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: Researching Museum Collections for Living History Practitioners

I’m a Collections Manager in a large New York City institution. My first museum job was as a thirteen year old volunteer at a “living history” state park, Heritage Hill, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Living history generally denotes that the … Continue reading

The Geisha Toye as a Vendor of Poems

This woodblock print in the Metropolitan Museum of Art depicts The Geisha Toye as a Vendor of Poems, and dates to c. 1795. Geisha were the purveyors of iki, a kind of dark artistic cool. Gei means art and officially, the … Continue reading

How Readers Find The Still Room

It’s no secret, I can see the search terms readers use to get to The Still Room. Some I can tell that you’ve tripped onto this site by accident. Others, I wish you had left a comment so we could discuss … Continue reading

Time for a Song: Women Should Their Time Divide

This  finger-wag at women about appropriately dividing their time between pleasure and work is fun to sing. Interesting that work is defined in the following  line as stitching – something that falls into the play category for me today. The … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Dusseldorf

Last week found me in Germany and Luxembourg. Dusseldorf, like many cities affected by World War II, is a new city, with glimpses of old fabric in surprising places. As in other European cities, the pedestrian mall of the 1950s … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Dust

Where there is space, there is dust. Over dust, visitors to our museum and I connect. Dust is an ongoing challenge for collection care staff. It gets on your cases. It gets on objects on open display, such as the … Continue reading

Feeling Swank: The Green Mill, Chicago

During our recent trip to see Jeremy W.(of Le Cafe Witteveen) and Tina S. in their Chicago stomping grounds, we got to check out some incredible local spots. One of them was The Green Mill, a nightclub paused during its … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Cold Spring, NY

Dr. V and I took the week off a couple of weeks ago, and finally followed through on a plan to go hiking. Most modern Americans expect to hop in their car in order to achieve reaching a remote wooded … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: Runaway!

This post is not about servants. So much of the time when I refer to runaways, it’s in relation to indentured and enslaved women. Thanks to Mr. I for sending around this link to a well-written article in Popular Science about a runaway … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Hygrothermographs for the Layman

What is that box with all the dials sitting in the corner of the gallery? Chances are, it’s a hygrothermograph. It’s a device that tracks temperature and relative humidity over time. Museum staff use it to understand the environment in … Continue reading