Sharing a wealth of expertise

The Smithsonian is responsible for a lot of stuff—More than 155 million objects and specimens at last count, and that doesn’t include millions of library volumes, digital collections and tens of thousands of cubic feet of archives. The stewardship of these collections is a enormous shared endeavor highlighted each year in the National Collections Share Fair.

The halls of the Arts and Industries Building were abuzz in early May as more than  300 people from 44 different Smithsonian units gathered for the second annual Collections Share Fair. The event celebrated and showcased pan-Institutional collaboration and stewardship of Smithsonian collections. The National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee hosted 20 different units who showcased their research and projects through tabletop discussions, poster displays, and conference presentations which all shared a simple theme—a passion for the continued advancement of collections stewardship. Topics included conservation, cryogenic collections, emergency preparedness, fire protection, information management and access, professional development, rehousing techniques, security, and storage environments.

Visitors in Grand Hall

Visitors talk with tabletop presenters and review project posters in the North Hall or the Arts & Industries Building at the 2018 National Collections Share Fair, May 9. (Photo by Walter Larrimore)
Photo: Walter Larrimore

In addition to commemorating the achievements of the Smithsonian community, the Share Fair celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the National Collections Program.

“It seems like it was just yesterday, when we developed the mission statement and programmatic goals of the National Collections Program in 1993,” said Director Bill Tompkins. “We have made significant progress since then—developing new strategies for improving collections care with a more pan-Institutional, strategic and integrated approach,” he continued. “We have come to acknowledge that an effective strategy for addressing our shared challenges depends on a collaborative, interdisciplinary Institution-wide approach – reflected in a number of our past and current pan-Institutional collections initiatives, many which are showcased today.”

Provost John Davis greeted the attendees and applauded the collective efforts made in the field of collections management and the ongoing enthusiasm of staff from across the Institution in upholding the Smithsonian’s role as a purveyor of public trust.

Visitors chat with presenters in Grand Hall

Visitors chat with presenterd at the National Collections Program 2018 Share Fair held at the Arts and Industries Building, May 9, 2108. (Photo by Walter Larrimore)

The Share Fair is one of the ways that NCP and the SCAC Professional Development Subcommittee are developing the Collections Professional Development Program. The mission of this new program is to provide a series of learning opportunities for Smithsonian staff to enhance their academic and technical training, continuing education opportunities offered by professional associations, and on-the-job experience to ensure the successful application of Smithsonian collections management policy and standards.  At the Share Fair, guests had the opportunity to support the development of the program by providing input on training needs through a Collections Training Survey.  This same survey will be available at the SI Staff Picnic in July and via an online survey later this year. There were also opportunities around the venue for staff to contribute topic ideas for the first Collections Collaboration Community (C3) Conference that will be held October 29 at the Ripley Center.

Thank you to all of the folks who came out to visit the Fair, the poster and presentation teams, the event support staff from Protection Services, Special Events, Smithsonian Facilities, Accounting Officer Shelly Cole; and volunteers from Collections Advisory Committee and Professional Development Subcommittee, Craig Blackwell, Paula DePriest, Miriam Doutriaux, Ricc Ferrante, Bob Horton, Amelia Kile, Laura Morse, Ann Shumard, Samantha Snell, Sarah Stauderman, Allaire Stritzinger, Bill Tompkins.

Group shot at presentation table

The National Collections Program team, from left, Allaire Stritzinger, Bill Tompkins, Sam Snell, and Amelia Kile. (Photo by Walter Larrimore)
Photo: Walter Larrimore

The posters from the 2018 Collections Share Fair will be on display in the Castle’s Schermer Hall and the Commons from July 2 through July 24.

  • 25 Years of Protein Analysis at the Museum Conservation Institute and the Proteomics Revolution. MCI: Tim Cleland and Caroline Solazzo
  • Adapting New Methods: NMAI’s First Textile Rehousing Project. NMAI: Gail Joice, Veronica Quiguango, Susan Heald, Ann McMullen, Lisa Anderson and Carlos Gomez
  • All Collections Matter: Establishing Legal Title for Non-Accessioned Collections.  NMNH: Katie Roberts, Jessica Nakano, and Kelsey Falquero
  • Ambient Sampling Methods for Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Museum Collections.  MCI: Alba Alvarez-Martin, Gwenaelle Kavich, and G. Asher Newsome
  • Assessment of Photographic Materials at the Archives of American Art.  AAA: Erin Kinhart
  • Boa Storage: Development and Execution. MCI: Courtney Bolin, Namrata Dalela, Miriam G. Murphy, John Weingardt, Allison Gentry, Jake Shonborn and Mary Ballard
  • Conservation and Digital Formatting of the Jervis McEntee Diaries.  AAA: Susan Cary and Karen Weiss
  • Laser Cleaning Iron Meteorite Corrosion: A Microstructural and Compositional Examination. MCI: Bartosz A. Dajnowski, Becky Kaczkowski and Edward Vicenzi
  • Maintaining Identity Across Iterations. SAAM: Dan Finn and Luke Moses
  • Making Education Collections Safe to Touch: Safety Assessments and Data Maintenance. NMNH: Katie Roberts, Jessica Nakano, and Kelsey Falquero
  • Microfade Testing at the Museum Conservation Institute. MCI: Dr. Thomas Lam
  • Providing a Safe and Secure Environment for Visitors, Staff and Collections. OPS
  • Recent Paintings Conservation Support for SI Museums and Collections.  MCI: Jia-Sun Tsang, Interns, Fellow, and MCI/SI Colleagues
  • SI Explorer/CDRS/CSS. SF/DPO/NCP: Amelia Kile, Lee Robertson, Elizabeth Sullivan and Jessica Warner
  • Synergy in Storage: Improving the Collections Inventory Process. NMAH: Morgan Blattenberg, Yve Colby, Colleen Davis, Stephanie Kurasz, Kaili Lockbeam and Caitlin Magill
  • Technical Study and Preservation of Photographically Illustrated Quilts at the Anacostia Community Museum. MCI: Shannon A. Brogdon-Grantham, Annaick Keruzec, Dr. Miriam Doutriaux, Dr. Gwénaëlle Kavich and Dr. Thomas Lam
  • The Effects of Consolidant Treatments and Organic Solvent Removal on Bones:  Using Stable Isotopes as Tracers for Alteration of Organic and Mineral Components. MCI: Christine A.M. France, Rebecca Kaczkowski, and Gwénaëlle M. Kavich
  • You Want to Hang a Space Suit? NASM: Cathy Lewis, Lisa Young, Jennifer Stringfellow, Adam Bradshaw, Liz Wissner, Jeannie Whited, Glenn Rankin, Brian McGarry, Arianna Carini, and Lauren Gottschlich

Allaire Stritzinger is an intern with the National Collections Program and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in museum studies with an emphasis on collections management and administrative policy. Samantha Snell is a collections management specialist with the Smithsonian’s National Collection Program. 

Posted: 14 June 2018
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