I haven’t talked about my job on here recently and since I haven’t been able to come up with a better topic to write about since my last post it seems like a great time for an update! I am still working at the Indiana Historical Society and loving it! I finished a large cataloging project back at the beginning of the year and have since started on a similar yet completely different project since then. My original project involved updating and making corrections to the current records for the clipping files collection. This collection is massive and took me almost 7 and a half months to do. It is pretty just a mish-mash of different newspaper clippings and other manuscript materials on a variety of topics, some world related others specific to Indiana counties. Not only did I have to make corrections to the records, I also had to go through each file and put the clippings in order by date. This way I had the right date for the record and also made it more chronological for patrons to look through. Everyday my finger tips would become discolored from the ink and had a weird, but comforting, old paper smell.
I thought I was finally free of inky fingers and old paper smell, but my next project was more clipping files, but different. The project I am working on now is our Black History Biography Project and is made up of clipping files of notable black people from Indiana and from the United States. These files are different because I am creating the entire record from scratch. I get to do a little research on the people, write out my own descriptions, and add my own tags. It has been extremely interesting learning more about Black History. I mean there are the usual suspects like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Madame C.J. Walker, but there are also just random Indiana natives tossed into the mix as well. I’ve learned about two brother detectives who would have made a great buddy cop show, I’ve learned about women striving to make their communities better, and I’ve learned about black history in Indiana as a whole.
Moving on to my second job at IHS, digitization! At the beginning of the year I worked on the Indiana at 200 collection which involved editing and uploading various iPhone pictures taken all over the state. After I wrapped that up, I started working on adding different images to different collections. These came from orders made by patrons that the digitization department decided would be great additions to the online collection. A lot of the images were World War I postcards that featured towns, soldiers, battles, and more. There were also a bunch of World War I letters from the collection, the saddest one about a soldier who died of the flu on November 1st, 1918. He had written in October, the family hadn’t heard from him and wrote him when news broke the war was over, the letter detailed how happy they were and they couldn’t wait for him to come over. The next letter was written by a family friend a couple of weeks later after they found out he wouldn’t be coming home.
I finished that project and have gone back to working on good old Larry Foster. The Larry Foster collection is an extremely large collection of images taken by Larry Foster throughout his photography career. When I first started working on this project and for the digitization department, we were on his World War II photographs. But since there were a lot of folks working on uploading, the folks who do the actual digitization couldn’t keep up and we ran out of boxes, i.e. the other projects. Now that I am back to Larry, the war is over and we have entered into the 1950’s. The photos are still pretty interesting but not World War II interesting. A lot of the images are of old local Indianapolis businesses and the Indiana State Fair. There are still quite a few famous 1950’s actors and actresses like Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck. You never know what is going to pop up next and its always surprising.
My position here is only part-time (29 hours a week) and it isn’t permanent (2-3 years at most), unless more funding comes through. I’ve loved working here though and have learned so much in my first year working in the museum field. I continue to apply to various jobs that interest me that are full-time but nothing has bitten yet. But I won’t give up hope and I’ll just keep on chugging away at IHS!