Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, January 2, 2016

End of Year Cleanup

One of the best gifts I got for Christmas this year was a vase of fake flowers for my desk. You see, I'm not allowed to have fresh flowers in my office. (Actually, I always feel sort of strange saying that I'm "not allowed" as if it is cruelly banned by some order on high. Us collections folks put that rule on ourselves.  We are obsessed with keeping bugs out of the collection, and so we self-impose a no food and no fresh flowers policy in our office space.) So my parents bought me a lovely vase of fake flowers.

One requirement of the gift was that I clean off my work desk to make room for them. I have a problem of allowing mountains of papers to pile up on my desk, and since last year I was sick on New Year's Eve for my usual year-end desk clean-off day, I had TWO YEARS worth of desk piles to go through this year.

But I got through it and oh man did it feel good. I love the last two weeks of the year. It is a quiet time to just wrap up a lot of loose ends and get stuff done. Besides cleaning off my desk I...

Put away about 40 hats that had been inventoried but not yet put in boxes

Finished processing all the 2015 clothing and textile accessions

Best moment for that was when I was going through some items from the 1990 Goodwill games and was using my friend EB (who was a Russian major) to help translate the text on a shirt that had been purchased from a vendor at the games. Here is paraphrased version of our text conversation:

Me: Can I get some help with some Russian translation?
EB: Yes!
Me: [Sends photo of patches on shoulders]
Me: It is a sailor-style shirt that looks very official. So maybe the word is "Navy" or "Security"?
EB: Umm....I think it says "Fish Farm"

(We eventually figured out that it was an abbreviation for the Ministry of Fisheries)

Finished a super exciting data cleanup project that a volunteer and I have been chipping away at for over a year

Wrapped up some loose ends from the shoe project

There were some random socks and spats that had been found on the shelves which needed to be moved to different places, and there were two pairs of thigh-high boots which I hadn't figured out what to do with yet.

The shafts of the boots (yes, that is what it is called) were very fabric-y so rather than stuff them like tall leather boots, I stuffed the feet and then rolled the tops of the boots into neat little bundles.

Found some interesting stuff on my messy desk

On a page of random notes from something I attended in 2015 I found the following message:

"A necessary first step to grandeur is a delusion of grandeur"

I've decided to make that my motto for 2016.

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