Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's in a Curator's Office?

     I have to confess that this has been a very busy week for me.  I’m still catching up from the snow days we had and the time I was away for the conference.  So, today I thought I’d give you a look at some of the odd things which are in my office!

     Let’s start with my desk.

Clara Barton watches over my business cards.
I always have some relevant reading material on my desk.

This item came out of my desk drawer.  It is a spring mechanism which was removed from the (reproduction) musket we put out on display for people to handle.

     I also have an “artifact desk” which holds the artifacts which I’m cataloging or photographing, as well as some exhibit supplies.  

I’m working my way through cataloging a large donation of medical books.

This Civil War surgeon stands guard over the artifacts on the desk!

These pantyhose and fake eyelashes aren’t for me!   The pantyhose were used to cover a foam head in the exhibits.  I needed to display a white lace nurse’s cap on it, which didn’t show up well against the white covering on the head.  It shows up very well against the black though.  The eyelashes are used on the mannequins in the exhibits.

I also keep a black light in my office.  It comes in handy for detecting stains and repairs on artifacts, as well as highlighting mouse trails.

There’s a bookcase in my office which of course holds books.  It is also home to a petri dish which contains a form for growing an ear.  It was part of a past exhibit, and now it functions as a great conversation piece!

The artifact quarantine cabinet is in my office as well.  Any artifacts which come into the museum first have to “live” here for a month or so.

One of the items currently in the cabinet is this combination knife and fork, which was used by amputees.  This one is on loan to us from the collection of Scott Pfeffer, and it is slated to be part of an exhibit on amputee eating utensils.

Items which are too large for the quarantine cabinet, like this musket, are kept in a safe corner of my office.

Hanging from the pipes in my office ceiling is this moth trap.  I keep textiles in here, so I do not want any moths in the area!

     Let’s take a look at what’s on the walls too.

Every good Virginia Tech alumnus needs to display a Hokie!

Every good collection manager should have one of these Emergency Response Salvage Wheels handy.  It is a handy reference which lists some basic treatments for the various types of artifacts in various types of disasters. 

      I will leave you with my favorite work-themed cartoon which is on my wall!


Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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