Woody Internship – Taft Museum of Art – Blog 5

This week, I’ve been thinking about the quote “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” You’ve probably heard that phrase before. Often, it’s credited to women such as Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt, pasted on photos of them, and shared on Facebook. It’s on coffee mugs and bumper stickers, Etsy jewelry and t-shirts. It’s everywhere, it’s usually misattributed, and it’s widely misunderstood.

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Inspiration from JVN (Jonathan Van Ness)

In my research, I have come across a dominant notion of limited available conceptions. A rough sketch of the idea is that we have thoughts and feelings which we must communicate through available words and concepts. Sometimes, this means squeezing the thought or feeling into an available conception, which can result in certain important bits being left behind. Sometimes, this means that a word is not available to communicate the thought or feeling. With a general understanding, this idea can be applied to numerous things that we interact with every day.

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Fun at Winterthur, Week 7!

Hello everyone, I’m back for week 7! I had a super busy weekend with my friend in town. We saw the fountain show at Longwood, took a tour right here at Winterthur, visited Nemours, walked along the Wilmington waterfront, had some UDairy ice cream, and spent all day Sunday in Philadelphia. It was so much fun to get to see her and to hang out for the weekend! As much as I love my time at Winterthur, this past weekend made me look forward to getting back to school with my friends. I started off my Monday morning in the textile study as usual. I don’t technically have moving privileges, but I’ve been trained on how to move objects and I do it sometimes when needed and supervised by curators. So, I got to move some textiles from the accessions room in the office wing of the museum to the textile lab in the research building which was cool (but also not as cool as it sounds: they were wrapped in tissue paper in a box that I held carefully). We worked in the textile conservation lab this morning since that was where our missing box from last week was found, so it was a nice change of pace. We marked a lot of objects for deaccession, so it felt productive! At lunch, some of the curators and I went to see a talk about decisions and ethics in furniture conservation (i.e. what do you replace? what should be recreated and what should be left as-is? how do you decide original intent?). It was really interesting, and the woman who gave the talk had worked at both the VMFA and Colonial Williamsburg. She featured a sofa from the VMFA in her talk, so I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m in Richmond. After the talk, I went back to work trying to date some of the textiles and ceramics we’re deaccessioning. I went through files in registration and books in the library trying to piece it together, which was fun (I love research!). I was feeling a little tired so I stopped by the basement for a coffee from our new coffee vending machine (!!!) to wake myself up for the end of the day.

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Week 5: gradual progress

Research has been moving slowly as I get up to speed in R programming.  I feel very slow sometimes when it takes me a half hour of googling and reading Stack Overflow to figure a simple problem.  I’m grateful to my labmates, many of whom can code, for their advice.  For example, I would never have figured out that my code wouldn’t run because R wasn’t reading reading my data as numbers.  I would never have guessed that it was even an option for R to read what I thought were numbers as non numeric characters.

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