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.

Vernacular: Puddle Ducks

I love the word vernacular. You can stuff all that’s particular to a specific region into the term. Can’t explain it any other way? It must be vernacular. Puddle duck is the term my grandfather used to describe mallard ducks. … Continue reading

A Late Tribute to The Silver Spoon

It’s been 7 years since The Silver Spoon, the Italian bible of cooking, was translated into English. I remember hearing a segment on the cookbook on NPR when it arrived on American shores. Somehow I missed opportunities to check it … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: The Walking City

Colleagues of mine were up from DC this week for the Alliance for Response NYC program “Community-Based Recovery After Superstorm Sandy” (see the post here). One of them exclaimed “this is New York! look at everyone walking along the streets!” … Continue reading

Museum Monday: The Discussion After the Storm – Alliance for Response NYC

On January 11, Alliance for Response NYC hosted “Community Based Recovery After Superstorm Sandy.” Alliance for Response is a national program of Heritage Preservation and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, co-sponsored by FEMA and Heritage Preservation. See my post … Continue reading

Travel By Design: Painted Advertisements

How did you used to make money off your barn or shed? Allow a hand painted sign to advertise on the side. Here are a few from the road…along with some derivative works for fun.     … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Who Makes Collections Care Happen?

Who Makes Collections Care Happen? Easy. Technicians dust artwork. But that’s a little simplistic view of both the work of  a valuable, skilled technician, and collections care. Conservators make collections care happen! They study scientific reasons for deterioration and design … Continue reading

Turnips Anyone? How about Turnip Wine?

My first thought when intercepting this recipe from The British Housewife by Martha Bradley (1756) was “who would think to ferment turnips?” Followed by, if turnips, then why not some other vegetable? Fermentation in turnip wine is aided through the added sugar. … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: A Few Views of Munich

Work took me to Germany in late 2012. I’ve already written about the food I ate, Christmas Markets, and train travel from Munich to Bonn on the ICE (click to read my posts). Here are a few nutty photos from … Continue reading

Shifting Garment Styles, 1750-1790: What Research and Sketching Have in Common

Historical research is like sketching. You begin with a few pieces of data, allowing you to make some bold strokes on a piece of white paper. You identify what sorts of primary resources will improve that image, and it redirects … Continue reading

Spaces that Feed the Writing Brain

I just finished Dwight Garner’s “A Critic’s Tour of Literary Manhattan” in The New York Times (December 14, 2012). I’m smitten. I like heady romps through the bars and bookshops where original things take place. I swoon for the places … Continue reading