A Curator's Day, Then and Now

Each object has a catalog record used to identify and group artifacts together for potential use or examination without subjecting them to excess handling and wear, to track an artifact’s location, and to record its condition.  As someone who has been trained to “Preserve An Artifact Until Forever,” the catalog is my most important tool. ..Take a recent example, three photographs of the same building in La Valle: one a digital image only (a computerized file, not the actual image), and two damaged in the floods of 2018.  All three include an older standing woman, identified on the back of each print. It’s the same woman. In one photograph she is on the small porch; in the other, she is standing on a long exterior stairway leading to the small porch, and then she is standing on a side porch.  Only the house remains consistent, or does it?

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Rebecca DuBey Comment
A Curator's Journey

In  August of 2018 we received a large collection of photographs from Kathleen LaCombe. The note on top of one pile said simply “Armbruster” and another, “Herfort.” How does one deal with a collection so large, that if stacked, would be as tall as my desk?  How does one make sense of two families, without knowing either one?…

I began sorting. There were several generations here, but two began to emerge as primary; an older couple, and that of a young boy.  His pictures were scattered throughout the collection; as an infant, youngster, child, and one from High school. Looking past the smiling boy, I noticed a camper in the background of first one, then a second, then in several images laid out on my table.  It wasn’t just any camper, it had character. It was possibly homemade, unique in its construction and character…

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