Staples and other things

Hello again,

I am rounding out my second week at TRI and must say that I’m enjoying it even more than the first week. Mostly because of getting more accustomed to a place makes me feel more at ease. Everyone has been warm and welcoming, so the transition was easy. What have I been doing?

Well for a few days this:

I ❤ microspatulas

Staple (and other accouterments) removal!

While it doesn’t sound all that exciting (especially to anyone who actually has done it), I have actually enjoyed it as it gives me a chance to really see the materials in the Marcel Marceau collection. The collection was created by his agent, who was incidentally an amazing record keeper. He created files for every stop Marceau made on his American (and some international) tours. These files contain everything from performance contracts, copies of programs, tickets, correspondence, press releases, reviews, awards, and other such things. And while staple removal may seem tedious, it was definitely a hands-on way to get acquainted with the collection. And just for the record, I’m pretty sure I am going to remove my last staple later today. I might have to do a celebratory dance in the processing room.

Some of the materials found in an event folder

As I realized that I was nearly done with the paper materials in the collection, I went and took a further look at the other mysteries waiting on the shelves. I found out that what I had first thought was a scrapbook was actually an impressive book of lithographs. I’m honestly going to just give a teaser here, because really, these things deserve their own posts entirely. Also tucked away was an impressive roll of 35mm film. You could never blame this collection for being uninteresting.

So after having an even better idea of the collection, I’ve decided on a series and am hoping to set to work on the finding aid next week. I also think I’m going to make one of my first big professional purchases and invest in Filemaker Pro for my own computer, especially as I found out for sure that you can export Filemaker databases into Excel (and vice versa), making it seem like the ideal program for me right now.

But enough of that jargon talk. Like last week, I haven’t been only doing processing. Early in the week I visited Tamar and company and the University Archives. It was a really great visit, and it was interesting to see the differences between special collection and archival practices. Tamar also gave me some records retention guidelines that I’m sure will be incredibly helpful once I start my practicum with the Kristina Isabelle Dance Company. Another highlight of the trip was getting to see the book depository here at Ohio State. It is huge, awe-inspiring, and really deserves its own post with pictures. I’ve been welcomed back to snap a few shots, so I’ll expand on this more at a later date.

I also had the chance to shadow Nena while she got things ready for a Fall exhibition coming up. It’s interesting to see how every endeavor is very involved and requires a lot of steps. In this case, deciding on the material, pulling it, photographing it, changing its location in a database, sending items to a conservator to be mended or framed, and even deciding on a title for the exhibition itself. It was a delight to see the chosen materials. I’m sad I won’t be here to see it in completion.

Looking through the materials with the conservator

I also was witness to the collection delivery process, which in some ways is just as exciting as it sounds. After a date and time zone confusion, we finally received the new collection. It was from a designer in NYC. The best part of this whole process was getting to open the boxes to check the items. There’s something undeniably fun at getting to look at someone else’s things (which is probably why I chose this field), and since TRI collects such a wide range of materials, it’s always exciting to see what mysteries await. In this case: costume design bibles, masks, hats, a blown-off foot prop (I’m not kidding), and other unique materials. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures but I’m actively working on documenting these things more readily. So yeah, I found something to be excited about with a delivery. lol

So, my second week has been great. I’m particularly excited about seeing all these different facets of the information field. It truly is making me even more excited about entering this world professionally. Even the ‘boring’ stuff, which makes me feel like I’ve definitely chosen the right field. I really feel lucky to have a chance to work with such intriguing material and such friendly and motivated people.

Well, I’m off to the processing room to remove that last staple.


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One Response to Staples and other things

  1. Charlotte Hart says:

    Seriously cool, Tara. Thanks for writing up all this so I can live vicariously — and I love the work of staple removing for precisely the same reason!!!

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