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.

Transportation Tuesday: The B & O Railroad Museum

A fantastic collection in an incredible building tell the epic story of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The 1884 Roundhouse that serves as the centerpiece of the museum complex sits on the site the birthplace of American railroading, the ground dedicated to … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Beer Here! At the New York Historical Society

Yes, beer in museums. Now on at The New York Historical Society, Beer Here: Brewing New York History reminds the visitor of the importance of beer as an industry, food, and social lubricant. Some of the most excellent objects I saw in the … Continue reading

Westward Ho! My Third Great Grandfather Travels, in 1851

Ancestry.com, as a genealogical tool, is a start for many doing genealogy. I see it as a way to sketch and share only. There are a lot of problems with it, but it’s certainly quicker than cranking through all those … Continue reading

New York Diaries, 1609–2009

I spent a lot of time chronicling my life from the time I was 8 until I was about 21 or so. I find that when I write other things (fiction, research papers, poetry, blogs) I don’t feel the need … Continue reading

Arts and Crafts Hors d’Oeurves – Meta Givens’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking

Get a sharp knife, some scissors, and good luck. I remember the first time I opened Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook.  I laughed out loud – it was a guide to preciousness and I found the intricate directions hilarious. But … Continue reading

What’s Left Behind: A Harford County, Maryland Probate Inventory

Both of my great great great grandparents died in 1857, leaving my fifteen year old great great grandfather  (at right) an orphan. Interestingly, he never appears in the census until after his marriage in 1880 when he was nearly forty … Continue reading

What I Ate: Germany

It’s not all sauerbraten and rouladen. I was pleasantly surprised by incredible salads, grilled fish, and lots of mushrooms while in Germany. Let’s start with breakfast. I love European hotel breakfast (most of them). Most decent hotels have a pretty … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: A Moment on the Baltimore and Ohio

I was inspired by this salted paper print from the 1850s of people posing for a photograph on a Baltimore and Ohio engine. I thought about the women in their stays and hoops, and wondered if they were boosted up … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Online Patterns of Eighteenth Century Garments from LACMA’s Collection

Speaking as a museum professional and a living history practitioner, what a great project. At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s web page, conservators and curators worked with Thomas John Bernard, a theatrical designer, to create gridded patterns of … Continue reading

Geisha and Maiko – Japanese Classical Dance

I used to be involved in a Japanese dance troupe in New York city. Most people aren’t familiar with the dance style, and describing it as akin to kabuki still drew blank looks. Within the dance, there is a correct … Continue reading