Thursday, March 27, 2008

WW II military technology: electrically heated flyers’ jacket

Shown at right, the silky, dark olive jacket from World War II illustrates the ingenuity of military innovation playing out even today in space-age and consumer technology.

Among historical artifacts found at the old Cleveland County, N. C., courthouse building, the jacket is labeled as property of the U. S. Air Force, made by General Electric, and a part of the F-3 electrically-heated suit issued to pilots and their crew members. Laced throughout are wires such as might now be found in heating pads and electric blankets. A plug extends from the bottom front to connect to similarly wired trousers, which connected to wired shoe inserts.

This jacket was donated to the former historical museum in 1982 along with many other items by Ruth Spangler. Its specific history is not immediately known. (If you know about this or other such flight jackets, we'd love to hear from you.) However, the role of the electrically heated suit is well documented in the history of U. S. units flying fabled planes such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator in strategic bombing of European industrial and military targets. (See military history and research.

The heated suits were developed in response to a severe problem: frostbite in the frigid winter skies at the 25,000-30,000 feet optimum for heavy bombers. Until the military figured out how to deal with the cold, more flight crewmen were suffering frostbite than were being wounded by enemy gunfire.

The F-3 outerwear suit evolved from earlier versions worn as underwear and not as satisfactory. An earlier suit was wired in series, and if one wire failed, the entire suit did. And breakage of fine wires through wear and tear was common.

As one flyer wrote: “…the electric suits had ‘hot spots’ in them. After a while they would burn under the armpits and behind the knees and elbows and they had to be turned off until those areas cooled. And by the time they cooled the rest of you was shivering. So you would fly missions in an electric suit turning it on and off and on and off all the way out and back.”

The F-3 suit was wired in parallel to prevent the entire suit from failing if one wire broke, and that one modification is said to have improved the suit’s reliability more than 75 percent.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Civil War drum: the beat of history

The old drum stood in a dark corner of the second floor at the former Cleveland County, N. C., courthouse building, artifact of the historical museum once housed there. Volunteers cataloguing the artifacts could find no identification number on it. Without that, its history couldn’t be immediately looked up in the former museum’s accession registers.

Volunteer Ned Cash (left) took on the job of classifying and documenting the artifact. A percussionist himself, he could virtually hear the sound of the old drum even though its drumheads are long gone, its barrel gouged, and its fittings in disarray. He pointed out the drumsticks (right), explaining how one made big booms and the other quick and light.

And he had the nudging feeling that somewhere he’d heard about an old drum such as this, quite likely through his work with the Broad River Genealogical Society. His day at the old courthouse done, he researched further and made some calls.

Back came his report: “It was Alexander Norton Harmon’s drum,” Ned said. “He was field drummer in Company G of the 49th Regiment of the North Carolina Infantry during the Civil War. It was donated by his grandson, Earl Harmon.” And the old drum suddenly had stories to share.

Alexander Harmon, the sixth of eight children of Mr. and Mrs. Heywood Harmon, was born in 1845 in the Kings Mountain, N. C., area. So he must have been less than 20 years old when he enlisted in Company G of the 49th Regiment formed in March 1862. The company was called the “Kings Mountain Tigers,” and it functioned as a part of the regiment throughout the war.

According to regimental history, the 49th “fought with the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days’ Battles to Fredericksburg….[I]t was active at Drewry’s Bluff and Cold Harbor, took its place in the Petersburg trenches south of the James River, and saw action around Appomattox. This regiment lost 14 killed, 75 wounded, and 16 missing at Malvern Hill, had 16 killed and 61 wounded during the Maryland Campaign, and had 9 wounded at Fredericksburg. Many were disabled at Sayler’s Creek, and it surrendered 11 officers and 95 men on April 9, 1865.”

Ned heard the story of young Alexander’s coming home on a train after the war. With a crowd of troops there was no room inside the train for his drum. Determined to keep it with him, Alexander tied the drum onto a ledge on the back of the train. And thanks to that ingenuity, it survives today in the historical old county courthouse.

Alexander Harmon died in 1914 and is buried at El Bethel Methodist Church cemetery near Kings Mountain.

Vivid information about field drums and the unique role of drummers and other musicians in Union and Confederate armies is available at the Web site of the Gettysburg National Military Park. A sample:

“Each company in an infantry regiment had a musician who was usually a drummer,” the Web site says. “They were relied upon to play drum beats to call the soldiers into formation and for other events. Drums got the soldiers up in the morning, signaled them to report for morning roll call, sick call, and guard duty. Drummers also played at night to signal lights out or 'taps.' The most important use of drums was on the battlefield where they were used to communicate orders from the commanding officers and signal troop movement.”

Would you like to hear how the old drum might have sounded? The Civil War Fife and Drum Page contains a schedule and sound clips of daily calls sounded by musicians in military camps. The site also has details and diagrams of drum construction.

Contributors: Pat Poston and Ned Cash

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vintage cosmetic case stirs imagination… know the story?

Volunteer Jo Ann Surratt, right, catalogs a Studio Girl Hollywood cosmetic sample case donated in the 1970s to the former local history museum by Thelma W. Gunthorpe of Shelby, N. C., before her death. It's one of numerous items she gave.

“I am proud to be an accredited Studio Girl Hollywood beauty advisor,” says a card inside the partitioned alligator-grained case. The case holds samples of lipstick, liquid and cream rouge, eyeshadow, liquid makeup, and more. There’s an order book inside to write down sales made.

Was Ms. Gunthorpe the saleslady at some time in the past? Was she relied on by neighbors and friends to help them stay stylish?

Various histories of the cosmetics industry recount trends including home sales during the 1940s and 1950s as women joined the work force and movies (later television) influenced makeup styles. Not much information seems available for Studio Girl, a brand (for which singer/actress Doris Day was a spokesperson) acquired in 1960 by Helene Curtis, which was in turn acquired in 1996 by Unilever.

If you have information about Ms. Gunthorpe or Studio Girl cosmetics, we’d love to hear from you and share it! Please click on Comments below to get in touch with us.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Perspective: Bustling about at the old courthouse

In my time I’ve worn shoulder pads quarterback Jake Delhomme would envy, so I don’t fault our foremothers for their bustles. It’s just that I had never actually seen an underpinning such as the two artifacts (shown here) being catalogued by another volunteer at our workday recently at the old courthouse building.

Busy with my own work, I didn’t have a chance then to examine them closely, but the thought occurred they seemed a little narrow to fit across one’s…ah…beam. Perhaps they’re panniers, I mused.

Precursor to the bustle and immensely popular in England and France in the mid-1700s, panniers were attached at the sides of one’s hips, sort of like side baskets (and indeed some had pockets for carrying things). For reasons I can’t fathom, women piled on bigger and bigger panniers to have wider and wider hips, with one outcome the development of French doors and broad staircases so women could get about. (I am not making this up.)

The artifacts in the courthouse didn’t look like any pannier I found in an Internet search – even a look at items the U. S. Patent Office classifies as “distenders.” But I did learn a lot about bustles, hoops, and other antique undergarments.

I found, for example, that prestigious museums, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, take them very seriously as part of costume and art history. Erudite thematic essays on the Met’s Web site, such as “Eighteenth Century Silhouette and Support,” tell of the fashion evolution. And the great Victoria & Albert South Kensington Museum in Great Britain devotes Web pages to the path from crinolines to corset, bustle and beyond.

So returning to the courthouse on a subsequent workday I took a closer look at our bustle artifacts. They were donated in 1981 by Howard and Alice Ward along with several other vintage clothing items. The larger bustle indeed had printing on its waist strap: The Health Braided Wire Bustle. Patented Jan. 19, 1886… and a maker and patent number I couldn’t decipher.

With this additional information in hand, I researched again. Eureka! There on the Web site of a British antique clothing shop was a a bustle just like ours. It’s described as dating from the late 1800s and made from criss-crossed wire allowing one’s back to “breathe.” But in fact, the site says, “most women just wore it with their old bustles to bulk up the size, making their backsides even bigger!”

It’s true that our bustles here in Cleveland County are not quite as fancy as some models. The V & A Museum reports:

The New Phantom bustle, dating from about 1884, had a special feature. The steel wires are attached to a pivot so that they folded in on themselves on sitting down and sprang back when the wearer rose. A novelty bustle made to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations contained a less useful device. It was fitted with a musical box that played 'God Save the Queen' each time the wearer sat down.

On second thought, our bustles here will do just fine.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Holding history in her hands

Juanita (Nita) Evans Caldwell stood a little overcome, holding history in her hands Saturday, March 1, at the old county courthouse building in Shelby, N. C. In the box lined with acid-free paper was the 200-year-old, hand-stitched vest once worn by Martin Roberts….

The Martin Roberts born in Virginia who had enlisted in the Revolutionary War in 1776, fought at Trenton, Brandywine, Guilford Court House, and other historic battlefields. Who had nearly frozen to death at Valley Forge with 11,000 other Continental soldiers. Who had served General George Washington at his headquarters as forage master…

The same Martin Roberts who after the war established mercantile businesses in Philadelphia and Delaware before relocating with his family in the 1790s to rolling land in North Carolina acquired through land grants, in No. 6 Township of Cleveland County (part of Rutherford County at the time). He lived here nearly 40 years and, with cannon fire and meager rations far behind, had begun serving as a justice of the peace in 1813.

He was Nita’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. A Shelby native now living in Lincolnton, she had come home to help out on a workday for volunteers cataloguing historic artifacts stored in the old courthouse. She was aware the vest had been donated to the former museum by Elizabeth Roberts, another of his descendants.

And then there it was. A dignified-looking vest, such as a justice of the peace might wear. Extraordinary even hand-stitching firmly holding together after two centuries the welt pockets, the lining. Hand-covered buttons down the front.

What pictures it conjured up. And what mysteries. “Did my great-great-great-great-grandmother make it, you think? Did she take care of it, and wash and press it?”

Nita went home that evening and set out to get the details of Martin’s story down on paper. Click below to read it.

Contributor: Pat Poston

Martin Roberts: Soldier, Merchant, Farmer, Justice of the Peace

By Juanita (Nita) Evans Caldwell

Martin Roberts was born May 25, 1758, to Morris and Unity Martin Roberts in Chesterfield County, Va.

Martin fought in the Revolutionary War, first enlisting Feb. 5, 1776, at the Chesterfield County Court House in Virginia with Captain Ralph Falkner's Company, in the Fifth Virginia Regiment commanded by Col. Mulenburgh and Lieut. Col. Josiah Parker, in the Virginia Continental Line.

He participated in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, N. J., Brandywine, Del., and Germantown, Pa. He was also at Valley Forge where he nearly froze to death along with 11,000 other Continental soldiers. He was discharged Feb. 20, 1778, at or near Valley Forge, Pa.

On Aug.5, 1780, he reenlisted and was appointed forage master for Gen. George Washington at the general's headquarters. As forage master he participated in the Battle of Hagerstown, Md., and at the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781. He received his final discharge Aug. 1, 1782.

His military service put him in touch with the outside world, so to speak. So he went to Philadelphia, where he had participated in a battle, and “set in as a clerk in the mercantile business and remained there two years." About 1785, he moved to Delaware, another place he had fought during the war, where he and a friend, Enoch Wells, opened a store in Fast Landing (now Leipsic), a small town near Dover, Del. Here he met and married Elizabeth Durborow and they had three children: John, Martin Jr. and Lyndia, before selling out and moving to Rutherford (now Cleveland) County, N. C., where they were blessed with three more children: Patsy, James and Noah.

On July 16, 1796, Martin made entry for Land Grant No. 1909 which contained 200 acres located on the head branch of Shoal Creek in Rutherford (now Cleveland) County. On Sept. 28, 1799, he paid five pounds to the Treasury Office of North Carolina for the Grant, which was issued Dec. 16, 1799.

Then on July 16, 1801, he made entry for 80 acres of land lying on a branch of Hickory Creek which joined his own land. This Grant was issued Dec. 3, 1803.
In January 1813 he took the oath of office as Justice of the Peace.

Martin Roberts died Oct. 30, 1834, in Rutherford (now Cleveland) County. He is buried in a marked grave in the well maintained old Morris Roberts Cemetery on the Sweezy Farm in No. 6 Township of Cleveland County.

A piece of Martin Robert's clothing, a vest, is one of the many items that has been cataloged for storage at the old Cleveland County courthouse building in Shelby, N. C. Thanks to one of his descendants, Ms. Elizabeth Roberts, who donated it many years ago, a piece of history will live on.

This writer, Nita Caldwell a gggg granddaughter, had the rare opportunity to hold this 200 year old hand made vest in her hands while at the museum cataloging other items to be placed temporarily in storage.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mystery solved: Jack Palmer’s military gear

The volunteers cataloging historical artifacts at the old Cleveland County courthouse building in Shelby, N. C., at first couldn’t make sense of the nearly three dozen items of military clothing, insignia, and other gear donated years ago by William J. (Jack) Palmer.

For one thing, the clothing items seemed to come from two different wartimes. And unlike many of the other wrinkled uniforms donated for a local museum, these were starched, pressed to perfection, and neatly folded – not a spot on them.

So the volunteers telephoned Jack, 89, former Cleveland County commissioner for 12 years, former three-term representative in the N. C. General Assembly, and former owner of Palmer Mortuary in Shelby.

“We’ve been in your clothes all morning, Mr. Palmer,” they said in effect. “And we think you need to come down here and explain yourself.”

Jack came over from his home a few blocks away, in time to share the volunteers’ lunch of brought-in sandwiches. The old courthouse was familiar territory, given Jack’s years as a county commissioner and his earliest childhood in a home catty-cornered just across the intersection of Washington and Marion streets. He cleared up the mysteries.

Jack had served during two wartimes – World War II and the Korean War. And he had been associated with the Quartermaster Corps, the supply arm of the military responsible for ensuring troops have needed clothing, food, and other gear.

“You wouldn’t have been much of a supply officer if you weren’t a good scrounger,” Jack confessed. “And I have to say we always had plenty of clothes and looked pretty good.”

Or nearly always. He showed up in 1942 for Officers Candidate School at Camp Lee, Va., wearing cavalry boots, campaign hat, riding britches and spurs. “Man, we have got to get you some clothes,” said the officer on duty.

Jack had arrived there from the 124th Cavalry Regiment of the Texas National Guard, in which he had enlisted following graduation in 1939 from the University of Houston in Texas (home state of his mother, the late Ellen Corbett Palmer). The regiment was subsequently activated as war clouds grew. His early service included guarding the border between El Paso and Brownsville.

“Well,” Jack said, “it was Texas and a cavalry unit. We had horses.”

But not automobiles, when he went from OCS to Kingman, Ariz., as a young officer in the quartermaster group serving the U. S. Air Force. Perhaps two or three of his buddies at the base had cars, but gasoline was hard to come by. Las Vegas was 110 miles north, and it had four casinos. So, said Jack, ever the scrounger, “we’d hitch rides on airplanes to get there.”

VE Day came on May 8, 1945, while he was at Kingman. He can always remember because May 8 is his birthday. Then he was at Travis Air Force Base in California, preparing to ship out to Japan, when World War II ended. At age 28, he finished his first term of active duty in 1946.

But the story doesn’t end there. Back in Shelby, he joined the 311th Station Hospital, a local reserve unit, transferring from the quartermaster corps to the medical service corps. On the roster with his were other familiar Cleveland County names, such as Dr. Craig Jones, who headed the unit, Jack Hunt, Charles Sperling, Ralph Mitchem….

The unit was activated in 1951 and sent to Fort Bragg, N. C. Jack was sent on to the war zone in Korea, serving 10 months there before returning home in 1952. He managed supplies for the military hospital in Pusan, a converted old school building receiving wounded from the battlefields.

Back home again in Shelby, Jack stayed in the military reserves and retired at age 60 as a lieutenant colonel.

Seeing his gear at the old courthouse brought back memories.

Jack held up a pair of pants in front of the big pier mirror that’s a fixture in the old Hall of Fame area being used as the volunteers’ workroom. “These might date back as far as the 1930s, “ he said. “You can tell by the buttons….” He recalled what a scramble it was in the 1940s as the military services heroically galvanized for war. “They were using every scrap of uniform they could find…even issuing us wool shirts in Texas.”

He folded the pants back neatly, smoothing out the creases.

This additional note to Jack’s many acquaintances: he’s still sharp as a tack.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Reflecting on breakfast in times past

Volunteer Marywinn Amaya of Shelby, N. C., prepares to document an old waffle iron during a recent workday for volunteers inventorying historic artifacts in the old Cleveland County courthouse building. The iron (enlarged, inset) features an elegant handle that opens the device when lowered, gracefully curved legs, and heavy iron-like waffle plates. The device has a detachable fabric-covered electric cord (remember them?), frayed with age.

It’s easy to imagine a Cleveland County homemaker decades ago, making a Sunday breakfast with what surely was the latest in kitchen appliances in its time.

“Just beautiful,” Marywinn said. “I think perhaps with a new electrical cord you might even get it to work once again….”

She and other volunteers wear white cotton gloves when handling metal objects, to protect them, and use The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging, the book shown bottom right, to find the standard name and classification for objects. A yardstick is handy to measure object dimensions.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Volunteering: Jo Ann Surratt

Mountain, meet motivation and moxie – Jo Ann Surratt of Shelby.

The “mountain” consists of the thousands of historical object artifacts left behind in the old Cleveland County courthouse building when once-bright hopes for a local museum there faded. These artifacts have the stories of Cleveland County history in them – how we grew, worked, learned, lived, fought. But now stored and silent, these artifacts have no way to speak.

“Moxie” is a slang word summing up that combination of undaunted determination, know-how, persistence and inventiveness that would take on the mountain unfazed.

“This is a job that needs doing,” Jo Ann says, “and we can do it.” So for months now, she and other like-minded volunteers have spent many workdays at the old courthouse. They are uncovering these artifacts of our past, better ensuring their future, and envisioning a present when our ancestral touchstones are visible again.

The work is formally the Historic County Courthouse Collection Preservation Project of the History Committee of Destination Cleveland County.

Neither Jo Ann nor others involved in this project are quite certain just how many object artifacts there are. “We’ve made a big dent,” she says, turning to take another object from the workbox for cataloging and processing. And there’s no doubt in her voice the overall job will get finished even if it takes a few years.

Jo Ann heard about aspirations for the old courthouse building in early 2007 and responded to a call for volunteers. Since then, having seen the job that “needs doing,” she has spent most Fridays and Saturdays on the job in the workroom that houses exhibits and artifacts of the now-closed Cleveland County Hall of Fame.

It seems fitting that her customary place at the processing table is directly under a portrait of educator and Hall of Famer W. D. Burns, for whom Burns High School is named. Jo Ann is retired now after teaching for 33 years -- Spanish (and English and civics from time to time) at Burns High.

But she is a teacher still. Others who volunteer to help on Saturday workdays look to her as coach and leader, able to decipher the spidery handwriting in the accession ledgers of the former museum and not only to identify bewildering objects but also to figure out what standard museum classification they fit into.

For her, there is just a certain satisfaction in being able to fill in all the blanks on the forms used to name, classify, and describe each object. She likes to organize things, properly. (It is a small frustration now that she has hit a stop in a personal project to complete a 12-generation family tree of her Dalton, Hall, Freeman, and Huntley ancestors. “I’m stuck at Bushrod Conner in the 1800s,” she says. “I have to find Bushie’s parents.”)

Her parents were the late Boyce Freeman, whom many remember from his long career with Cleveland Lumber Company, and Estelle Hall Freeman, whom Jo Ann calls “an ultimate homemaker” who sewed her girls’ clothes and quilted and crocheted and in doing so gave Jo Ann a special appreciation for the exquisite, fragile needlework folded away as artifact at the old courthouse.

A graduate of Shelby High School and Appalachian State University, Jo Ann maintains her early interest in anthropology – the origin, development, social and cultural behavior of humans – even though first opting to shape young “humans” in the classroom.

So it’s a special pleasure and privilege now, she says, to hold evidence of our shared past in her hands.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Perspective: Don't gobble up my memories

It had been a long workday for us volunteers at the old courthouse recently, and I wasn’t thrilled to see that the next artifact I had to classify and describe was an old box containing six typewriter erasers. Typewriter erasers! Who would think they belong in a museum anyway?

According to sparse handwritten detail in the former county museum’s ledger, the erasers were donated by the County Elections Board office in 1990 when it relocated to new quarters.

Sighing, I looked up the standard museum classification: written communication T & E. I recorded the maker: A. W. Faber of Newark, N. J. Dimensions: about 1 ½ by 4 inches, counting the little brush you used to flick away the eraser dust from your typewriter keys. Other details and markings.

I looked around the workroom at fellow volunteers busy with other objects newly getting attention. The thought occurred to me that, at age 70, I might be the only one among them who knew what a typewriter eraser was. And had used one. Had actually learned to type on an old manual typewriter like the one another volunteer had catalogued earlier. And had spent my first working years pounding out copy on such a keyboard – carbon copies in triplicate. I dreaded having to erase mistakes so much I took great care not to make any – much to the benefit of my writing and keyboarding skills.

“What’s a carbon copy?” my high-schooler granddaughter had asked me once. She uses a laptop computer for composing themes and communicates by phone text-messaging.

I realized I wanted her and other young people to understand and appreciate how we did things in the old days. See here, said the six typewriter ribbons in their age-stained box.

“Why do the erasers and the box have different identification numbers?” I asked our helpers, consultants Lenore Hardin and Laura Overbey. Because the manufacturer’s box in this case is just as important as the items inside it, they said. Just be sure you document that the erasers are stored in the box, so we can find them later.

And they pointed out a problem: there was evidence carpet beetles had been in the box. Leavings. Loose and chewed bristles.

“Need to take care of that,” they said, carefully taking away the box of erasers to temporary safe storage and care in the old courtroom upstairs.

Yes! Out, out, danged beetles! You won’t gobble up my memories!

Afterthought: I went home and Googled round typewriter erasers with bristles to see if they are being manufactured and sold today. I could find no source of new ones, but did find that the National Gallery of Art features a noted outdoor sculpture inspired by such an eraser.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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Middle schoolers at the 'center' of things

Joining DCC volunteers Saturday, March 1, in a preservation project workday at the old courthouse building in downtown Shelby, N. C., were some members of the Shelby Middle School Historical Society. In the top left photo are, left to right, Wesley Smith, 13, Nick Carpenter, 14, and Morgan Walker, 13. They're pointing to a bit of history they learned about on the spot -- the one-inch square of marble embedded in the central hallway of this historic Classic Revival structure. Dating from 1907, the building has a true compass orientation, and the marble square denotes the geodetic center of Shelby at the time.

The young volunteers helped tidy up and organize in the archival processing room. At right, Nick examines a 1850 handwritten census register. Below, Wesley and Morgan sort out photos of Cleveland County's sheriffs over the years.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Professionals provide expertise, enthusiasm

Laura Overbey, left, of Asheville and Lenore Hardin of Hendersonville are professional collections managers lending not only their considerable expertise but also their warm enthusiasm and good cheer to the DCC project to preserve the collection of historical artifacts in Cleveland County’s old courthouse building.

Engaged as consultants for the project, the two also guide and back up volunteers reporting for Saturday workdays spent inventorying and organizing objects and archives. With a processing plan and system in place, the work continues to pick up speed.

“Collections management” takes place well behind the polished display cases, intriguing exhibits, and lively programming of museums and historical places, but it’s crucial to them. According to Laura and Lenore, “managing” starts with identifying what you have and cataloging it properly and extends through proper storage and accessible location. Ongoing are preservation and stabilization of objects against deterioration. “Putting your eyes on things,” Laura says. “Taking care of and organizing wonderful objects,” Lenore adds. And, oh yes, dealing with pests from mice to moths to carpet beetles. And disaster planning….

Laura and Lenore are good coaches. (For example, the volunteers now speak “accession numbers” and standard museum classifications, and they slip on white cotton gloves to handle metal so as not to leave a trace of print behind.) And hard workers. They take objects volunteers have catalogued upstairs to the old courtroom, preparing them for proper storage and organizing them by category along the courtroom’s long benches. Once the inventory is complete, the items will be moved offsite for storage while the building is renovated.

Laura, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Tennessee, started her career in Knoxville at the Blount Mansion. She later worked at the East Tennessee Historical Society, where she says her most nerve-wracking job was handling Davy Crockett’s rifle.

Lenore, who first started work in the field seven years ago, was a double major in studio art and anthropology – with a minor in museum studies – at the State University of New York – College at Potsdam. She got her start at the Adirondack Museum in upstate New York, which has a large collection of historical boats (used on the hundreds of natural lakes in the Adirondacks) and features local mountain history.

Contributor: Pat Poston

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