I started work at another museum specifically because I want to learn practical crap like MONEY: HOW TO GET. Grant research, development, proposal writing, etceterah. Most museums are non-profits and it seems like a lot of small museums are suffering unnecessarily. I picked this museum because they are utilizing really intelligent money-getting strategies, and manage to grow each year instead of wither. Such smart choices I make! I'm gonna learn, champion-style!
But then I heard that someone on the development team (oh god I should make this entire blog pw protected) was given the task of researching the history of the building and generally maintaining what collection of artifacts there is. as in the stuff that I actually like to do. Not surprisingly, the research consisted of no research, and I have no idea where their archives are, but I am picturing a moldy, half-open cardboard box wedged between industrial sized boxes of coffee stirrers in the basement.
It's not a history museum and their mission doesn't have much to do with communicating the history of the building. Fine. The person given this job has a full desk, and is a money dude, so I get it. But after learning of this, and seeing the insane way their digital collections were stored on the server, I just kind of said,
"I think I'm just gonna work on this? Yeah. Can I...clean this? Instead. Ok."
And that's what I've been doing since. This is kind of a fail because that's not why I'm there, but I can't help it. My work activities will be entirely self-directed for a couple of weeks due to my little mentor being at a conference, and I doubt I'm going to choose researching the charitable giving history of Bancorp over obsessively researching and providing correct citation for old photos.
The latter one is the more fun activity, in case it is not immediately obvious.
So! I have been reacquainting myself with the available local resources. They are many, and are available to everyone.
ASU Libraries - Arizona Collection. Lots of stuff, most of it not online. That's cool, you can go down to Hayden, get your little cotton gloves on, and see it in person. It's more fun.
www.chroniclingamerica.com - US newspapers 1836-1922! Radical resource. They're adding more each year, but there's already a decent amount of Arizona papers.
Arizona State Archives
Burton Barr Arizona Room Lots of great books in there, but they have a nice photo collection. Might have to go in or ax the archivist.
Arizona Historical Society archives - Never been here, I think they are recataloging things right now.
There are more, of course.
Apropos of nothing, someone told me there are several ghosts in the building. I never respond when people matter-of-factly inform me of random preternatural shit, because you never know where they're coming at it from. Also, I have noticed that my typical response of OH NO WAY TELL ME EVERYTHING usually makes them back down about talking about it. So I just look at them and wait. Still waiting.