Museum Mystery: Part I

One of the challenges of a small museum with limited resources is continuity. Despite changes geared toward greater continuity of collections management, and the success of these changes with collections and objects acquired more recently, there are still some grey areas surrounding older objects and their origins in the museum’s collections. Of course, this is bound to happen when objects have been accumulating at the museum since 1945! My┬ámentors and┬ápredecessors have developed improved cataloging and documenting procedures, which I am in the midst of learning, and this is very helpful for ensuring objects are properly recorded. But this is also challenging when faced with decades of changing directors, locations, and methods, which cause some information to be lost. Currently I am working on a very large collection of pre-historic stone artifacts; mostly lithic technologies such as projectile points, scrapers and flakes. The challenge with this collection is, while we have inventory sheets for them from recent years, and temporary numbers, the name the collection has been referred to doesn’t exist! Or rather, we don’t have a donor whose name matches the collections name! Which leaves us….where did all these points come from? When did we even get them? Luckily, an box with old records that appear to relate to this collection has appeared so hopefully it holds some useful information on where this collection came from and when it arrived. The mystery continues!!