To begin my summer museum work and to get some experience with handling artifacts, I’ve been working on a little bit of rehousing. This is where I take a box of artifacts from storage, unpack the artifacts to see how they’re doing, and then replace them in the box. While I repackage the items I’ve also been checking in our artifact database to make sure that they are registered correctly. It’s been interesting to trace the origins of an object, through looking in the database and at the donation form from when it originally came to the museum and its path through the museum accession process. This is the process through which an artifact enters the museum’s collection, is catalogued, and put in storage or on display. Some of the objects I’ve come across have either been missing accession numbers, have been given multiple numbers, or just have completely illegible numbers. In these cases, some extra work is required to figure out what exactly the object is and where it came from.
One example of an object that was difficult to trace is this black plastic contraption:
A second mystery find was this metal number-less artifact pictured below:
Unfortunately, even after all that looking, I wasn’t able to learn anything about the specific histories of these two objects, about where they had come from, or who had used them. The task of trying to figure it though was still interesting, and going through a few of the artifacts in storage has made me intrigued to see what other interesting, unidentifiable tools the museum’s collection contains.