My tasks during the first half of my internship were mostly confined to digitizing, barcoding and inventory. After seven weeks of work a continual pattern has manifested from my digitizing duties. I have recently started two new endeavors, however, that have created a welcomed change of rhythm. After Kirsty Gillespie left Chris and I set to photographing the Lihir collections. This does not mean just taking out a camera and snapping pictures at random of the objects. Photographing the anthropology collections is a process akin to school photo's in grade school. First, Chris and I set up a backdrop of white paper large enough to cover the entire background of the picture. Unlike grade school pictures the objects did not get to pick out there favorite color background--they all had white. A number attached to a color chart clearly showed which item was being photographed, and two very hot, bright lights illuminated the area where the object was to sit. On top of all this preparation the camera needed to be on precise settings in order to get the best picture, yet these setting were often different for each object making the process much longer than one would think. Chris and I did about half of the collection, and then ran into a problem. We had reached the spears. How were we to photograph 6ft+ spears that did not even fit on the table? We finally devised a plan to lay the white backdrop on the ground, and place the spear diagonally across it. In order for the camera to be far enough away from the object to encapsulate it we needed to place the tripod on a table. This odd arrangement worked, and I am pleased to say we photgraphed all of our Lihirian spears and arrows succesfully. We are still working our way through the rest of the Lihir collection, and will continue photographing other Pacific objects when that is finished.
The second new project I have been introduced to is an observational study to see how museum visiters act within certain areas of the msueum, and how well they respect the rules and instructions on signs. This project is still in its beginning phase, but I am very excited to be working with staff and interns from the Exhibits deparment.
My fellow intern Deanna has only one week left. I cannot believe I have 5 weeks left while she is almost done. It has been such a pleasure to work with her (and my other fellow interns in the CRC-Meghan and Natalie), and I will miss her company greatly when she leaves. Seven weeks into my internship and I am just as excited and proud to be working at the Field Museum as I was on the first day. I am afraid the next 5 weeks will fly by, and I will be leaving this amazing institution before I know it.
To learn more about the Field Museum's Pacific collections please visit: https://sites.google.com/a/fieldmuseum.org/pacific-web/