20 June 2012

Field trips--part 2

And then Monday came and we had more field trips! We went on three field trips: to NEDCC, to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and to the main branch of BPL. How my professor managed to get lucky enough to squeeze three field trips into one day I'll never know. We also had a very relaxing lunch outside as a class. 

NEDCC stands for the Northeast Document Conservation Center. You wonder how the E got there? Well, in the old days it had a different name: New England Document Conservation Center. The acronym makes more sense doesn't it? But when they expanded to include non-New England states they had to change the name, but they didn't want to change their acronym since that's what everyone calls it by, so we got Northeast. Anyways, NEDCC is a pretty awesome conservation center. They have a fantastic lab, and some really awesome imaging equipment. They do very high end conservation work here for clients all over the world. It's really an amazing facility.
Lab at NEDCC courtesy of NEDCC's Flickr account

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is right next door to Simmons and as a Simmons student I actually get in free, and yet I had never been until today. I have been missing out! And I feel a little absurd that I know so little about the history of the museum or of Isabella Stewart Gardner, whose home the museum is in, or about the big theft there a few years ago. It's kind cool how they have left the empty frames hanging on the wall from where the paintings where stolen. It is such a cool house. I want my house to look like this one when I'm filthy rich (which as a librarian will be never). Also, I have re-fallen in love with wallpaper. I want my house to be hung in wallpaper (at least in one or two rooms). And maybe in the nice wallpapers that are actually fabric. I was wondering today why we call it wallpaper exactly. I realize that wallpaper is indeed paper you paste on your wall, but that hasn't always been the case. I was talking to a classmate and she imagines that wallpaper probably originated with hanging tapestries on your wall, which eventually morphed into wallpaper that was made of cloth, which in turn became wallpaper as we know it. So, why don't we call it wallfabric? or wallcloth? But I digress. Anyways, the Gardner museum was cool. We went to look at the way that they exhibit books and papers and things--they have some interesting practices...

Courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
And then we finished off the day at BPL where we looked at some different exhibition practices, and also looked at the differences in conservation practices between places like NEDCC and public libraries. It's a pretty stark difference--libraries typically don't worry about long term conservation as much with their circulating collections.

Basically, I love field trips. It was super nice to have a conversation over lunch about ways to exhibit items and then to walk over to the Gardner and see  how they exhibit stuff and then a short train ride takes us to BPL to see what they do. It is a fantastic way to learn. And it works so well with our small class. I admit that I was pretty nervous about a class of 4 people, but I'm feeling really good about it now. Let's hope that the last few days of class end as pleasantly as these last few have been.

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