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: A Speedy Trip to Ottawa

Work took me kicking and screaming to Ottawa this week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Canada. It was just a chock a block week and I managed to miss being in-country for a presidential election again. … Continue reading

Museum Monday: User Theft of Collections

Yesterday, The Baltimore Sun reported that Jason James Savedoff was sentenced to one year in prison for his supporting role in the theft of over sixty documents from the Maryland Historical Society. The man who convinced him to do it, … Continue reading

Hurricane? Oysters Will Travel

The Long Island Express, otherwise known as the Hurricane of 1938, was a category 3 hurricane when it made landfall. It swept away communities, flooded New York City, and cost between 600 and 800 lives. An article on sewage contamination … Continue reading

A Visit to the Drugstore, 1786

Halloween’s passed us by, but here’s a tale of horror from the late eighteenth century: a visit to the drugstore. This advertisement appeared in The Maryland Journal on August 11, 1786. Particularly note the “Calomel, and all other well-prepared Mercuries” … Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy: Resources for Museums, Libraries, Archives, and other Cultural Institutions

It’s been a busy week. As the Chair of Alliance for Response NYC, I’ve been busy trying to connect affected institutions with helping hands, information, and people in the government who can answer their questions. Below are some sites and … Continue reading

Photo: Memories of Summer

Marylanders recognize this scene. The wet smear of spice-reddened shattered carapace across moist newspaper says it all: it must be the end of a crab feast. This was the end of a half-bushel of medium blue crabs back in August. … Continue reading

Living Small – Microunits

I read Allison Arieff’s New York Times Opinionator article “How Small is Too Small?” with a somewhat familiar perspective. I live in Manhattan, in a 450 square foot apartment. I get small. But I’d be hard pressed to get smaller. … Continue reading

Fall Vegetable TKO!!

Fall vegetables: the bounty at the market threatens to overwhelm the Manhattan apartment suggestion of a kitchen. Mine’s 24 sq. feet. Stick a bunch of kale in it, and there’s no hope of doing anything else until that kale has … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Johnstown Inclined Plane

People generally know one thing about Johnstown, PA: the flood. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial is located on the rim of the former recreational lake that burst on May 31, 1899 and spilled 20 million tons of water into the town … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: City Hall Station

On the top of my list of cool things to do in New York City: visit City Hall Station, the abandoned star of the New York city subway system. Opened in 1904, the one way loop station’s design and close … Continue reading