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Aug 03

Week 9 – July 30-August 3

Monday, 7/30:

While the pants continue for another week, we are actually almost done with them. Being able to use the foam rods instead of custom carving and sewing inserts makes the work go much faster and each of us on the team can easily go through multiple pairs of pants in a day.

That being said, there are still a few more pairs to finish today! The straps on this pair were stiffer than previous pairs I had worked on. So I used longer rods at the top to help weigh them down a little more to keep them in place. Where the back straps crossed, it wasn’t laying straight anymore so I sandwiched it between 2 pieces of volara tied together with twill tape to encourage them to lie flat in storage.

Tuesday, 7/31:

Since the pants are basically done, we are moving onto suits. The team discussed the best way to deal with them because many of these suits were lined with very delicate fur. A conservator was consulted for a number of the objects to advise us on the best way to proceed.

You may recognize one ongoing project:

Work on Roscoe Turner’s jacket because parts of it are very delicate and already has some fur loss in areas. Our fur conservator wanted us to be extra cautious given its value. Katherine did the majority of the work. She created foam boards with a shelf so that the sides of the jacket would not be touching each other at all but only a tyveked surface. I helped by sewing the tyvek on since Katherine was gone this morning.

Wednesday, 8/1:

Today was cross training day. The CCPF and GMT interns had spent so long with their respective teams that our supervisor thought it was time we experienced the other side (of the building).

Megan and I trained with the CCPF surveying and rehousing team while Lizzie and Patrick went over to the GMT side to begin working on suits.

CCPF was trying to correct improper housing done years ago as well as survey the objects so there was a recent condition report on file in TMS before they moved to Hazy. So they are currently working with objects that may not move for another year or more. The way most of the objects had been housed was definitely in need of improvement. Many objects were in regular cardboard boxes that had been secured with large metal staples. Definitely not archival quality and the objects were at risk of being damaged by the staples!

An object would be taken out of its storage box. Any original packaging would be saved and original tags would be scanned. Then under a table light, they would examine the object. The majority of these objects were fairly small with very incomplete TMS records. So it was up to the responsible surveyor to measure it, record all its materials, marks, and include a condition report. The condition report was not meant to be a full report like a conservator would make but a paragraph describing its condition, a general condition number assigned, and pictures taken of any problem areas. I can tell you that these are invaluable when we are packing an object to move since it warns us of any problem areas and by comparing the object to the report we can see if its condition has changed or worsened.

This plastic bloom will be going in the report!

It isn’t the intern’s responsibility to survey objects¬†but it was interesting to see each surveyor’s process. In the afternoon I did what their interns normally do, rehouse objects. After it is surveyed, it is put aside for an intern to rehouse. Since the objects vary so widely, custom boxes are made and interior supports to keep it secure in its box. Of course blue board and hot glue is used to construct the new boxes, no regular cardboard or staples here. We also made lids for the boxes since they are staying at Garber for the time being and will be housed on open shelves, not within cabinets.

Thursday, 8/2:

Thursday was another day of intern touring, this time at the Library of Congress. We began the tour with an introductory video before heading off with the docent responsible for the SI intern group. The tour was throughout the main sections of the Jefferson Building and included the Great Hall, the Main Reading Room, and explanations of the history of the institution and its various decorative motifs throughout the building.

After the official tour, we visited the special exhibits that included Exploring the Americas and Books that Shaped America. The Garber interns and myself then went to another building to register for our LOC research cards. Hopefully this will come in handy for the upcoming school year. This tour plus lunch took longer than expected and it was already into the afternoon by the time we were finished. The shuttle schedule from downtown to Garber can be very awkward so by the time we caught the next shuttle and returned to Garber, we would only have had an hour to work before the day was done. So we received permission to continue touring downtown.

I picked the Anderson House which is home to the Society of the Cincinnati and is a historic house museum in the Dupont area. I had been meaning to visit it for some time so jumped at the chance to take the interns there. Megan, Patrick, and Lizzie are all from out of town so the majority of their touring had been museums on the Mall and other more well-known tourist attractions.

Anderson House Ballroom

Friday, 8/3:

This morning was another open house held downtown for all SI interns. This one was hosted by the Office of Facilities Engineering and Operations (OFEO). I wasn’t sure what to expect but it advertised designing and constructing SI facilities, infrared equipment, airborne ultrasound, vibration analysis, SI sustainability efforts, disaster management, personnel security. and physical security. I will admit that that is a list I have very little experience or knowledge of any of it so I was intrigued to see what the presentations would teach me. Megan, Lizzie, and myself attended.

It was a very different setup than I was expecting, I thought it would be more formal presentations/lectures like the Career Fair had been but it was tables set up for each of the listed topics. I actually got a lot out of this event and was very pleasantly surprised and glad I went. Each staffer was very passionate to share their expertise and unlike the Career Fair, there were no lines so each person had the opportunity to speak at greater length about their job.

Highlights included:

  • learning about the levels of security used in collections facilities, I had some practical knowledge of this but I learned a lot more about how many levels there were.
  • another security officer regaled me with stories of escorting NMAH’s ruby slippers to a taping of Oprah’s show and the Hope Diamond to NYC.
  • meeting with project managers for current SI construction projects like the Arts and Industry Building and the Cooper-Hewitt in NYC.
  • meeting with someone from the Vertical Transportation Branch who installed a fear of escalators in me by regaling in his horror stories while on the job and showing us pictures of injuries and examples of destroyed shoes.

Overall a very insightful look into different operational positions that I previously had little to none knowledge of.

After lunch, we went back to Garber to continue working on suits from earlier in the week.

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