Samuel Adams’s Mother Was a Fifield

Back in the early aughts, I was a Collection Care Specialist in Textiles and Fashion Arts (TFA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I was working on a National Endowment for the Arts grant to photograph and perform condition … Continue reading

Wanderlust Fodder: Atlas Obscura’s Interactive Map of Roadtrips in American Literature

Mr. I sent me a link recently to Atlas Obscura’s “The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips.” It is obsessive. Richard Kreitner (writing) and Steven Melendez (map) partnered to create a compelling interactive map over which colored … Continue reading

The Impact of Aging Infrastructure on Health

Ron Nixon’s New York Times article “Human Cost Rises as Old Bridges, Dams, and Roads Go Unrepaired” [Oxford comma mine] conveys how our society is sagging under lack of maintenance and repair. While bridges collapse spectacularly, illness from aging water management … Continue reading

Thomas Bewick, Newcastle Wood Engraver (1753-1828)

In digging through the British Museum online collection database this week for a project, I tripped over the wood engravings of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). Operating mostly in Newcastle for his entire career, Bewick’s rural upbringing led to an interest in … Continue reading

Preservation and Access in Oklahoma

Early this week found me in Edmond, Oklahoma. Located along US Route 66, the texture of the town is trains, traffic, bungalows, and mid-century roadside architecture. UCO was founded as a land grant college in 1890, right after the Land … Continue reading

A Brutally Intelligent Exhibition: War-Damaged Works at the Bode Museum Drive a Discussion about Conservation

Originally published at www.rebeccafifieldpreservation.com. When preservation fails, do we have the courage to discuss where to go next? Opening today, 19 March 2015 at the Bode Museum is The Lost Museum, an exhibition of 70 works damaged in World War II. Bullet … Continue reading

The Pain of Mosul – A Preservation Professional’s Perspective

This was originally published at wwww.rebeccafifieldpreservation.com earlier today. I have spent my life caring for cultural heritage. As a museum collection manager, my work aims to preserve the physical and intellectual values of collections by limiting risks, such as pollutants, … Continue reading

Postpartum Depression and Witchcraft

If you have had a baby, you know the months afterward can be tough, and memorable. There are numerous explanations as to what lunacy gripped Salem Village (now Danvers) in 1692. Ergot poisoning. Adolescent girls seeking power. Class inequality. Disputes over … Continue reading

Maryland Preparations for the Sick, 1881

‘Tis the season for illness. Cooking tomes of the past often included a chapter of recipes to be made for the ill and infirm. Certainly, our need for something comforting remains, but general folklore shared today mentions chicken soup, ginger … Continue reading

New Year’s Day – A Great Day to Run Away

Many of us choose some aspect of life to rejuvenate on the 1st of January. On a whim, I decided to reference my runaway servant research database to see how popular a day New Year’s Day was for running away. … Continue reading