Monday, December 6, 2010

Every Job Has Its Own Language

Helping with environmental monitoring back in the Collections Laboratory.
 Every job has its own language, its own skill sets, tools, techniques, trials, and joys. Interning at Pueblo Grande opened my eyes to many things about museums that I had never imagined . . . and I have a pretty active imagination. Lindsey sent me back to the meat locker, or the constantly cold, temperature controlled Collections Lab - - to re-bag dirt. Well, you never know when it will need to be analyzed. Laura had me photograph tinsy-tiny beads and a pot so big that you would bring the water to it rather than use the pot to haul water. Holly taught me that you don’t use just any kind of glue to stick things together. Chemistry does matter. Some glues don’t stick to certain materials, others discolor the material, and some never let go of the material, even skin. That was the painful lesson experience taught. I found out you can measure an oddly shaped object on an Osteometric Board.

Using the O Board to measure
 Lindsey can tell you, and show you, and maybe even serve up to taste, the good bugs from the museum-bad bugs. Temperature, humidity, and light levels are all important to the preservation of artifacts. It is also important to know where you put things, so a catalog system is a must. But the most important thing is the people you work with, learn from, share ideas with, and, if you are lucky, turn into friends. Ah, my Collections internship.

Tom Walsh, Collections Intern

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