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: Fred Harvey Is Your Host

I just finished Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West by Stephen Fried (visit his website here). Combine my nerdiness for railroad nostalgia with food and you have my ideal 515 … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Lunch Hour at the New York Public Library

My mother’s favorite meal of the day is lunch. Usually those with a bent towards a particular meal time choose breakfast, but for Mom, it’s lunch. So when my parents came up to visit for the day, we went to … Continue reading

Stocking Washing

The summer is full of living history events, and moreso, the laundry that follows a hot sweaty weekend out in a field without a shower. While plenty of women I know want to get their stays (corset) off first after … Continue reading

Taisho Era Postcard

In 2002, the MFA Boston acquired the Leonard Lauder large collection of Japanese postcards. The most thrilling images are Taisho illustrations, with their bold block colors and imagery that was modern and traditional at the same time. All have a … Continue reading

Variety Among the 18th Century Lesser Sorts

As part of my research on 18thcentury working class clothing, I have been studying indentured and enslaved female servants who immigrated to the American colonies. I created a database that now houses records for 1000 women and their 6000 garments.  Runaway … Continue reading

Devil’s in the Details – Deviled Eggs

Devilled eggs. A staple at my family’s picnics. A 1950s joke. A modern canvas for fine herbs and expensive vinegar. From boiling the eggs properly to prevent the olive green ring on the yolk, to preventing the tear of a … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Chicago’s a Classy Town

As I mentioned before, there’s a certain wail of the horn still going in the Windy City. The city sprawls outward from the lake, lacking the huge geographical divides that drives Manhattan skyward. Beyond the Magnificent Mile, a staggering number … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Subway, Sesame Street Style

Nothing underlines the fact that Sesame Street is a New York product like this 1974 clip “Subway.” It’s a bit discordant and urban, gritty and Muppety, all at the same time. Click here to watch Subway on YouTube. … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Collections Risk Assessment

It can be overwhelming. It can hurt your brain. But it can also help you understand your collection’s preservation needs like nothing else. Collections risk assessment. Ready? Collections risk assessment evaluates the impact of different specific risks on a collections unit. It’s … Continue reading

Off to Chicago!

Dr. V. and I are headed to Chicago to see friends Jeremy W. and Tina S. for the weekend. You might know that this dynamic duo were the photographers for our wedding back in March and were the instigators of … Continue reading