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.

Wanderlust Wednesday – Worcester, Massachusetts, by way of Springfield

Pop Quiz: How did Worcester, Massachusetts make its money? Answer: Corsets. The Royal Worcester Corset Factory was the largest U.S. employer of women in 1908.         I spent all of 18 hours in Worcester last week. It … Continue reading

Museum Monday – Here Come the Trains Again: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Once again Transit Tuesday is busting in on Museum Monday. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is located in Strasburg, just outside Lancaster. It’s close to the outlet store schlock on Route 30 east of Lancaster, but once you turn off … Continue reading

Should We Feel Sorry for Twinkies?

Twinkies. I’ve had a few. I’ve had more pink Snowballs and Suzy-Q’s than Twinkies. I was mildly horrified and fascinated to watch Anthony Bourdain eat embalmed fructose syrup used to make Twinkie filling out of the pipes of Zubal Books, … Continue reading

New York at Night

It’s something about the light of shops shining out onto the sidewalks, people wrapped in coats, the tall buildings above transformed into shadows, dotted with light. When I conjure the city in which I live, it’s at night. Try listening … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: Time to Get Geeky – The Amtrak History Website

Perhaps Amtrak is a little late for many rail fans, but the Amtrak history website led to me losing a few hours last night while I poked around the various features. Amtrak will never have the glamour of the Baltimore … Continue reading

Caraway.

Caraway. It’s lyrical. It’s herbal, savory, and astringent. My French friends confuse it for a cumin seed.  It evokes strong feelings of admiration or disgust, depending on whose palate is assessing it. And it’s one of my favorite flavorings. When … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: Amtrak’s Quiet Car

I was putting together another post on Amtrak when I stumbled across a New York Times Opinion on Amtrak’s Quiet Car by Tim Krieder. The Quiet Car is at first brilliant: I settle myself away from the din of the … Continue reading

Cleveland’s West Side Market

My brother Mr. F is Cleveland’s Man about Town. During my May visit, he toured me around a number of sites and neighborhoods, including Shaker Square, downtown, Detroit Seaway, and Cleveland’s West Side Market. I knew zip about Cleveland, beyond … Continue reading

Java Up: The Coffee House: A Cultural History

Grab your mug, get some joe, and crack open The Coffee House: A Cultural History by Markman Ellis (Wenfield and Nicolson, 2004). I was aware of the role the coffee house played in discourse and the exchange of news. In … Continue reading

A Dinner in Winter, 1756

As Winter settles around our shoulders, I like to consider what was considered seasonal fare in the eighteenth century. I’m a big fan of eighteenth century table maps (see my post on Winterthur’s Robert Jocelyn dinner journal here and visit the … Continue reading