37 Slices
Medium 9781538101391

A Case for Digital Collections

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

A Case for Digital Collections
Sheila A. BrennanDirector of Strategic Initiatives and Research Associate Professor, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, sbrennan@gmu.eduVisitors to a “modern museum” in the late 19th and early 20th century found large glass cases filled with objects that encouraged them to look. According to Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, museums were considered educational places, because objects held inherent meaning and spoke through the art of curation. Curators carefully selected objects and appropriate cases to communicate meaning through arrangement, order, and appearance.1 Objects came from a museum’s eclectic collections that were the products of wealthy collectors’ personal tastes or evidence of empire building and conquest of nature, peoples, and places.Learning from things and making emotional connections with objects continues today inside museums and throughout popular culture. David Thelen and Roy Rosenzweig found in The Presence of the Past that many Americans trust the history they encounter in museums, and especially enjoy the opportunity to interpret objects on their own terms—even when many history museums mediate those experiences through exhibitions.2 On American reality television shows, such as American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and Antiques Roadshow, objects found in barns, closets, and attics outshine the costars. Each object means one thing to its owner, and something different to its prospective buyer. Even antique shop owners, who rely on the consumer capitalist side of object collecting, talk openly about emotional connections to objects as a means for attracting customers, claiming, “You can feel the history in most items in the shop.”3 This intensely personal experience can also overshadow the power of these everyday objects to communicate multiple meanings.

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Medium 9781442276147

Afterword

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

AfterwordExploring the Smithsonian Institution Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterChristine RosenfeldWe hope that the articles in this focus issue of the journal Collections: A Journal for Museum & Archives Professionals have given readers firsthand perspectives on a range of strategies employed, experiences fulfilled, and opportunities seized by all authors and their collaborators at the Smithsonian Institution and beyond in creating the robust crowdsourcing project known as the Transcription Center (TC). It is clear that planning and experimenting have prepared units, representatives, and volunteers alike to benefit from serendipitous moments of discovery. In case it was minimized, we would also like to emphasize the gratitude that unit representatives, the project coordinator, and the development team have for the seemingly endless enthusiasm, curiosity, and generosity of volunteers.The Smithsonian Institution mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” binds together a cluster of goals, strategies, objectives, and everyday tactics. The Smithsonian’s mission can guide the work of staff, supported with the values of discovery, excellence, diversity, integrity, and service. However, what else is necessary to carry out that mission in the 21st century? Creativity. Collaboration. Breaking out and improving workflows. Learning from one another in the process. With the work to create and sustain the TC and the activity of volunteers in the TC, this crowdsourcing project is actively carrying out the vision of the Smithsonian Institution in “shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world” (http://www.si.edu/About/Mission).

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Medium 9781538104118

Call for Papers and Proposals

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Diane Bruxvoort

University of Aberdeen

Diane Bruxvoort joined the University of Aberdeen’s Library, Special Collections and Museums as university librarian and director in the spring of 2014. Before this, she was the senior associate dean serving as deputy to the dean of Libraries at the University of Florida with responsibility for collections, acquisitions, cataloguing, public services, digital services, and special collections. Previously, Bruxvoort worked at the University of Houston Libraries for 10 years starting as the head of Access Services and ending her time there as the associate dean for Collections. While at Houston, she provided leadership for a major building program, led the transition to electronic access to journals, and affected a major redesign of the library website.

Before moving into academic libraries, she spent 17 years working in public libraries in and around Houston, Texas. Bruxvoort is president of the Library Leadership, Administration, and Management Division of the American Library Association.

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Medium 9781442277229

Paradoxes of Belonging in Peru’s National Museums

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub
Blenda FemeníasUniversity of Maryland University College, Department of Social Sciences, Adelphi, Maryland, blenda.femenias@umuc.eduAbstract This article examines the establishment of Peru’s national museums in the first half of the 20th century. I address the ways that art, archaeology, and anthropology intertwined in the collection of objects and the creation of buildings in which to house them. In addressing commemorative events, especially the Centennial of Independence, I argue that the performative practices of memory building depended on the creation of an idea of unity that, paradoxically, emphasized differences attributed largely to race and origin. Thus, the state’s efforts to hegemonize the past by appropriating Inca and earlier pre-Columbian cultures as Peruvian were both supported and challenged by elite vanguard artists and intellectuals who shaped the new national museums along with the concept of patrimony. In particular, I focus on the National Museum of Popular Culture, addressing the seminal role of artist José Sabogal and his circle, within the broader contexts of Peruvian and Latin American indigenismo. See All Chapters
Medium 9781442276147

Inviting Engagement, Supporting Success

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Inviting Engagement, Supporting SuccessHow to Manage a Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterProject Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center, ferriterm@si.eduAbstract This article lists and examines the practical considerations and proven approaches for managing a participatory project focusing on transcription of digitized materials and engagement with the public. Using the Smithsonian Transcription Center as a case study, this article offers tested techniques to prepare for transcription, training and resources, appealing to volunteers with specific communication tactics, and tracking challenges. In addition, this article addresses the ways in which volunteers serve important roles as peers in this crowdsourcing effort and thus serve as “volunpeers” or volunteers/peers where communication between all participants is grounded in trust and collaboration. Throughout the article, where possible, suggestions for scaling based on resources, materials, objectives, and time scales are included.

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