art, what we do

Well, Boy Howdy, It’s Been A Month

All kinds of things going on here at the AAC, so I’ve fallen down on the job of blogging and I just couldn’t get back up till now.

For those who want to know what it’s like to work in a 2-person library/archive, here you go…just imagine all of the things I’m about to mention happening simultaneously:

Snowden Becker was here for a month, working on our 8mm and 16mm film.  She re-cored and rehoused 80 reels, showed me how to do it, and taught a well-attended workshop to Colorado-based archivists.  Also, baked some great cupcakes.

Snowden worked away in the corner of the little-used mailroom that I have targeted for a stealth take-over for conservation use.  While she slaved, I tidied up to get ready for delivery of 200 framed photographic prints, which will double our collection of framed stuff.  While we initially had budgeted a reasonable amount to create a new storage system for said stuff, it has now been determined that we will make one out of fencing materials and chewing gum.  I’ve been working with the team to design one – and will post to PADG once we’ve got something useful. Thanks to all from that list who made suggestions!

I also purchased a small book press, which expands my conservation lab to include more than just a canvas bag full of bone folders and PVAc.  See above – stealth takeover of space.

Gary and I, with the help of some dedicated volunteers, moved and rearranged 4 storage areas worth of archives to prepare for construction of a new rare book room. The new room will eventually contain the 30,000 rare and scarce books donated to us by a private collector, which will start to arrive in a couple of months.  As you can see, I take a hands-on approach to our renovation projects!

In the midst of the chaos, I found some paperwork which suggests that we have some valuable artwork hiding in storage, so now seemed a good time to get an inventory, and seek appraisal and authentication.  This past week was spent moving and unpacking paintings that had been stored in horrible conditions since the library was moved from New York 15 years ago. 

Turns out, we’ve got two large Gabriel Loppe oils, one Colin Campbell Cooper in poor condition, 3 Belmore Browns, and possibly some Turners.  Who knew?  No one, apparently.  See some of them on our Flickr page.

I submitted a grant for the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf the first month I got here, and the books just arrived.  They’ve been quite handy.  I have spent quite a bit of time with A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, as we are working on a fairly block-buster-ish maps exhibit.  We will have some incredible maps from a private collector, as well as a modern maps component supported by National Geographic.

Let’s see, what else…Oh, yeah, got the comments back on our NHPRC Basic Archives grant, and getting ready to submit that on the first of the month.  Part of the grant will address our institutional archives, which are disorganized.  I’ve been attempting to plow through them to find information about the paintings, and have found many interesting tidbits in the process.  F’rinstance, the 1916 letter inaugurating the Association of Mountaineering Clubs of North America – nice timing, since we’re having that gathering in the building in two weeks.

While one of our volunteers has been lollygagging around in Alaska, I’ve been working with the other two on a multitude of ever-expanding projects.  More images have been uploaded to Flickr, including the first of the lantern slides. The summit registers are now organized enough that we can answer research requests.  You can see one of the volunteers, Adam, has been working overtime on the issue of preventing route guides from being lost while checked out and used by our patrons:

He’s drilled a hole through one of his books (not ours!) and hooked it to his harness with a carabiner.  Hmmmm – maybe that would keep the books from plunging down mountains and being returned to us a little dinged and dusty….

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m busy meeting with potential donors, meeting with the fundraising committee to answer the ever popular question “how can the library generate revenue” (see HERE for a nice answer), getting PastPerfect and an accessioning procedure up and running, and all the daily operations of a library.  Whew!  I wonder what’ll happen next month?  Oh… right, we’ve got climbing conferences coming up…The International Climber’s Meet, The Craggin’ Classic, and the International Editors of Climbing Journals and Websites conference – all in October, about the same time the new compact shelving arrives!  Never a dull moment in this job.