As most people know, museums have thousands of objects that are in their care. The odds of an object actually making it on exhibit is very low. That is why getting collections on-line and spreading the word of their existence through research is so important.
This past weekend I attended the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in Deerfield, MA. It was a great conference about Clothing, Fashion, and Identity in New England, from the 18th through the 20th century. I was one of the twenty speakers who presented their research. This seminar gave me the opportunity to highlight a sewing diary in our textile collection and 1890s dresses from our costume collection (see my blog post here for more details).
Since I am the curator of ATHM’s collection it is not surprising that these objects were the focus of my research, but it was with great pride that two other researchers used ATHM’s collection in their research, and presented their findings at the seminar. That means ATHM and its objects were represented three times in the course of one weekend! Linzy Brekke-Aloise from Stonehill College presented, “Clothes that is fit to wear”:Fashion, Wage Work, and Community among Female Textile Workers in New England, 1825-1865. Dr. Brekke-Aloise used extensive images from the library collection, and one of the 1840s dresses from the costume collection. A 1950s printed skirt from the costume collection was also highlighted in Elena Sarni’s presentation of Folly Cove Designers.
It moments like those when I beam with pride, like that of a parent, when I see our collection shared with others. When that happens, I know we have done our job well.