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Museum Monday: Honors terms at the Logan

October 20, 2017
By Nicolette Meister

Honors terms offer students an opportunity to make significant contributions to Beloit College, post-graduation. The Logan Museum of Anthropology is often on the receiving end of these projects. This fall two students, Jasmine Wu’17 and Kendra Keyes’17, are assisting museum staff with object photography and photogrammetry, object rehousing, and collection research.

Photography of oversized textiles in the lobby of Godfrey Anthropology.

Photography of oversized textiles in the lobby of Godfrey Anthropology.

Both Jasmine and Kendra studied anthropology, but both discovered museum studies and the diversity of opportunities available in the Logan Museum late in their undergraduate careers. The honors term was the perfect opportunity to dig deeply into the anthropology museum before it was too late.

Jasmine’s honors term involves working with Dan Bartlett, curator of exhibits and education, to apply focus-blending and macro-photography to Logan objects. The process involves taking multiple macro-photographs and blending them in Photoshop to create a single, crisp, high-resolution digital image. In addition, she’s exploring macro-photography applications to obtain high-resolution 3D models of very tiny objects. She’s also photographing pieces from Oaxaca, Mexico, including over-sized textiles under Curator of Collections Nicolette Meister’s supervision.

Native American necklaces rehoused in custom mounts by Kendra Keyes`17

 Native American necklaces rehoused in custom mounts by Kendra Keyes`17

Kendra’s project is providing her comprehensive hands-on collections management and preventive care experience in the Logan Museum. Working with Nicolette, she designed and implemented the rehousing of two drawers of Native American jewelry in storage and began research on the Frederick Starr collection of lantern slides that document Iroquois life between 1894 and 1910. The Logan curates 44 lantern slides taken by Starr and possibly used by him on the Chautauqua circuit in New York. Unfortunately, the collection history and actual location of the images are unclear. Because Kendra has family connections on the Seneca and Cattaraugus Indian reservations, we’re hopeful she can help us further identify the locations and individuals depicted.

The immersive, semester-long honors term provides invaluable hands-on learning opportunities and space for students to put what they’ve learned in classes into practice. Working closely with staff, students learn best practices and are exposed to the diversity of activities that happen behind the scenes at the museum.