Friday, April 22, 2011
This will be the final posting for this journal/blog. It has been a wonderful semester. I learned much about the creation of archives and the day-to-day operation of an art library. I have enjoyed my time at the Hanson Library and will remember this experience fondly.
Through my coursework I had read about archival organization and description, but it is one thing to read about it, and quite another to experience it first hand. When I first arrived and started to go through the boxes, it was fascinating to discover what I would find next. The documents, correspondence, ephemeral items, and exhibition catalogs all told a different story but added up to reveal the complete history of the Birmingham Museum of Art. Prior to this experience I have never lived in Birmingham, or indeed Alabama. But reflection on working with this archive has given me an understanding of this organization and how it fits within the greater community of the city of Birmingham. From the struggles of the Birmingham Art Association in the early 20th Century to create an art museum, through the current stresses of updating the museum Web Site in the 21st, this institution would not thrive without the people providing an energy and a life source. People are at the core of libraries, museums and archives, and it is this human factor which has the greatest significance in communicating history and intellectual development.
Brandi and I did not get the full archive into the finding aid. We processed a total of about 13 boxes. However, Ms. Preston has assured me that this is OK, as she has a continuous body of library student interns each semester. I hope that they continue what we have started, and have as positive an experience as I did.