This week I have been continuing finding keywords among COVID-19 stories from Lackawanna County residents, and I am almost finished with the adult portion of the questionnaires. In addition to the COVID-19 stories, I have also been putting in web descriptions for a large collection at Eckley Miners Village in the Argus database.
In my meeting with John this week we discussed the process that the museum goes through when they receive object donations. When someone wants to donate an object, the museum must decide if it is worth putting in the collection. They must consider if it aligns with their mission statement, if that object would be unique or if they have others that are similar to it, etc. If the museum wants the object, there is a system of checks and balances that the museum must go through. Once this process is completed and the object is approved, the object is assigned an accession number and is entered into the collection.
We also discussed what deaccessioning an artifact is like. Deaccessioning occurs when there is either too many of the same object, if the object poses a threat towards humans, if the object is deteriorating past the point of conservation efforts, or if it is decided that the object no longer aligns with the institution’s mission statement. If the institution decides to deaccession an object, they must contact the donor and let them know, because the museum agreed to care for the object once it was in their possession. Deaccessioning could either lead to the museum donating it to another institution, or, if the object is in bad condition and it is no longer recognizable or functional, it must be destroyed and disposed of. I thought that it was interesting that it needs to be destroyed before being disposed of, but it is to prevent somebody from finding the object and trying to resell it or keep it for personal use.
This semester has gone by so fast but I am very happy that I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with AHM. I have definitely learned many new things. I still have a couple weeks left with them, so I’m excited to see what else there is to learn!