Now that our Victorian Fair has come and gone, our collections staff hardly took a break and jumped right into uninstalling the festival exhibits. Melanie Tran, the Homestead’s collections assistant, documented the process for our readers. If you’d like to know even more about what goes on behind the scenes with our collection and how artifacts are handled and maintained, don’t miss our upcoming White Glove Tours on May 17 & 18! If volunteering at the Homestead (and possibly working with artifacts!) sound interesting to you, learn more about our program here.
Chamber pots, parasols, sheet music, and photographs – these are a few things you may have seen if you came through the Homestead Museum during our Victorian Fair weekend. You might be wondering why you haven’t seen some of these items on display during a regular tour. Because some of our collection falls out of the Workman and Temple family scope represented in regular exhibits, we like to bring out these pieces when we have special festivals and events. When the objects are not on display, they are housed in areas of our historic houses until they are needed for exhibition or research. With the number of items displayed, we enlisted the help of our Collections Care volunteers to safely put the Victorian Fair exhibit objects back in their home locations.
First, we donned a pair of clean, white cotton gloves and dusted off the object surfaces with a soft bristle brush while examining each for any damages or changes that might have occurred over the weekend. Next, we gathered up all the objects in several bins to be moved to our storage room. Once there, the photographs, magazines, and pamphlets were returned to their home storage locations.
All objects in our collection of over 21,000 objects have a designated permanent housing location. Photographs are housed in mylar sleeves and then inserted into an envelope, which is then placed inside a box to prevent bending or crumpling. Sheet music and two-dimensional paper objects are handled the same way, without the mylar sleeve. Three-dimensional objects, such as the chamber pot and parasol, are wrapped before placing them in a box or on a shelf. Each object’s housing needs are different and treating them with care is one way we can ensure their integrity for future use.
So, this is just a taste of what goes on in the storage wings of La Casa Nueva. If volunteering at the Homestead (and possibly working with artifacts!) sound interesting to you, learn more about our program here.