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.

Museum Monday: Maryland State Archives in 2013

For a building built in 1984, I think the Maryland State Archives inspires. Maybe it strikes a chord with me akin to the library buildings of my childhood. Unlike it’s colonial and colonial revival ancestors further down Rowe Blvd in … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Tyvek Pillows for Object Transport

Never use sad, crumpled up pieces of tissue again for object transport! Switch to Tyvek pillows. While this isn’t a new idea, I assembled at least fifty of these in the last couple of years. I work with ethnographic sculpture, … Continue reading

Preserving the Rhythm of City Streets: Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District

What’s great about New York City? People on the streets. In June 2012, the NYC Department of City Planning enacted zoning that requires new commercial development to fit within maximum frontage limits in the Upper West Side shopping districts along … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: Pittsburgh Bridges

Thanks to reader Ms. S. for pointing out Pittsburgh’s distinction as the Bridge City. When I had suggested Cleveland as a contender (see my post on the bridges of Cleveland and the boat tour that highlights them) Ms S. quickly … Continue reading

Scarlet Fever!

My grandfather, S. Lee Bowman, returned from World War II in 1946 to marry Gurnice Stephens of Mt. Pleasant Orchard, outside Havre de Grace. The first several weeks of their marriage were spent separately: as soon as they returned from … Continue reading

Post Offices for Sale

What is Westminster, Maryland’s claim to fame? Besides being my childhood hometown, it was where county-wide Rural Free Delivery began on December 20, 1899. Mailboxes from the era are contained in both the collections of the Historical Society of Carroll … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Crinolines and Omnibuses

It was the 1850s. Skirts were big. Transportation, not so much. Prior to elevated railways, streetcars, and subways, mass transit meant the omnibus, a horse-drawn wagon, often enclosed. Crinolines (hoop skirts) gave lampoonists of the mid-19th century ample tongue-wagging material. … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading