Museum Monday: All the Goings On…

Hello Readers of The Still Room!

I’ve missed writing posts for the blog, but have been putting my energies into some projects that may be of interest to you. Until I get through May, I’m going to keep my posts light and sweet.

I’m preparing for the American Institute for Conservation‘s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. I’m the Vice Chair and a founding member of the Collection Care Network.  A project I’ve been spearheading since our last meeting is the Collection Care Staff Survey. We developed a survey to hear from collection managers, technicians, registrars, conservators, and other professionals responsible for collection care. We wanted to hear from this underserved group of museum staff: what are their challenges? what sort of training would help them further their career? We are preparing a summary to be released just prior to the Annual Meeting which takes place May 28-June 1.

I’ll be speaking at the American Alliance of Museums conference in Baltimore on May 19. The AIC Collection Care Network is hosting a flash session in which we foster discussion of collection care challenges. I’ll be speaking specifically about raising the visibility of collection care within institutions, while my co-presenters Rachael Perkins Arenstein and Patty Silence will be discussing working with consultant conservators in smaller institutions and collaborating with facilities staff to improve collection care, respectively.

I’ve recently been awarded a one-month research fellowship at Winterthur Museum, Library, and Garden for the month of July, so I’m working on my methodology right now for working with their collections. I’m also there for a preventive conservation intensive, with the goal of creating a mid-career mentoring template for collection care staff.

And in the offing is my talk at the Threads of Feeling Symposium at Colonial Williamsburg, Oct. 20-22 – see the brochure here. I’ll be discussing my research into the clothing of indentured and enslaved runaways during my talk “Lately Imported: Rebuilding a Visual Lexicon of American Indentured and Enslaved Women’s Dress.” Too often the dress of working women has been placed in a box labeled “meager”, “brown”, “ragged”, without really exploring the choice and shaping factors behind how they shaped their own appearance and even created their own fashion. I

Thank goodness I have a vacation in France planned in there!

My many endeavors are making me feel a little like Medusa. My snakes need a deep conditioning treatment! Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Medusa, 1640s. Carrara marble. Musei Capitolini, Rome. Photo: Andrew Fox/FAMSF

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.