Saturday, August 1, 2015

Week Nine at Independence: Data Entry and Art Conservators

            It’s the last week of July, which means I’ve been at INDE for almost two months! The coming month seems to be quite a few “lasts” – I’ll be starting my last first day of school in a few weeks, and my last day at INDE is fast approaching. Before I dive into a wave of nostalgia, let me take you into the final week of July here at INDE.
            I started off the week continuing with the data entry, which I presume will take me several weeks to complete seeing how there are a few hundred records that I need to modify. I’ve finished the records for the cabinets in one of the rooms, and I’ve moved on to the records pertaining to the flat-file cases.
            Perhaps the most interesting part of this week has been touring the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank. Following the fire, tests were conducted by conservators to assess the damage of the various paintings in the Gallery. While none were charred or suffered water damage, heavy layers of soot rest on the canvases of individual paintings. This week, Karie toured around several conservators and bidders interested in working on the project to clean the individual paintings in most need of attention. Karie showed them the various work spaces where they would be conducting their work, as well as the actual artworks. A conservator will be chosen later this year, but it will be interesting to see how the process turns out.

            I always enjoy observing when outside conservators come to the Second Bank because it gives me a chance to not only learn about the conservation process, but it’s also also an opportunity for me to learn how contracts are drafted by the NPS and independent contractors, budgets, etc. The work that occurs in a cultural institution has value, and this process ensures that individuals are being compensated for the important work that they do.

            Next week, I’m set to meet with another conservator to take another look at the Sharples in the Portrait Gallery. When I helped to clean them during my first few weeks here, I noticed that three of them were not covered in conservator’s tape, so the conservator is coming to examine them. These mini field trips are wonderful! 

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