The curatorial team is in full swing moving the permanent collection to our new purpose built storage area. This storage has been specifically designed to house Fanshawe Pioneer Village’s diverse collection of material culture – ranging from archives (paper documents, photographs and books), to ceramics, and from delicate textiles (bed coverings, clothing, and hangings) to robust agricultural and trades implements and equipment. The diversity of objects in our collection is one of the most exciting aspects for me as a Curator, as it permits the creation of varied and unique exhibits and programming, however, it also serves as one of my greatest challenges in terms of proper storage and conservation.
Consider the assortment of sizes in our collection – from a tiny piece of type or a hatpin, to a large plough weighing several hundred pounds. Then, there is the great variety of materials to take account of – wood, glass, china, ceramic, metals, stone, bone, horn, fur, plastics, fibres, paper….the list goes on! Each type of organic or inorganic material requires a particular environment to remain stable, and maintaining this balance is critical to the long-term preservation of artifacts – especially because this is our main function and priority as a public museum and a community steward.
Metal requires a less humid environment to prevent corrosion, while an extremely dry setting will cause wooden objects (and the adhesives...
In all the excitement and confusion of getting our massive capital projects settled, amid the deafening cries of anguish and the gnashing of teeth, it has been easy to forget that we have a pioneer village to look after. A spring that felt like endless winter has not helped either, but now the worm has finally turned and warmer climes are upon us. The warmth has lured us out of our posh new abode and drawn everyone up into the village to stretch our creaking limbs, scratch our hides, turn our pasty faces to the sun and get the site ready for another season.
Finally, the sun is shining! April has been a cool, wet month which afforded little opportunity to get into the historic Village to prepare for our May opening. However, since staff and volunteers were working furiously to complete the set-up of the Spriet Family Visitor Centre and finish the renovation of the Maintenance Shop, it was just as well! On Saturday, April 20th we celebrated the completion of this 10 year goal. Almost 200 donors, volunteers, members, board and staff attended an elegant evening in their honor.