums are presentencing themselves, promoting themselves and creating a presence in the online community. Through my research it has been recognized that creating a strong presence online offers museums with an opportunity they didn’t have before. In my paper that I will be completing this semester for my internship I will go more into this topic and give my conclusion on the research I have conducted. I think this internship was very valuable for me. It showed me potential job options for the future I could explore into and gave me good work experience for any job in my future. I thank Lindsay Bolduc and everyone at the museum for all they have taught me and for letting me have this great opportunity.
Today I continued cataloging more magazines. The magazines I began to catalog were the Northern New Hampshire Magazines. I thought the different issues of the magazine were very interesting. Through the articles the magazine was displaying a culture and events that happen within the White Mountains. I was immediately intrigued and found myself reading bits of the articles within the magazines. It opened my eyes to this region, its history and the stories that really bring this region to life. Growing up in southern New Hampshire and always vacationing in Maine I was never really conscious of the White Mountains or northern New Hampshire. After taking the class New Hampshire and New England History and through this internship I have learned a lot more information on this region so close but foreign to me that I have grown to have an interest in. In looking through these magazines I wanted to do some more research on the magazine.
I started by doing a basic search online for the magazine. However this search didn’t really turn up with anything. Based off of the knowledge that I hadn’t heard of the magazine before this I thought that it was probably out of business. But I didn’t let this stop my search on what happened to it. At first I found one website for the magazine however it was in a set up more like a blog and I had a feeling it wasn’t really a website made for the magazine. With this search coming up empty I began to search again. I remembered the publisher was Jordan Associates.
For my new search I looked up Northern New Hampshire Magazine and Jordan Associates. This search was much more valuable as it lead me two the Colebrook Chronicle Newspaper website and an article about the Colebrook Chronicle. The Colebrook Chronicle was started by Charles and Donna Jordan who were the same people who were publisher and editor of Northern New Hampshire. In the about section online it stated how they once published Northern New Hampshire magazine. With more research I found an article about the Newspaper. In the article it was stating how they have a good presence online and how many the internet has affected newspapers. I thought this correlated very well with my research this semester. It displayed how the internet is affecting every kind of business, culture or news media.
After researching the magazine and the Colebrook Chronicle I realize the significance both have to this region and will continue to offer to this region. These newspapers offer the blend of the White Mountain culture in a way for both outsiders and insiders to view as well as promotes regional pride. Also it made see how magazines could be used in a museum. Museums can use magazines to show culture events that happened in the past. Also they are a good way to look at the past and see what the culture was like and what the people were interested in or valued.
Today I continued cataloging more songbooks and magazines. One of the magazines I began to catalog was the Picturesque America books. The Picturesque America books caught my eye. In the Picturesque America subscription volumes it mentions different natural regions and landscape in America. Throughout the volumes there are several different illustrations of the regions mentioned. In one of the books I was cataloging it had a whole section on the White Mountains. I began to read what it said about all the different spots within the White Mountains. It was interesting learning about the region from the point of view of people from the past. It was also very interesting to see the changes made to this region in the past hundred past plus years. However the condition on this Picturesque America books weren’t in the best of shape. Even carefully holding them the binding on these volumes are very weak.
As I have done many times this semester I went to Connecting to Collections. (http://www.connectingtocollections.org/) to look up different ways to preserve books or other paper based artifacts. First thing was mention was how books or paper based artifacts should be placed in protected places like boxes or plastic sleeves. Also I learned that temperature and humidity have a huge role in the preservation process. If the temperature of humidity was too high it would be very bad for a lot of different artifacts. In one of the articles I read titled Cleaning Books and Documents it talked about the different techniques and equipment to use to clean paper based artifacts. Some equipment that can be used to clean artifacts are natural bristle brushes, low suction vacuum cleaners, cloths and dusters. Also it was stated how the places where collections are held should also be cleaned to ensure that the artifacts remain safe.
Next I again turned to Youtube.com to see if there were any videos about proper care for paper based artifacts. I found a video entitled Care & Handling of Rare Books, Paper, Manuscripts, Photographs and Archives. In the video David Ashman the Preservation Manager and Book Conservator at the Auckland Libraries. Again it was mention how light and temperature plays a major role. Also in the video he mentions how insects can vastly damage paper. He states how in addition it is important to wear proper gloves when dealing with very old or damaged documents.
Preserving old paper based artifacts is very important as they shed light into a past that without its survival could be lost. In addition to these techniques a very good way to preserve these artifacts the most would be to make digital copies for online use.
Video on Preserving Books, Paper, etc.
Today, instead of cataloging photographs I started to catalog a Dan Noel collection box of songbooks, magazines and maps. Today I only got to catalog some of the songbooks. I was really excited to get started cataloging other items besides photos. Growing up I was always interested in browsing through old books. I thought of it as if it was a way of bringing history back from the past. The ideas and information shared and expressed in older books exhibitions something’s that have been lost and also something’s which have survive through time.
To start off I had to learn of the differences in PastPerfect between cataloging photographs and items that are book or paper based. Next I began to examine the first book. It was a collection of songs about different natural landscape marks in Rhode Island. The cover was in okay shape but it was a book that had gone through some time. Looking through the pages I tried to make a connection between the book and the White Mountains. I couldn’t find any which let me a bit puzzled why it was in the collection but it wasn’t the first time I had seen something like this before. Before when cataloging photographs I had ran across photographs that were of house from streets in Massachusetts. Like the songbook, I too tried to make a connection between the photographs and the White Mountains. Again, like the songbook too I was unlucky with finding any connection. Previously, I hadn’t thought of the miscellaneous items in a collection that are the oddballs, the ones that are there but just don’t really mesh or fit within a collection. I wondered what would happen to these artifacts that don’t fit. I imagine the most likely scenario would be that it would stay within a collection until there was a time where someone would dig through and find a connection and purpose of these objects. Highly interested I turned to the internet to find out more with what museums do with artifacts that just don’t quite fit in.
The first article that caught my eye was Antiques lovers, take note: History Museum’s estate sale is Dec. 6-8. This article was about the History Museum of Mobile that was auctioning off items that they felt didn’t fit with their collection. Before I hadn’t thought of a museum having an estate-sale since they are mostly all non-profit. However after it was stated they would use the money to help restore the rest of their collection it made sense. In other articles I found out that it is very controversial for museums to sell their items. This article also lead me to others with debates about selling items of their collection to members of the public. After reading through them it seems like the debate will keep on going on if it is ethical and correct for museum professionals to be selling off items to purchase new ones or use the money for other reasons.
In the beginning I didn’t think I was going to find out about the debate museum professionals are having with one another about selling artifacts. After researching it a little it opened my eyes to different topics museum professionals are debating about. With donations or funds low, selling items of a collection can seem as a good way to get new items. However this practice exposed me to the ethical and professional problems museum professionals face and how their decisions regarding managing the collection can affect how museums are run in the future.
Today I began looking up different contest that museums or other institutions around New Hampshire or Outdoor clubs were doing online. With the potential participatory project involving the “I Love the White Mountains” potentially coming up I thought it would be good to look up and find out what other museums were giving away as prizes. The first one I stumbled across was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Photo Contest. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was doing a photo contest on landscapes. The contest was opened up to anybody and the prizes would be cash prizes along with several books, and recognition. Another museum that was Chicago History Museum. The contest was regarding their next exhibit and visitors could upload their pictures in several different ways, by entering it in by mail, Facebook or email. A cool thing also about this contest was that they could also vote for the photos they liked the most posted by others users via mail, Facebook or email.
Two other contests that I saw that were intriguing were an outdoor photographer contest and the Meredith Village Saving Bank contest. The outdoor photographer contest is called the great Outdoors Photo Contest and is posted by outdoorphotgrapher.com. For this contest, participants can go out anywhere and shoot a scenic view of their choice and submit it. The coolest thing about this contest is its prizes. It was really created for anyone who is a fan of the outdoors as most of its first, second and third place prizes are not only publication prizes but prizes involving gear that they could use on their next adventure into the wilderness as prizes include camera and recreational outdoors gear. The Meredith Village Saving Bank contest also struck me as different. The banks members were asked to go out and take scenic pictures to enter to win. A cash prize would go to the winner and also would be used in one of their upcoming calendars. How they were going to integrate the picture into a calendar I thought was a great idea. Using the calendar as a prize is very cool, all of a sudden I thought of what a calendar of the White Mountains would be like if it was compiled of various people’s different photographs. It would be a neat thing to not only show off but it would be something that was created together by a community. I began to think of somehow the museum could integrate any of these prize ideas into the project we are thinking about starting. Also I began to not only think of ideas on prizes I began to think about what the museum could possible do or showcase the photos we received through the contest. By creating possibly prizes that resembled the Great Outdoors contest we could create prizes that are interesting to potential participants as they would complement the contest as being prizes that the participants can then go use again in the White Mountains. By using these photos within the museum we could showcase them some part of the museum that would also interest users. By creating something that could be a part of the exhibit or showcase inside the museum it would let the visitors know how came into the museum that this would be one where they could not only actively participate it would be one that would share its projects and ideas linking the community together.
I was looking through some of the TEDx event videos on Youtube.com when I stumbled across something I wasn’t expecting to see. It was a video called Opening up the Museum: Nina Simon TEDxSantaCruz. In my research so far I have stumbled across the name Nina Simon several times and know that she in the past has been a freelance consultant for museums. Simon has drastically helped museums all over the country by creating participatory projects. In this TEDx talk Simon discusses how important and valuable museums could play in today’s culture by creating events which not only is intended to be fun or exciting it’s supposed to be an event where people are learning and combining cultures. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is where Simon is currently the Executive Director of and goes through the different programs they have come up with that have been so successful that they have seen their numbers of visitors going through the roof in the last year.
To learn more about what their museum was doing currently I checked out their website http://www.santacruzmah.org/. Right away this museum jumped out as something different right from just looking at the homepage. All over the homepage is stacked with upcoming events that offer a variety of different events. After surfing through the site a little bit I found out that they offer weekly events and encourage their visitors to not only get involved in events but get involved with the museum by possibly submitting work to be added to it. This was the first time in my whole research where I have seen a museum that is completely different from the norm, and they have had success. There events may range in subject but all of them are alike in the way they bring people together and offer options for the people to have control and free range to develop thoughts and have positive cultural experiences with their museum.
This TEDx YouTube video made me think a lot about the MWM. One of the participatory project ideas for the MWM was inspired by the New Hampshire photo contest “I Love it Here”. In the photo contest, people from New Hampshire or other states got to take a picture of New Hampshire that inspired them or made them reasons to love it here. There has been discussions of potentially mimicking this photo contest. By getting up small signs that say, “I love the White Mountains’ or something similar with also the #mwmpsu on it, the museum could pass these out for visitors to go out and get inspired by the White Mountains. If these were handed out at the hub or somewhere around campus it would be a good way to get the university involved in the project. After taking a picture with the sign, participants can upload them to Instagram and tag the MWM in it. After a winner is chosen prizes can be given out. This possible contest event would be great as it would be a good starting point for future participatory projects. With museums like the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for inspiration the MWM can keep up with the times and start looking at projects like theirs as inspiration to look at our own resources within the White Mountains and try to figure out future programs that can be brought to the museum.
Today, I was surfing through the website Connection to Collections (http://www.connectingtocollections.org/). I was looking through the webinar section and I saw a webinar I hadn’t seen before. It was called Using Collections Images in Online Exhibits. It was about the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection using Omeka to showcase photos that were held within their collection. As I read more of the abstract I kept finding similarities between the focus of the webinar and what could done towards the Cairn, if the future of social networking for the museum lies within Instagram. To find out more I listened to the webinar and found out that it’s Manager of the Image Shalimar White wanted to create a digital collection where they could provide educational information as well as gain information what is within their collection. To set out this goal they completed a step by step process where they gathered the right information research by a vast team made up of other scholars, interns, libraries, etc. After this was completed they turned to Omeka the same site the MWM uses for the Cairn. When published they promoted it and found it successful in many ways.
After cataloging a lot of photographs at the museum I have seen that there are a lot of stories to tell that is in the collection. Also with the social media focus turning more towards Instagram this webinar made the possibility of The Cairn being a place to showcase collections. Before I have researched and seen different websites that use Omeka as a place to showcase exhibits. However this webinar was better and more eye-opening as it broke down and showed the process piece by piece which made the process seem easier to go by if attempted. With the MWM having a good size collection with a lot of stories to tell mini-exhibits can be created for the site. With already having Omeka it would be easy to turn the site into one which held small exhibits. Also the Contribute page could be continued and people could upload pictures related to the exhibits posted showing how there are connections between collections and everyday life in the White Mountains.
One of the things that struck me as important within the webinar was how they kept a blog showing the development of the collection they were about to publish through Omeka. White discussed how it helped build an audience for the exhibit. She also mentioned how promoting it on social networking sites on Facebook helped too. I thought about if the MWM did this, they too could promote on Facebook and show through Instagram the process of creating collections for the Cairn. Another thing that struck me was how it was a good tool to learn more about the contents within a museum’s collection. As the items of a collection are compiled and separated through collections it shows an insight to the culture and identity of a museum. It the Cairn was developed into one where it displayed exhibits it wouldn’t only be a tool to learn for visitors it would be a tool for museum professionals and interns to learn more about the culture and identity of the museum’s collection.