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: Winterthur’s Train Station

You had to know that the DuPonts would have had their own train station for their 2400-acre estate outside of Wilmington, DE. I’m living at Winterthur for the month while participating in a preventive conservation exchange and researching how 18th … Continue reading

Museum Monday – WNYC Municipal Archives Online

Back in May, I gave a lecture on collections emergency preparedness at the New York Archives Conference. It was supposed to be a roundtable during which institutions shared their preparedness experiences and ideas, but seeing as Heritage Preservation’s Heritage Health Index … Continue reading

Museum Monday – Working at Winterthur

I’m in residence at Winterthur Museum, Library, and Garden working on my 18th century runaway project and participating in a preventive conservation exchange. I’m extremely grateful to have this time to focus on my projects and to work with the … Continue reading

Historic Philadelphia Mapping Resources

My research on indentured and enslaved servants’ lives has led me to mapping out their existence on historic maps of Philadelphia. I’m hoping to better understand their relation to the community, merchants, and manufacturers in their environment. I’ve found some … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Midsummer in the French Countryside

Midsummer found us not in Sweden, but in the French countryside, south of the Loire Valley and not far from Loches. If you remember going to bed as a child when the sky was still light, this is the adult … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday – Aer Lingus: Just Don’t.

I hate to fly. All the fun of flying took off somewhere around 1987. We’ve been on a downward spiral of crumb encrusted shrinking chairs and tasteless pretzels served with 1/2 cup of water ever since. I took my first … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Developing Staff Resources for Managing Collections

My colleague and friend Rob Waller of Protect Heritage Corp. recently sent me a book he collaborated on in 1996, Developing Staff Resources for Managing Collections. It examines institutional responsibilities to protect its collections through development of staff and how … Continue reading

Vanishing History: Recording African-American Burial Grounds

On a Sunday afternoon in 1992, I was collecting fallen autumn leaves along Chapel Road outside Havre de Grace, Maryland where my grandparents lived. I no longer remember what the leaves were for. My boyfriend lifted me on his shoulders … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday – Indianapolis, and a little about Philadelphia

Thumbs up: Indianapolis. Thumbs down: US Airways (I should have known better). The airplane from Indianapolis operated by Air Wisconsin was probably refurbished last in 1983 (the flight attendant was old school and friendly though). Three hour layover in Philadelphia … Continue reading