Curation Update from the Zimmerman House
-By Twila Mysinger and originally published in the Summer 2020 “Reflections” newsletter.
We launched a project last year to get all the glass bowls, pitchers, and dishes that were on display into PastPerfect so we could remove the masking tape that carried their number. The tape was necessary, but not attractive, and was beginning to fall off. Carlos Lopez and I worked every week to get these items photographed and all their particulars into the system. We then moved on to vases and milk bottles and got those completed as well. Sadly, Covid-19 stopped this in-person work.
Judith Lenhart was leading our volunteers in the late 1990s/ early 2000s when they spent a ton of time documenting artifacts on ‘inventory worksheets’. Books, as an example, would have title, author, publisher, date, condition, and inscriptions – the Zimmermans gave and received a lot of books! The volunteers documented over 900 books in this fashion, so I scanned those pages and went looking for volunteers to enter this data into Excel.
We have two wonderful ladies – Catherine and Gail – both from California – that responded to our plea for help. They’ve completed the books, 150 pieces of art, 300 pieces of glassware, 50 dolls/toys , 500 glass containers, and 500 pieces of apparel. We have some apparel and a lot of ceramics yet to do.
Just getting these details into Excel will give us a much better sense of what we actually have in the collections and allow us to find interesting items for future exhibits. Most of the books had their permanent number written on the inside cover, so each box was found, the contents verified, and the information uploaded to PastPerfect. The artwork has also been given permanent numbers, so we’ll tackle that next. Two of our local volunteers – John Bootes and Ivy Hudson – have been scanning the photographs of the art our earlier volunteers took so we can upload those digital images into PastPerfect as well.
I’ve gained such an appreciation for the volunteers that completed these inventory forms, with Patty Brost, Harvey Steele, and Pat Walker doing the vast majority of them. The dates on the forms show they worked week after week, so getting their hard work into digital forms we can more readily use feels like we are honoring their efforts once again. My hat is off to these and all our volunteers that have helped with this project! If you are feeling left out and would like to help, get in touch here!