Students in Introduction to Collections Management have been busy practicing preventive conservation at the Beloit Historical Society, and researching objects in Beloit College collections for an upcoming exhibit.
If you haven’t been to the Beloit Historical Society (BHS), it’s worth the trip across town. The Society houses the material history of the city of Beloit: documents signed by U.S. presidents, thousands of historic photographs, Victorian clothing, soap box derby cars, and sports memorabilia, to name only a few captivating categories. The BHS is a place where Beloit College students put the liberal arts into practice. Before spring break, students spent an afternoon encapsulating historic documents, building custom enclosures for panoramic photographs, and creating custom boxes for small, fragile items. Service-learning projects like this allow students to practice skills learned in class and to make a contribution to the Beloit community. In addition to hosting museum studies students, the BHS has provided tours to history and archives classes and will host two Beloit College Think BIG! interns this summer.
Each year, every student in Introduction to Collections Management compiles an extensive object biography that tells the life history of a single object in the collection of the Logan Museum of Anthropology, the Wright Museum of Art, or the Theater Department’s historic costume collection. The exhibit Object Investigations, which showcases the students’ research, opens Tuesday, March 24 in the Logan Museum’s Shaw Gallery. A Peruvian ceramic vessel depicting a man wearing a richly colored woven tunic with trophy head imagery, Roman stamps possibly used to label loaves of bread, a female funerary effigy figure from Indonesia, and an 19th century emerald green silk bodice are just a few of the items researched by students for the Object Investigations exhibition. Object research helps students combine critical thinking skills, traditional research skills, and detailed visual examination as they raise questions and explore new ways of investigating the answers. The exhibit shows visitors some of the rich resources available for investigation and discovery in the campus museums.
Annelise McKechnie’17 and Alex Hade’15 encapsulating historic documents at the Beloit Historical Society.