So. Tired.

Spent the day grubbing around in the Museum’s satellite office and warehouse. We got rid of old furniture that was just taking up space, and cleaned the office side of the facility from top to bottom. That was the easy part.

Tomorrow the Museum’s staff will start the annual cleaning and inventory of the warehouse, where we store our natural history collection. Literally hundreds of stuffed birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, shells and geological specimens. Jar upon jar upon jar… upon… jar… of preserved specimens studied a hundred years ago by the University’s students of Medicine. The Natural History specimens served as the nucleus of the Museum’s collection — we’re what is known as a “general” museum, meaning, we have a range of different kinds of objects, because we’re a University museum, and therefore a teaching institution. Our collection includes natural history specimens, visual art, Philippine ethnographic artifacts, religious images, and numismatics.

The University was established in 1611 (yes, we’re older than Harvard) and the collection was started in 1687. Sixteen eighty-seven, you read that correctly. Which is why we have a MASSIVE collection, only 2% of which is on permanent display due to a lack of exhibition space. *sigh*

So much stuff needs to be de-accessioned, but so many of the old, tattered critters are endangered now, having been collected literally over a century ago, when people hadn’t even considered the idea of animal extinction.

It would be wonderful if we had pots of money to fund conservation measures for the entire collection. We don’t. So the most we can do for now is store and clean the objects. The trouble with being an institution that is just a department of a larger entity is that we have to fight for our budget, and we can’t just act in the interests of the collection and our stakeholders as we see fit. We have to abide by the academic calendar, we struggle to maximize our very limited storage and exhibition space (oh, the trials and tribulations of being a museum in a facility that was never built for that purpose), we have to justify conservation expenses at every turn instead of just forging ahead when they need to be implemented… the list of challenges goes on and on. It’s excellent training for thinking around corners, though. 😀

I’m exhausted today, but I already know that tomorrow is going to be a descent into a lower circle of hell. I do look forward to renewing my friendships with these poor, battered, dusty things, though. I’ve already briefed our staff on proper handling procedures and documentation processes, but I doubt that even the severely streamlined system I’ve got in place will get us done in three days.

So tired.

Need hugs. And a venti mint mocha.

That is all.

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4 Comments

  1. Slow-one said,

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Hi M, looks crazy fun and very cool. A little scary too (Stuffed things eek…) See you at IB

    S

  2. miranoriel said,

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 5:57 am

    😮

    ‘Tis the Slow-one! *pouncehugtickle*

    Yeah, it’s pretty freaky, but I’m used to it. Besides, people are scarier any day.

  3. Ben said,

    Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Sending a mental Venti Mint Mocha your way… although, I think it would be beneficial to try & sway you toward the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. 🙂

    I can only imagine how massive an undertaking you have on your hands every year. Good luck, and I hope it went well.

  4. miranoriel said,

    Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Ben! Hiiiiiiii! 😀

    Thanks for the Venti Mint Mocha, I could use one right about now. Hmm… Cinnamon Dolce Latte, eh?

    *makes a note to try that, maybe later today*

    Well, the massive undertaking… continues. LOL!

    Working in a museum like mine, with our broad spectrum of objects due to our nature as a teaching, university museum geared towards being an alternative but complementary means of education (egad, that was wordy), is pretty much a lifelong effort.

    Our collection was started by the University in 1682 as a learning resource for the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy students , and the Museum was formally established in 1872. You can just imagine how many animal, mineral and botanical specimens there are to document and carry out conservation measures for. Don’t even get me started on the Visual Art collection, or the Memorabilia, or the Ethnographic artifacts, or the Philippine Religious Image collection. 😀

    This is my tenth year working there, and there’s stuff I haven’t even touched. No joke.

    When I die, they’ll stuff me and put me in a display case as well. LOL!


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