Unpacking a Museum: Part 2

Well, the museum re-opens in less than two months now…

Malfoy panicking

But nobody panic! We have it all under control.

Our 5000+ artifacts came in three shipments over the course of one month, with our final shipment of artifacts arriving just last Thursday. As you may recall from my previous post, I was put in charge of the collection’s return. I gotta admit…the entire operation has gone over a whole lot better than I expected!

The system we put in place is pretty simple.

We had six people helping out (including myself), and we divided ourselves into three teams of two. Two teams unpacked the artifacts, noting if objects were missing or damaged, while one team re-shelved the artifacts. I was a member of the re-shelving team. I purposefully stationed myself at the finishing phase of the operation so that I could catch any mistakes and remedy them.

Of course, no project is without its challenges!

So far, the most frustrating thing about this project has been the actual re-shelving of artifacts.

Why? Well, when our storage units were taken apart for temporary storage, it seems nobody marked where the shelves went. This means that when the storage units were re-installed, the shelves were not necessarily put back at the correct height. So when we went to put some of the objects back on their shelves, they did not always fit…

Can We Panic Now

MRW all of our kachinas are too tall for their shelves.

Every time this happened, we had to stop everything we were doing just to readjust the offending shelf. This slowed down the process immensely, as you can imagine.

Live and learn, I guess! The important thing is that all the artifacts make their way back to their shelves. If I can do that, I’ve done my job!


A batch of artifacts waiting to go home!

As a matter of fact, I have learned a lot over the course of this project. The biggest takeaway for me has been the realization that being “the boss” is a lot harder than it looks. As someone who has never felt 100% comfortable handing out orders, I found managing a group of volunteers to be a bit tough. I was constantly second guessing myself. “Did I explain that well enough?” “Was I too harsh?” “Did I remember to thank them?”

It can be difficult to keep your eye on things when you have other responsibilities to attend to! In addition to supervising the artifact deliveries, it is also my job to develop exhibits, complete condition reports, and do a number of other things in preparation for our October 6th opening.

But, if truth be told, I am just happy doing what I love: museum work. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


“It is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”


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