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: Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Redux

Better known as the PATH, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad began shuttling passengers through its cast iron tunnels between Manhattan and points in New Jersey in 1908. My travels have been constrained in the last couple of months due to … Continue reading

Lincoln Highway Snapshot: Fort Wayne to Wooster

5/24/2005 Wooster, OH I am bushed. 1:30am door pounding above at Regency Inn [Ft. Wayne] led to sleep scattering thoughts. Anxious and itchy literally to leave. Tonight treated self to much deserved night in a Best Western and meal at … Continue reading

Small Living Isn’t Morally Inferior

What happened to “less is more”? Dr. V and I are preparing for the arrival of our little guy Spud sometime in February (yes,  you can expect a good deal of silence from me about that time). As I’ve described … Continue reading

Christmas Dinner on the Rails

Christmas generally takes us to Maryland. While the Amtrak train I take travels over the Pennsylvania Railroad into Baltimore’s Penn Station, here’s a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Royal Blue Line menu from Christmas Day, 1900. The selections are fun and … Continue reading

18th Century Convicts Marched from Newgate to the Port

Convicts made up one of the significant immigrant populations to the American colonies in the eighteenth century. But try locating an image that says “convict” if you are preparing a presentation. This image from The Newgate Calendar, a tabloid-like publication … Continue reading

It’s An “R” Month: Maryland Oyster Pie

Though a chilled oyster sliding down your throat and followed with cold white wine seems perfectly apropos for the summer months, it was only recently that the old tradition “only eat oysters in a month with “R” in it” has … Continue reading

Fighting Writing: Musings on the Recalcitrant Pen

Does a battle assume there has been a victory? Writing has a threshold that must be crossed, marking the departure from everyday life and its patterns. The space writing affords can be threatening to the underpinnings of everything else. Writing lives … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Collection Care’s Identity Crisis

You might have had it happen. You are working in the gallery, grimacing at the amount of dust that’s built up, gently stroking a brush across an object’s surface with vacuum in hand, and a well-meaning supporter or visitor mouths … Continue reading

Do Something Good for the Country on Black Friday: Don’t Shop Walmart

I don’t shop Walmart any day. I’m asking you not to shop it today. In 1995, I started a personal boycott against Walmart that lasts until this day. If you revere small town America, then cut back on spending at … Continue reading