Claire Solak ’13, Small Fellow in Museum Studies
This week started much the same as the other two. I received some corrections for a traveling exhibit text that I drafted last week and made those changes. I also started and finished a traveling exhibit on civil rights (lower case) in Iowa beginning with the Iowa Territory and working my way forward.
Wednesday I started working on the exhibit I am there to work on, called “Only One.” The premise of the exhibit is to showcase photographs in which there is one African American and build context around those photographs using depictions of African Americans in advertisements, toys, and other items. On Wednesday, the “Only One” advisory board (consisting of our museum representatives, someone from the Johnson County Historical Society (JCHS), and relevant community members) met to discuss progress that had been made, review and vote on photographs, and talk about steps moving forward. I got to meet one of the other interns working on the “Only One” project through the museum. At this point, it sounds like JCHS and the museum are doing slightly different things. Because the museum is specifically focused on African Americans, we will only showcase photos of African Americans. Because JCHS caters to all of Johnson County, it is proposed that they include photos where a minority (not necessarily an African American) is the only one. I think JCHS is dependent mostly on photographs and oral histories rather than objects the way we are so there will be two similar exhibits that take their own flavor.
Before that meeting I went through all of the photos the museum is interested in using and organized them chronologically with captions. Thursday, I spent the day researching those photographs as much as I could. Friday, I went through all of the scans of photographs to see if there were any that we would benefit from having in the exhibit. I also got to put on gloves and go through the flat files to see if there were any objects in there that would make a good addition to the exhibit. The flat files are artifacts that should lay flat such as posters, large photographs, full newspaper clippings and plates, sheet music and full page advertisements.
Highlights and things I’ve learned:
- I really enjoy working with collection items and actual objects. Going through the large files on Friday was quite fun.
- Sometimes, the internet will fail you. It will give you false information or not have the information you need at all.
I loved going through the files on Friday. I would like to see what else Lynn does, but I’m thinking I might want to go to graduate school for museum studies, specifically for curating. I think that would be loads of fun.