Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center, Photo: Colleen Curry

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finishing up a few little things

I spent the day today finishing up some things around the office. In the morning, I worked on a box for a ceremonial pipe that I will be cataloging tomorrow. I also learned how to enter appraisal values into ANCS+ and entered in the values for several objects that I have already cataloged. Then, Colleen had me enter the results of our accession inventory into ANCS+.

After lunch, Colleen gave me and John a researcher's request of photos and negatives to pull from storage and scan. The list was lengthy and it took us about an hour to pull everything. Afterwards, we started scanning each one, which I hope to finish by the end of tomorrow. I can't believe that tomorrow is already my last day of work. It has really snuck up on me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Installation of Fort Yellowstone Case

Today, John and I installed the last of the exhibit cases. Our fellow intern Jake had done all the work for the case, but his last day was last Thursday and he did not have time to install it. We used the photos Jake took of his mock up as our guide throughout the installation so the exhibit would be as true to his vision as possible.

After looking at Jake's mock up, we realized that we did not have all the labels we needed. Although we distinctly remember mounting them last Thursday, they were nowhere to be found. After a long search, we finally decided to reprint and remount them.

Like me, Jake had made his own mannequin for his case. His displayed an army uniform from Fort Yellowstone before NPS was created. Although his mannequin looked amazing, we ended up putting the uniform on one of the new mannequins that Colleen had ordered that came in yesterday. The new mannequins have very sturdy bases, whereas Jake's had a pole through the leg that would fit into a base that he made out of block ethafoam hidden under one of our wooden platforms. Jake's mannequin and base were probably more than adequate, but we decided we might as well use one of the new mannequins just to be sure.

Getting the uniform onto the mannequin proved to be quite challenging. The pants and jacket to the uniform belonged to different people and were very different sizes. The pants were too small to fit on the male manneqin, but fit perfectly on our female mannequin (we were thinking about padding the stomach of the female mannequin to make the coat fit). The jacket was way too big for the female mannequin but fit perfectly on the male mannequin. Our solution was to use the male mannequin but not to button up the pants. We found that they stayed up on their own without being buttoned and that this did not put any stress on the pants. After finishing the mannequin, we started installing the case.

We put the mannequin into the case first. Then we worked to arrange the labels and photographs the way Jake wanted them. We did have to reimagine the exhibit a little bit, because some photos were mounted larger than they were in the mock up.

Jake's case after installation

After finishing Jake's case, we finished up the platform in the corner between my two cases. John put two small metal hook and eye's into the wall behind each ski. Then we attached the skis to the hook and eye with fishing line. This will make it more difficult to steal the skis and will also ensure that they stay standing up and do not fall over.

Stove and skis with photos behind

My two cases and the platform with skis and stove

After attaching the skis to the wall, I put up my last photos and labels on the walls in that corner area. Now, the exhibit is completely installed and it looks great!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Installation of Poaching Case

Today I concentrated on installing the "Poaching and Army Scouts" exhibit case. In the morning, I worked on mounting a few labels that had not been printed last week. I started installing the exhibit in the afternoon and it took the rest of the day to complete. For the most part, the case stayed true to my mock up, but I did decide to put four photos on the wall outside the case rather than inside so that they would not be crowded. I finished installing the case, but did not have time to finish installing the stove and skis on the platform outside the case or to put the photos and corresponding labels on the walls above the platform. Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow I will be completely finished installing!

Poaching/Army Scouts Case

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Installation of NPS Case

This morning, I finished making exhibit mounts, including a stand that will hold Peter Holt's diary and one to hold an assortment of NPS badges, patches and pins. Both of these mounts will hold the objects at a slight angle for better viewing.

Next, I finished mounting and trimming all of my text panels. When all the mounts and text were finished, I was able to begin installing my "Creation of the National Park Service" case. I began by installing the mannequin that I made a few weeks ago to display the early NPS uniform. As the top of the mannequin is a coat hanger, I needed a pole to run along the top of the case to hang it from. I wrapped a small metal pole in muslin and then Colleen helped me secure the pole inside the top of the case with pins. Then I was able to hang the mannequin from the pole.

From there, I arranged all of the other objects inside the case and then lined up all my text panels the way I wanted them. Then I began attaching text panels to othe back and left side of the case. Please note: as the side of the case is clear glass, I made two each of the photos and text panels that I attached to each side of the side panel. That way, I could utilize the sides of the case. I finished the case at the end of the workday, and will have to install my other case on Monday.

Mounting text panels

The finished product

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Photo Mounting and Label Issues

This morning, the entire staff of the HRC went out to breakfast at the Roosevelt Hotel. As it is nearing the end of the summer, it was nice to get out and spend a little down time together before we all leave.

When we returned to work, I finished mounting and trimming all of my photos. After I finished, Bridgette and I figured out how to put a photograph behind each of my group labels. We "washed out" the photographs so that they would be very light, yet visible behind the text. As our labels will be printed on white paper, this will eliminate an overabundance of the color white in our exhibits.

I also scanned and printed two pages of Peter Holt's scout journal for the exhibit. As the journal was wrongly stored open in the past, it lays flat naturally and does not close. When I exhibit the journal, it will be open, but with a layer of acid free paper on top of the open pages and the printout of the scanned pages laying on top to protect the pages from light damage.

Peter Holt's Diary (right) and reproduction (left)

By mid-afternoon, I was ready to print my text so that I could begin mounting it. Unfortunately, we did not have a standard text size for the exhibit. It has been very frustrating that I have had to change my text size and layout several times in the last 3 days because none of the interns could agree on a text size for each of the types of labels. Bridgette and I finally decided on a standard size for the cases, and as soon as everyone else has finalized their labels, I will standardize their text to make sure they are all the same. Although I had changed my own text to the correct size and layout, we had some printer issues which kept me from printing them. To say the least, this was incredibly frustrating. Eventually, I walked away from that to do some exhibit mount making.

We are making very simple exhibit mounts. Basically, we are making stands for the objects we are exhibiting out of the materials we have on hand. I made a stand for the megaphone by covering a square of block ethafoam with muslin, secured with pins. I also made a small stand to hold a photo of Peter Holt up on the platform at an angle. I cut the block out of ethafoam, and again pinned muslin over it.

Exhibit mount

I am hoping that tomorrow I will be able to print and mount my labels, finish making exhibit mounts, and start installing my exhibit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wolf Skulls and Mounting Photos

This morning, Erica and I worked on gluing wolf teeth back into their skulls. The Yellowstone Wolf Project collects the skulls of all of the original and descendents of the original wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1996. Researchers remove teeth to extract DNA and to collect other infromation about the wolves' health and lives in the park. When they are not being studied by the wolf project, the wolf skulls are stored in the HRC and belong to the museum collection.

Erica and I used Fixodent Free (water soluble/no dyes) to reattach the teeth to their skulls. Most of the time, we had to attach only one or two teeth to each individual skull, but sometimes there were multiple teeth to reattach. In these cases, it seemed like putting together a puzzle as we had to use trial and error to figure out which teeth went where.

Before attaching tooth

After attaching tooth

After gluing in all the wolf teeth, Bridgette taught us how to mount photographs onto foam board for the exhibit. Basically, we cut pieces of foam board that are a little bigger than the photos. Then, between the photo and the foam board, we placed pieces on dry mount adhesive paper that were cut the same size as the photographs. We placed these into a dry mount press, which closes over the photograph, adhesive paper, and foam board and heats them at 250 degrees to attach the photo to the foam board. I finished this process for about five photos and will finish mounting my photos tomorrow.

Dry mount press

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mocking Up My Exhibit Cases

This morning, I did some final editing of my exhibit text before handing it over to Colleen and Bridgette for editing and approval. They made a few small changes, but overall thought they were great.

Afterwards, I concentrated on mocking up my exhibit cases to make sure everything would fit and to get an idea of how big I should print out my photographs. I mocked up the "Creation of NPS" case first. I set aside half of the case for the mannequin I made last Thursday with the early NPS uniform (represented by the boots in the photo). Please note: the back of the cases we will be using in the exhibit have wooden backs, rather than the clear glass backs in the mock up case.

In the other half of the case, I set up a platform for some smaller objects. There, I set the revolver and holster and megaphone I had selected for the case earlier. I had originally planned to set the NPS hat on this platform as well, but it ended up being too big. Instead, I decided to exhibit a selection of early NPS badges, patches, and pins.

Unfortunately, these patches, buttons and pins have very little documentation in ANCS+. None of them had dates of use so I wasn't sure which ones would be from the early NPS era. Bridgette showed me a great NPS website about early uniforms, pins, hats, and badges that I could use to find out which ones from the collection would work in the exhibit. I selected a small assortment from the early NPS era for the exhibit, which I arranged on foam blocks. In the exhibit, I will have them slanted slightly forward for better visibility.

After finishing my mock up of that case, I photographed it so that I would remember the layout and then removed everything from the case so I could mock up the "Poaching and Army Scouts" case.

In that case, I used a platform on the right side of the case to display smaller objects, including a small trap, camera and diary belonging to Army scout Peter Holt, and book of rules and regulations for soldiers and scouts. Between the diary and camera I put a small photograph of Peter Holt, which will be propped up at an angle. The camera opens up, so it will be displayed open if possible (we have to figure out how to open it).

The left side of the case is empty in the mock up, but in the exhibit it will contain a stuffed baby black bear that is standing on its hind legs. Beside it (if there is room) will be a large metal bear trap. Behind it, leaning against the back of the case in the center, will be a rifle confiscated from a poacher. The photos and labels discuss the Army scouts who policed the backcountry against poachers.

The photos in the mock ups are not the size that they will be in the final exhibit. Most will be 5x7 inches or 8x10 inches. The mock up also helped us decide to print the group labels larger than the object labels so that they stand out from them. Originally, the group and object labels were 26 point font, so we will increase the size of the group labels.

All in all, I am very happy with the way my mock ups came out, and am hoping I will have time to install them before I leave next Thursday.