What Does One Do in Collections?

I think this is a valid question and one I was most eager to ask Monique about when I interviewed her. I was really interested in learning what some of her responsibilities were at the Portsmouth Historical Society.  She was mainly responsible for updating object files in their database. The Portsmouth Historical Society uses Past Perfect to catalog their collection. What does updating files include? The list below should give you a good idea of the work that Monique was doing this past summer!

  • Completing object condition reports
  • Finding object donor information
  • Object measurements and description
  • Updating current locations of objects in the database
  • Adding objects to the database
Above is a silk parade badge from the late 19th century. Just one of the interesting things found in the textile collection. To learn more about the collections at the John Paul Jones house, click here.

Above is a silk parade badge from the late 19th century. Just one of the interesting things found in the textile collection. To learn more about the collections at the John Paul Jones house, click here.

 

I asked her what the biggest challenge was when working with the collection. Here’s what she had to say:

“The biggest challenge hands down was figuring out the donors for objects. Donations came in from the early to mid 1900s and on and they were not recorded as well as they could have been. I had to go through a shoe box of cards as well as a few old binders to find the donor. I based my search off of the type of object or an old accession number. Often the searches would not be fruitful which was disheartening.”

 

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