Managing Collections Storage

August 12th, 2016by Guest Blogger Filed under: Collections, Stories

Senior collection manager Britta Keller Arendt explains how the collections staff keeps track of our artifacts.

One question that Museum staff are frequently asked is “How many artifacts do you have in there?”, which is quickly followed by “How do you keep track of them all?”

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Senior collection manager Britta Keller Arendt and collections technician Serena B. Washington demonstrate proper handling of heavy artifacts to collections interns. All photographs by CHM staff.

The answers to these questions are complex and vary with each institution, but here at the Chicago History Museum, we have a dedicated team of collections professionals who work tirelessly to preserve the physical and intellectual integrity of the artifacts both on exhibit and in our storage facilities. Museums don’t have the space or resources to display every single artifact, so managing storage facilities is imperative to preserving collections. CHM is fortunate to be able to store a variety of artifacts—such as costumes, paintings, and decorative and industrial arts—on-site as well as at two off-site locations.

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I Got Rhythm: Art and Jazz since 1920

June 7th, 2016by Gary Johnson Filed under: Stories

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

I Got Rhythm

Ulrike Groos and Sven Beckstette. I Got Rhythm: Art and Jazz since 1920 / Kunst und Jazz Seit 1920. Stuttgart, Prestel (2015).

Ulrike Groos is the director of the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart, Germany, and this is the catalogue from the museum’s exhibition “that exemplifies the close connection between jazz and the fine arts.” The timing of the exhibition has a Chicago connection: “100 years ago, on July 11, 1915, a daily newspaper in Chicago published an article in which the term ‘jazz’ appeared probably for the first time in connection with the Afro‐American music style of the same name.”

Women Who Changed the World

May 23rd, 2016by Gary Johnson Filed under: Stories

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

Calkhoven
Laurie Calkhoven. Women Who Changed the World: 50 Amazing Americans. New York: Scholastic (2015).

This is a book for children that, not surprisingly these days, includes an edition on Kindle. Among the fifty women is Chicago’s Jane Addams.

Forty Blocks Oral History Interviews

May 16th, 2016by Peter Alter Filed under: Stories

DePaul University interns Catrien Egbert and Yasmin Mitchel are working on the Museum’s latest oral history initiative, Forty Blocks: The East Garfield Park Oral History Project. Through DePaul’s public history program, they were students of Peter T. Alter, the Museum’s director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History. Catrien and Yasmin are working with Peter now on the Forty Blocks project and describe here a major milestone in that effort.

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On Saturday, March 26, we were excited to be finally capturing the stories of those who would fill in the gaps of post-1970 East Garfield Park history. For over six hours, our teams interviewed twenty-three community members at Breakthrough’s FamilyPlex building. Breakthrough is the Museum’s partner in East Garfield Park and a social service agency with extensive neighborhood connections.

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The New Online Life of Books

April 26th, 2016by Gary Johnson Filed under: Stories

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

Isaac Arnold2

Chicago Historical Society. In Memoriam, Isaac Newton Arnold, Nov. 30, 1813–Apr. 24, 1884, Arthur Mason Arnold, May 13, 1858–Apr. 26, 1873. Kiev: Leopold Classic Library (2015).

This book was originally published by the Chicago Historical Society in 1885. Isaac Arnold was one of early Chicago’s most prominent citizens. He was a founder of the Society, a congressman, and the first biographer of his friend, Abraham Lincoln. His son, Arthur Arnold, died tragically by drowning in the Rock River.

More than a century and a quarter after the original publication, the Leopold Classic Library, based in Kiev, now offers a new paperback printing of this book (a .pdf version of the book also is available to those who purchase the paperback.) Many out‐of‐copyright publications of the Chicago Historical Society, including the Arnold book, also are available online at no cost through Google Books.

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