Friday, January 21, 2011
This posting describes the first few days of my practicum in the Clarence B. Hanson Library in the Birmingham Museum of Art. A link to the library Web site can be found here. For those readers who do not know me or my background, I am a graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Southern Mississippi. I have a background in art, and I have worked in libraries. It is my ultimate hope to combine these passions by one day working as an art librarian in a museum or gallery. This practicum will provide me with valuable experiences that could be used as a starting point towards this goal.
For my practicum I am working with the museum librarian, Tatum Preston, in the development of the museum archive. The archive is somewhat incomplete, as it had not been properly maintained for several years. I began my first week by familiarizing myself with both the museum collection, and the materials to be included in the archive. In addition to this, Ms. Preston secured a state funded grant to assist with the archives project, and the two of us attended a mandatory workshop at the Alabama Department of Archives and History as required for the funds. The workshop described basic archival processes, and offered information that could be used to develop an archive. The workshop also included a brief tour of the Alabama State Archives.
As a starting point for this project, I examined all the boxes of material that are to be archived. The boxes containing written reviews and newspaper articles seemed to outnumber the other items, so I began by sorting these publications. The majority of these texts describe exhibitions the museum presented, however there are a few other pieces of literature that describe the museum in general. Other items I have yet to sort include exhibition catalogs, artist files, and several scrapbooks. These items are all out of order, and sorting them seems like a logical starting point.