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Museum Monday:Behind the Scenes at the Logan

December 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

As the fall semester winds down, so too do the final phases of the Logan Museum’s federally funded (NEH and IMLS) projects.

Since last spring students and museum staff have been researching and cataloging hundreds of Oaxacan textiles and objects collected between the 1940s and 1990s by donor Frances Bristol, an avid traveler and textile enthusiast. Many of the objects are accompanied by Bristol’s own notes and photographs. Students like Emma Hahn’20 (pictured below) compile the archival information and object descriptions to create complete records to be used by future students and researchers.

 Emma Hahn’20 cataloging a servilleta/cloth napkin using handwritten notes from the Bristol archive.

Handwritten notes from Frances Bristol

Emma Hahn’20 cataloging a servilleta or cloth napkin using handwritten notes from the Bristol archive .

Junior Kara Mattsen’19 has been researching Bristol’s jewelry collection this fall. These pieces are important examples of mid-century Mexican silverwork. “This kind of research is like doing detective work. I have to use the clues available on the physical object, like maker’s marks and design elements, to try to establish a date, location, and context in order to create a complete picture for each piece.”

Kara Mattsen’19 cataloging a silver necklace from the Bristol collection.

 A maker’s mark on a silver belt buckle.

Kara Mattsen’19 cataloging a silver necklace from the Bristol collection. A maker’s mark on a silver belt buckle.

Once the cataloging phase is complete, detailed records and photographs will be launched online in the spring making this important collection available for research worldwide.

In addition to the Oaxacan textile project, the Logan has also been implementing an IMLS-funded cold storage project. Cold storage is essential to long-term preservation of color images and negatives. Students and museum staff created a detailed inventory of the museum’s image holdings and are rehousing color images and negatives in vapor proof packaging in a new energy efficient freezer purchased with grant funds. Many of these images have been digitized, but many others await future funding for continued digitization efforts.

Assistant Curator Krista Barry`15 placed color slides in vapor-proof packaging in the freezer.

Krista Barry`15, assistant curator, placed boxes of color slides in vapor-proof packaging in the new freezer.