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.

Other Families’ Photo Albums – What Am I Doing in There?

As living history interpreters, our role is to talk to the public about the past. We fill in the gaps in most schools’ history curriculums. Whereas they learned places, dates, and military maneuvers, I’m interested in filling in the details … Continue reading

New York Calling – and gets voice mail

If there’s one thing I felt after reading the excellent New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg ( eds. Marshall Berman and Brian Berger, University of Chicago Press, 2007), it was a compulsion to challenge the statement that newcomers to New York … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday – Barcelona

Make sure you slip in that “th.” Bar-thelona. Crazy architecture. Eating dinner at 9:30 pm there means you are dining with the elderly set. It didn’t matter that I had packed my luggage for  hot and sunny, and I arrived … Continue reading

Argand Lamp – A moment of pause for Barbara Carson

Barbara Carson was one of my professors in The George Washington University’s M.A. program in Museum Studies. I took her American Decorative Arts and Time and Light in the Decorative Arts courses, and was sorry I didn’t get to take … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors – Inbred

This post is a continuation of a series chronicling the relocation of my family cemetery, including my 4th Great Grandparents James Cole and Elizabeth Gilbert, in Aberdeen, Maryland in 2010. Click here to read Part I and Part II. Today, … Continue reading

I Spy…Rural Commerce in the Nineteeth Century

I was using this Martenet Map of Harford County from 1878, viewable on the Library of Congress website, to do some family research. I was as intrigued by the business enterprises going on in the Halls Cross Roads area. This … Continue reading

SRO – The Acronym for Hotel Living

Single room occupancy. For country kids like myself, this form of spare urban housing lives under the radar. SROs refer to permanent residency in hotels. Technically, this refers to everything from high style at The Plaza to sleeping on the … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday – Stockholm

Stockholm: scary sandwiches, incredible museums, and the beautiful islands which serve as the city’s perch. I visited Stockholm in September of 2011. Approximately fourteen islands make up Stockholm and the reflections off the water filled the autumn air with light. The … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday – In Praise of PATH

Who cares about the PATH? That’s Port Authority Trans Hudson trains to those of you not from the area. And I do. Dr. V and I got acquainted with the PATH route from 33rd St. to Hoboken thanks to our … Continue reading

Museum Monday – What is a Collections Manager?

Nope, I’m not a curator; I’m a collections manager. Many visitors who stop me in the galleries try to demonstrate their museum savvy by asking “Are you the curator?” I take a moment to educate them about the various roles … Continue reading