Museum Monday: Some Essential Tools

There was a thread on the Registrar’s Committee of the American Association of Museum’s list serve this week about the Ideal Registration Kit. By the end of the week, the whole discussion had become rather punchy and the list had grown to include a forklift (mind you, the tools were supposed to fit a small toolbox, or garden tool bag). But I enjoyed what tools colleagues had cobbled together for their work and there were some especially good ideas for head lamps. I’m  a collections manager, so I don’t need the battery of tools that a conservator would stock for performing treatments. But my work can include examination, handling objects for visitors, storage support making, and surface cleaning (who am I kidding? the tool I use the most in my career now is my computer – alas!).

Here are just a few of my basic essentials…

Microspatula. Good for picking up pages in old books, separating fringe on a textile for photography, threading twill tape through slits in board when making storage supports, you name it.

 

Kimberley-Clark Safeskin Purple Nitrile Powder Free Exam gloves. Read my post on getting rid of white cotton gloves for museum use and switching to nitrile here.

Kimberley-Clark Safeskin Purple Nitrile Powder Free Exam gloves. Read my post on getting rid of white cotton gloves for museum use and switching to nitrile here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Mag-Lite! I have New York black, but I like the blue color… Besides – it’s good to carry a flashlight for emergency egress purposes, especially if you work in a large building like I do.

Love my Leatherman. Great little snips, a sharp knife, decent pliers, and never be without a slot or Phillips screwdriver again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hake brushes. I like the long handled ones too, their bristles tend to be a bit stiffer than these. It depends on the surface of the object. I use these in conjunction with a Nilfisk HEPA Canister or Backpack Vacuum.

 

My Vaisala HM34 Humidity and Temperature meter. For when you co-workers swear it’s hot/cold/humid! Just kidding. I use the same tool my engineers do – it helps to get the whole team on the same page about the museum environment. Remember – any monitoring equipment is only as good as its last calibration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not kidding! My museum Blackberry has a camera on it, I can request things from other staff while I'm in the storeroom or gallery, or I can send myself notes to my email. It's a notepad, computer, and camera in one - and keeps me away from my desk longer! (but I personally use an iPhone - keep work and pleasure tech separate!)

I’m not kidding! My museum Blackberry has a camera on it, I can request things from other staff while I’m in the storeroom or gallery, or I can send myself notes to my email. It’s a notepad, computer, and camera in one – and keeps me away from my desk longer! (but I personally use an iPhone – keep work and pleasure tech separate!)

 

 

 

 

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.