Work in Process: Excavated Objects around the Seth's House

We have only about 5 weeks left before the new exhibition opening on May 7th (Saturday).

The Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives has been becoming busier and busier with installing objects and preparing all the material to welcome its visitors for the coming exhibit past/forward.

As a part of the installation, I worked on these boxes of a lot of objects with one of the museum's volunteer workers today.

The carefully sorted and packaged objects in these boxes are excavated materials at and around the Seth's House.
Current picture of the Seth's House

The original structure of the house was built around 1750. Since then, the house was extended as it was passed on to each owner in history. The house has also been vandalized and caused argument over its restoration and demolition.

Then, the act of preservation has finally been carried out recently. The house is now going through the restoration process.

The museum is supporting this restoration as the museum of the town in which the house is located.
It is going to showcase some of the excavated objects around the house at the next exhibition.

So, we worked on choosing objects from the bags.  They were already organized and defined by archeologists.

We found some interesting objects such as an ashtray, metal pieces, fragments of ceramics etc...

They will be displayed in the museum gallery and play a part of the exhibition from this coming May.
Display work in progress...

I think it is going to be interesting that these objects from the historical house nearby are shown as actual and tangible examples in the exhibition which is focusing on preservation of the past and forwarding it to the future.

I hope many visitors to the exhibition will enjoy watching these interesting objects at the our museum.


Ostrich Feather, Innocent Flowers and Black Velvet

I was with my supervisor and a female worker. We were excitedly observing each item from the hat collection which I introduced last time.

Since each hat was so unique with interesting design, we were appreciating them by picking up our favorite one besides studying them♪

My supervisor's favorite one is this brown spring hat.
The whole hat is made with delicate tulle supported by a wire frame.
The front brim is decorated with a gorgeous plume of ostrich feather which slightly covers wearer's face like a weeping willow.

This cute hat is for a young female worker who is working at the museum as a volunteer staff and also teaches me registrar work on digital archive software.
The very feminine and innocent appearance of this flower-covered hat matches her so much♪

And,,, this black velvet hat was chosen for me!
This is a chic velvet hat with an oval brim.
Toward the outside edge of the brim is decorated with black tulle. (This tulle has become so fragile that we need to be careful when we handle this hat!!!)

There is a pin with two gold pearls, is attached on the front.

Black satin ribbon is tied into a bow shape at slightly off-center on the back. I think this is very cute♪

On the liner of the hat, an emblem logo is embroidered.
It is the logo of Hahne & Co which was a high-end department store in Newark, NJ from the beginning to the late 20th century.
Unfortunately, we no longer have a chance to see this department store in business now, however, we can imagine how Newark seemed like with such a fancy stores with top-of-the-line fashion products in the early 20th century.

It is always interesting and romantic to know about history through objects which have been living over years, decades and centuries♪


Beautiful Hat Collection

Let me introduce this fabulous collection of millinery.

These beautiful hats were donated to the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives by a generous family Mr. and Mrs. Lanzilotti.

They came in a classic hat box with other accessories, such as handmade night caps, an ostrich collar, an ostrich feather boa, a rose corsage and felted wool spats.

Since the museum acquired this collection, it has researched about each item.

They are historical items which played a role gracing the owner's attire in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

Family items are family memories.
Every item was well preserved by the family, and this time, the museum took over the duty to appreciate and introduce the significance of this collection.

At the museum, I take part in the research work for these items.
It often requires careful observation and a lot of study of each, to find out their history. 
However, it is a romantic process to trace back the history of costumes and to know how people were living in the period before I was born, by understanding objects.

Objects acquired by the museum, like this collection, are studied, preserved and then may be introduced to visitors in the future exhibitions.

The generous donation enriches the museum's research duty, collections and exhibitions. 


Coffee Time in the Morning

My work (intern) time at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, is usually 10am to 3pm.

As I always write here, I am involved with many types of tasks of the whole museum work, I still have lots of opportunity to work on something new on each day and learn works I have never done before, though it has been almost 2 months since I started working there.

Working on new tasks and meeting new people let my work time go faster and time always flies at the internship.

The work at the museum usually starts with a nice morning coffee time with everybody. When I arrive at the museum, my supervisor, the director of the museum and the building engineer are already there with freshly brewed coffee and some snack at the table.

As soon as I get there, I join them as they always tell me "Good morning♪ Have some coffee here! We saved some for you!"

I love this pleasant and uplifting coffee time at the beginning of a day with everybody♪

The coffee time is also a time to communicate to each other like a meeting time.
We exchange information about works and projects each of us deals with, and tell others who they are proceeding.

This is also a good chance for me to know about people I rarely meet during daily work time, such as board members, local historians etc.

I hope I will have a lot more chance to meet people in addition to learning opportunity so that I can have more broad idea of museum work associated with people in society.


The Salyer House, Another Site for the Museum

The Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, where I intern at, has two sites.

For the past three posts, I introduced one of them, which is called the DePew House and what I have been doing there.

After all the snow is gone and the weather has become nicer, I finally had a chance to visit another site.

This is the site, the Salyer House.

Like the DePew House, this building is also a preserved historical architecture.

The Salyer House was built in the late 18th century, so... this old Dutch house has been here for almost 300 years.

It is located facing a reservoir in Pearl River, NY and has a beautiful exterior with its stone walls.

The former owner donated this house to the Town Of Orangetown in 1992. Supported by volunteers' effort, the town opened this site as a museum in 1996.

Although it is not open to the public right now, in this season, the Salyer House has museum gallery space with historical objects and wall texts on its first floor.

It is very quiet and the museum objects are stored in the building, but the gallery will be reorganized and lively once the museum starts an exhibition here.

I just imagine this place will have a great atmosphere with these Dutch doors open for nice fresh air from the reservoir and back-yard forest, when the museum is in season and open to the public on a day with beautiful weather♪

The upstairs of the building has multiple rooms which are used as archive rooms. Most of the objects acquired by the museum are examined and stored here. The acquisitions are carefully wrapped and placed in boxes here when they are not on view.
The digital archive work I introduced in my last post is directly connected with this storage area.
All the objects have their own call numbers and description registered in the archive system "PastPerfect." They are sorted by the numbers and found with them labeled on the boxes.

I assume that I will have more chance to come to this place later in my internship time as we work more on the new exhibition installation.

It was definitely exciting to visit the Salyer House and see inside the building for the first time!


Learning the Digital Archive Software "PastPerfect"

One of the objectives of my internship at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives is mastering the digital archives software "PastPerfect."

This is a task to input information of the museum's historical objects which can be documents, artifacts, photography etc., and organize it in the computer system, so that each object can be called when they are needed.

Every single object the museum acquires has a unique number. With the number, we need to input, for example, date, material, size, description, name of the creator etc.

Yes, this is like numbers found on a spine of library books and information about these books loaded in book search system on computer.
Organizing the digital archive is one of the museum works as well.

With my electric dictionary on a side, I sometimes spend my day in front of a computer in order to practice archiving.  
Recently, I have worked on some files of printed objects which were used as information or illustration for a history book "Tappan 300 Years."

Trained by my excellent mentor at the internship, I went over the materials in the files, input the summary and description, and organized them in a collection.

As opposed to physical works such as hanging 30+ frames, digital archive requires more brain work... and an extensive vocabulary or nomenclature.

This is a challenging objective for me, but I have been learning one by one and making a progress!
It is exciting to think that my archiving will help other people call objects in the future and I also like organizing scattered information... so I can enjoy this brain work as well♪