At my first week of my internship at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, I was given a brief overview of the collection, the exhibit space, the archives, and the general day to day activities that the curator preformed there. We began our work by fulfilling a small project for Proctor and Gamble, who reached out to the Museum for small exhibits featuring photos and information about prominent black historical figures from the Wyoming Valley.
As we continued the project on into the next week, and I assisted in putting together the photographs and information for the exhibit posters, which included scanning, printing, and arranging the items. I also learned more about the history of prominent black families from the area and on their individual communities. After we had finished the project, we moved onto parts of the collection that are displayed in the exhibit area.
The remainder of the second week following into the third week, I learned more about proper artifact care. We discussed how to properly handle artifacts, such as where to support them when picking them up, when to wear gloves, and how to clean the artifacts. In order to prepare for the museums reopening in the spring, we had to ensure that the artifacts in the exhibit space were cleaned.
I had the opportunity to work on many different artifacts, like a sculpture, machinery, and textiles. Proper care had to go into cleaning the artifacts, and it must be done gently. In order to prevent any damage to the items, I had to ensure that any built up dust from being on display was removed. This is to make sure that moisture is not attracted to any of the artifacts, which would cause rust or rot to occur. I also learned how to properly clean textiles, which is even more delicate than cleaning machinery.
My first few weeks served as a wonderful introduction to much of the work that a curator does; collection care and public outreach are very important in that profession, which is something I saw at the Anthracite Heritage Museum.