Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hat Inventory: Second Verse, Same As The First

A few weeks ago I posted about the completion of the shoe inventory and the emotional roller coaster it put me through. Well now that is officially DONE and so it's on to the hats!

But basically, the hat inventory is the same agony and ecstasy of the shoes. There is lots of: "Oh wow, I just touched it and all the feathers started falling off, well hopefully it won't have a local crap...MacDougall-Southwick, Seattle" and "Geez Frederick & Nelson seemed to make a lot of hats with black netting." But there are some additional complicating factors that the shoes didn't have.

Two years ago, the hats were the focus of a frantic moth-related bag-and-contain project. Since then, they have basically just been chillin' in their archival plastic prisons, waiting to be checked for bugs and stored more appropriately. So while it is exciting to finally begin working on them, it means lots of additional steps above and beyond the basic inventory procedure.

Regular inventory is instant gratification--you pull a box off the shelf, discover a bunch of cool stuff you've never seen before, put the box back, and start on the next shelf. But now it's like-- oh hey, before you put those back on the shelf and move on to the next exciting discoveries, you need to check them for bug evidence, decide which ones to freeze, pack the ones for freezing, do some vacuuming, build boxes or pack them in existing boxes, make labels...

Plus I'm moving a bunch of hats off shelves that should be for shoes, and discovering boxes of hats in odd places, and since the official hat shelves are already packed full I'm not sure where everything is going to go...

Big projects always start like this though-- at the beginning you haven't figured out a system and you also haven't done enough to see any satisfying results. Right now it just feels like I am making an even bigger mess. But I have faith that we'll figure out a system and soon I'll be encouraged by the sight of happy hats in boxes on completed shelves.

Dance In The Textile Room Like No One's Watching

Bonus feature: I was previously convinced that I had identified the ugliest hat in the collection. I've already found several which may be strong contenders for the title. Stay tuned.

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