Nineteenth Day

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.



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