a curator’s quest

23 11 2008


Two years and $85 million dollars later, the Smithsonian just re-opened. I heard a story this week about the what it meant to organize all the doo-daas that represent so much of our nation’s collective history. This is how pack rats make a profession out of their bounty. I’m all over that.

I had some brief windows of time throughout the week to work through some small boxes. It is important for curators to be fully awake and careful in their assessment of items. As a content specialist, it is my responsibility to carefully examine each object and to determine just how it reflects the history of the culture.

The small item displayed above is rather nondescript on one side. As I turned it over I laughed out loud. It was so Billy’s eye to see faces in rocks and clouds. So this little buddy above is being cataloged for a place in the museum.

Next was the mystery bottle. I’ve learned to shake, open and dump before disposing. How did I know it was an address bottle? If you had sent him a card in the last who knows how long…the return address was carefully snipped and filed for future reference.

Which brings me to my last point. For the price of a latte…stop at the next greeting card display you see, find something appropriate, get a stamp for 42 cents, find your address bottle and shake out the right name and number, transfer the information and drop it in a mail box.

E-mailing is so much easier for us. Facebook even better…but there are lots of grandmas and grandpas out there that aren’t techno-savy. And a little piece of cardboard wrapped in a little piece of paper with the appropriate letters and number scrawled across the front will arrive at their door and bring happy smiles to their stoney faces.




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