My name is Vasanthi and I’m Barkerville’s curatorial intern for the winter. I’m responsible for processing the new collection. I studied Public History at the University of Western Ontario where I became particularly interested in collections management. Coupled with my interest in historical clothing, this position is a wonderful opportunity. I moved from Ottawa to Wells in October to work with the collection, and am thoroughly enjoying it so far.
My job is to catalogue, tag, package, photograph, and store the collection. Cataloguing and tagging documents each artefact and allows for easy tracking. Cataloguing requires various pieces of information including an accession number, a description of the item and its condition, dimensions, what it’s made of, and key search words. Once that is finished, a tag with the accession number is attached to the artefact so that it is connected to the catalogue entry and won’t be lost.
Each artefact is then packed in acid free tissue which is the safest method of preserving them for the future. The tissue provides a buffer against harmful agents in the environment, as well as protects the item from itself as it provides a lining against anything rough on the fabric, such as beads, and puffs up any folds made during packaging.
Generally, I deal with one box at a time to catalogue, tag, and package each artefact. Once I’m finished a section of clothing, I switch to photographing items. I have now processed all of the hats and have moved on to the dresses. I have found some beautiful hats and am learning a lot of new vocabulary related to millinery and dressmaking. For example, large picture hats and capelines were popular right before and after the more famous cloches.
I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the collection. Since starting the dresses, I’ve found some beautiful beaded dresses that just have to be seen. More pictures to come!
by Vasanthi Pendakur, Barkerville Historic Town & Park