Continuing our series on our collections audit the museum is undertaking, this week features guest posts from members of the collections team.
If you are the kind of person who sits down now and then to spend hours updating your iTunes playlist, making sure you have exactly the right album art, band name spelling and track listings for your ultimate playlist then you might have some idea of the what it takes to undertake a collections audit. Each piece in a museum’s collections must be documented and accounted for and this fall I am going to be joining the MIA team as they undertake this project.
So how did I come to join this team and what drew me to museum work in the first place? I spent my formative years visiting every living history museum, gallery and road side historic plaques from Kingston to St. Johns with my family. Those road trips gave me my first taste of what museums had to offer and my interest in the field grew until I had the opportunity in high school to suit up in the blisteringly hot woolly uniform of a British artillery soldier and become a historical interpreter at Fort Henry. Since then I have had the chance to work with the Peterborough Museum and Archives and this past summer I completed an internship in the CBC’s Libraries and Archives working closely with their still photographs collection.
I feel that interacting with a museum artifact is an experience that is completely unique to these kinds of institutions. Working in collections management gives me the chance to do hands-on work with the artifacts that shape each museum visit. As you might have guessed the collection you see displayed at a museum is only a fraction of what that museum holds and getting the chance to peek behind the curtain to see what else might be waiting in quiet storage rooms and vaults is very exciting to me. There is something special about getting to know each and every piece, its history and its place in our collection and I can’t wait to find out more as this project moves forward.
So far one of my favourite pieces to accession and catalogue are these two drawings:
The contrast between the black ink and white paper is really striking, and I can’t stop focusing in on the cross hatch technique the artist used. I hope to come across more by this artist as the project continues!
– Posted by: Leah Cox., MIA’s Collections Management Volunteer