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.

Sauerkraut: It’s Thanksgiving in Maryland

Don’t knock it: sauerkraut is great on the Thanksgiving table. And it’s a tradition that falls almost exclusively within Maryland’s borders. When I moved away for my first job in Boston, I was surprised that Thanksgiving sauerkraut horrified my colleagues … Continue reading

Crossing Wright’s Ferry on the Susquehanna, 1787

If this post already sounds familiar, see my post on the 1811-13 watercolor by Secretary to the Russian Consul-General Pavel Petrovich Svinin (MMA 42.95.37) of crossing Wright’s Ferry, near Columbia, Pennsylvania. While at Winterthur this summer for a research fellowship, I … Continue reading

Photo: Hunting Dog Redux, c. 1923.

My Harford County, Maryland family could never be described as prominent. They are not historical figures. Certainly, the family names are ones the people know, interwoven through local people’s memories (read about how interwoven my family is here). They, like so … Continue reading

George Frideric Handel and The London Foundling Hospital

The Messiah, written by George Frideric Handel in 1741 and first performed in Dublin before its launch in London, was originally meant for Easter. Many of us have attended the oratorio’s performance at Yuletide, a practice that gained popularity in … Continue reading

A Philadelphia Servant, 1787

  A pie lays broken in the street, a distraught servant teased by the chimney sweeps who caused her to drop it. She’s likely on her way back from the bakery to which her mistress sent the pie to be … Continue reading

Photo: Huntin’ Dog, c. 1920

I don’t hunt, and what little I do know of hunting is bound into my Susquehanna River DNA. I figure the man reposing by the tree with his trusty companion has been hunting ducks or geese or other small game, like … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Some Food in France

More often than not, even the cheapest little roadside offering in France blows the socks off of much of what you can get in the United States. After my summer blogging hiatus, I have a few things to catch up … Continue reading

Bye Bye Schrafft’s: Losing More Unique Buildings on the UES

A “Rat Poison” sign appeared on the front door of 155 East 79th street. Generally, that’s the sign that indicates death is close at hand. Obviously the rats are going to kick it. But it’s the building that is coming … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Taking The Back Way – Old Roads from Point A to Point B

There were two ways to get to Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house in Havre de Grace. You could either take the interstates skirting Baltimore, which, until the late 1980s, had not all been built and required cutting through Reisterstown’s … Continue reading