antique millinery

I’m going to be cataloging hats! 

I suppose that needs some explanation.  Part of the museum studies certificate program I am currently working on is a practicum, a minimum of 30-40 hours total working in an actual museum doing actual museum work.  It’s mostly left up to us as individual students to find a museum and arrange for this to happen. 

So today I went to the Meeker Mansion, the historic house built by Ezra Meeker, an Oregon Trail pioneer and one of the first settlers and driving forces in the Puyallup Valley, and met with the curator to see if they could use me in their collections department, because that’s the part of museum work I’m most interested in. 

I love the Meeker Mansion.  It reminds me of nothing so much as a frontier version of the Mark Twain House, all Victorian gingerbread and stained glass and antiques.  One of the museum’s larger collections is of textiles, antique quilts and clothing and linens.  Part of this collection is about 80-100 women’s hats, ranging from before the turn of the 20th century into its middle.  They’ve never been accessioned, or cataloged, or labeled, or photographed.  Or researched, for that matter.  I start next week, two days a week for about four hours a day.

I’m going to be cataloging hats!  

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Categories: museum school, museum work, volunteering | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “antique millinery

  1. ohh sounds like fun (says the historical costumer).How are clothes handled?

  2. Yeah, I think it will be [g].Clothes are handled similarly to the hats so far as marking (the accession number is written on twill tape and sewn loosely to the item), cataloging, and recording goes — storage depends on what the item is/the condition as to whether it's stored on a hanger or flat in a box. The museum has an incredible collection (for a museum of its size) of textiles of all sorts, from table linens to clothing to quilts. It's quite amazing.

  3. How cool! Should be great fun to work with the hat collection.And here's one of those weird path-crossing coincidences. My husband, Scott Meeker, has a distant connection to Ezra. That guy got around! Love the old photos of him, out on the trail. I've never been to his house – hope to one day!

  4. That sounds like a great match; congratulations!

  5. Kathleen, if you do get out here to see the mansion, let me know so that we can meet in person. And filkferengi [g], I hope it is. It's going to be an interesting project.

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