A Couple New Adventures – Winterthur Week 7

This week at Winterthur was a mix of classic responsibilities and new assignments. I realized I only three weeks left at Winterthur after this, and it’s crazy to think of how much I have seen and experienced during my time with the Curatorial and Registration Departments.

Let’s take a look at Week 7, shall we?

Monday

Today was something totally new – a tour de-instillation. With the Spring Tour routes officially over and the Summer route on different floors, it was time for the Registration Department to reconfigure the Spring Tour routes into their regular set ups. I helped sign off on the paper work for each object getting returned, indicating it was moved back to it’s normal living space for the majority of the year.

Paula and I worked in the Maple Bedroom, and she used photo references to make sure chairs and tables were in the exactly the right spot on the rug. She also had to move an entire tea set off of a table onto a plastic one, move the antique table across the room, and then put all of the tea set back on the table in the same spots. I was impressed with her system to make sure she got it right.

Several Object Move Reports (OMRs)

Several Object Move Reports (OMRs)

In the middle of repositioning the teaset and table.

In the middle of repositioning the teaset and table.

After all the rooms and hallways were back to normal, the paperwork needed to be scanned and the database updated so all the object locations were accurate again. This job was given to me.

Registration gave me a scanner, and a stack of bar codes for every authorized object handler, as well as a bar code for the date. All the Object Move Reports (OMRs), have a bar code for the object as well. It was surprisingly fun to scan all the bar codes, and then update the database.

Scanners, barcodes, and paperwork.

Scanners, barcodes, and paperwork.

Tuesday

On Tuesday I ventured up to the Learning Center by the greenhouses to help administer feedback surveys at the Terrific Tuesday youth programs. The Education Department and their two college interns from the University of Delaware spent weeks developing themed activities, experiments, and community demonstrations for weekly family-geared days. This week was centered around “Dull vs. Shiny”, and high school volunteers taught kids how to etch glass coasters, make sequined wall sconces, fabric-covered buttons, and shadow boxes. A local potter talked about glazes, and there were stations that explained how reflecting pools worked and let kids test out the best method for cleaning pennies (options includes lemon juice and Tabasco sauce, among others).

I created a feedback survey for parents, and another for students, so I spent most of the day gauging good times to approach people and ask them to take a quick iPad survey. I had a roll of stickers to incentivize quiz taking for the students, although one child was really excited about taking “a test”. The student survey was a quiz of sorts, asking questions at the end relating to the “Dull vs. Shiny” theme, to gauge if the kids were learning anything. I would not go so far as to call it a test, though.

After getting survey feedback, helping some younger kids sort spoons into “Dull”, “Shiny”, “Big”, and “Small” buckets, and making my own fabric-covered button, I returned to the Curatorial Department to upload more print Multimedia files to the database, for a pretty low-key end of the day.

The greenhouses

The greenhouses

Wednesday

Today consisted of more Multimedia image uploads to the database, and retaking, renaming, and resizing some images for print blocks who’s image files somehow got lost during the larger processing. Luckily only a few seemed to have disappeared, so fixing the problem happened pretty quickly.

Thursday

Thursday was another day mostly involving Multimedia uploads to the museum database, as well as updating the database with information from the Gift-Purchase letters written by curators during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, so their research and knowledge of the objects’ histories can be accessible online.

In the afternoon I took a small break and explored some of the estate’s floors not covered on the regular tour, and found some interesting rooms from the 1600s and a stuffed cat used during Winterthur’s Yuletide tours.

The adventure lead to finding a cow.

The adventure lead to finding a cow.

Friday

On Friday Paula and I plowed through the final few boxes of American Textile History Museum print blocks. That’s right, we finally got them all accessioned! It’s a tiny victory in a much larger accessioning project, but I think we had a right to be proud after working our way through roughly 500 print blocks.

The last tray of print blocks!

The last tray of print blocks!

While Photoshop resized the remaining images, I also did some digging into the object and correspondence files for the Revolutionary Mezzotint in last week’s blog post to answer a question about how Winterthur acquired the print. While I couldn’t determine exactly how the print got to the art dealers, I did discover that H.F. DuPont decided to acquire the print in 1944. So there were some answers, even if they weren’t the most satisfying.

And that’s a wrap on Week 7. Time to steel ourselves for Week 8, and the beginning of the end.