Over the last few months, we have been very lucky to have a team of volunteers; Amanda, Ashley and Nicole, working with some of the archival materials, updating collection records and in some cases continuing the accession process of items into our archival systems. The group will continue through the autumn,while other volunteers, Vivienne and Cesar, begin the digitization process of entering the records & photographs for each artefact into our new database, thanks to a grant, Museum and Technology Fund, we were successful in obtaining from the Ministry of Culture. This truly is the behind the scenes museum work that occurs at Parkwood and makes up most of my registrar duties as Curator.
Anyone who has ever visited my office has seen the paper, photographs, blueprints, etc. that often consume my desk. In recent months, due to the HVAC retrofit work that had the closet spaces in my office filled with workmen, I moved the overwhelming amounts of paper to the art gallery space (currently off the tour route), and the volunteers are continuing to use this space for their work area(s).
This little group of diligent historians work, at their own pace, cataloguing, doing condition reports/evaluations on the items, pH testing of the paper, encapsulating when necessary, and setting aside those pieces requiring additional TLC from me. Often I hear little raps on my office door, or receive excited text messages with photos attached when something is discovered and I love that this group is enthusiastic about the collection and can see the future interpretive material in their discoveries.
I am also discovering great little finds of Canadian history as we rummage (with white gloved hands) through the paper, being introduced to characters I have never heard of and uncovering new gems of information each day. Parkwood will be sharing these little finds over the next few weeks via our blog and I hope you find them as interesting as we do.