Have you ever wondered what it’s like to move a museum collection?
I spent the summer interning at the Gilcrease Museum in their anthropology collections department. The Gilcrease is moving their anthropology collection from temporary storage into a new, permanent storage area. The old storage space was renovated floor to ceiling and then state of the art compact storage units were installed.
I am so thankful I had the opportunity to handle and learn about these interesting artifacts, as well as what it takes to move an entire collection. We performed a multitude of different tasks whilst moving the collection. There is a certain amount of “grunt work” involved, but even that taught me a lot. I helped clean the new storage as well as sealing boxes of artifacts to be frozen, to kill unwanted pests before being moved into the new storage area. The best way to keep pests out of new storage is to keep them from hitching a ride. The second picture above shows me and some of the other anthropology collection employees moving the very first item, a rug, into the new collection. We moved the Gilcrease’s textile collection in the new storage area, inventorying everything as we went.
Beyond sealing and helping to move objects and boxes, I helped to rehouse and reorganize objects, according to culture or location. I handled some very interesting and unique objects. The third photo shows a beautiful, intricate plate from the collection. I also helped to rehouse baskets, hats, moccasins, among other items.
I really enjoyed my time at the Gilcrease. I was impressed with the depth and variety of their anthropology collection as well as what they taught me about working in collections. I am excited to continue interning with the Gilcrease in the anthropology collections in the fall!
Museum Science and Management Student Lacey Faulkner