Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week 2- May 24 and 26th

This week my job was to get to know the library and the museum a little better. I began exploring the stacks more and learning what is there and what kinds of questions the books answer and how I would go about finding the answers. One of the books I found really interesting was the Dictionary of Artists' Models. I never really though about art in that way before...there were actual models for these works of art. I looked up one of my favorite artist, Edvard Munch and found out that he used the same girl quite often and her name was Tulla (Mathilde) Larsen. Their relationship read like a soap opera. It was quite fascinating. Love triangles, exotic places, guns, the works.

I also came across a reference about Isaac Delgado. It was titled Isaac Delgado: His Life and Impact on New Orleans and the State of Louisiana by Elloyse Garthwaite and Tom Ireland. The characters I found the most interesting in the book weren't from the Delgado family, but the political characters at the time. One man, Henry J. Hearsey was a Bourbon Reactionary and was a man filled with hate...the list of things he could tolerate would probably be far shorter than the list of things he despised. He was a white supremacist who hated the north, African Americans, white reformers and public education. He was very interesting to me. Another character was Charles T. Howard. He was a vindictive man, who, after being denied membership to the Metairie Racing Club, vowed he would not rest until the club was destroyed. He later bought the club, turned it into a cemetery and was buried there. Now that, my friends, is commitment.

I then took a tour of the galleries with Shelia and got to see the amazing exhibition of Madeline Albright's pins. They were absolutely amazing and creative and colorful and full of meaning. My favorite is the one that had concrete from the Berlin wall. It was so crude and simple in its beauty and symbolism. I learned a little about each floor and will be walking through it more often to get to know the galleries. This will help me answer questions that might come up about the collection.

Later in the week I had to use an extra reference book to decipher another one. The Monogram Lexikon is in German, and I needed the dictionary to navigate the book and to understand the indices. I couldn't help but think that the signatures and stamps that are found in the Monogram Lexikon are art among themselves. How much though and effort got put into those signatures?

I then helped get periodicals together to be sent off to the bindery and then got to do some research on the project Shelia has me working on this semester. The amount of information out there about museums and their libraries is far between. I know why Shelia needs help getting some research done, it isn't easy because there isn't much out there, hence putting together this project.

Once again I got to take a walk at lunch time and this time I walked through the sculpture garden and got to spend time among the beautiful and sometimes creepy sculptures. Blue Dog by George Rodrigue is one of my favorites...

And this spider gave me the heebie jeebies. Even though it was kind of creepy, it's good in that it does invoke some sort of emotional response. So much fun!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week 1: May 17 and 19

This week was the first week of my practicum at the New Orleans Museum of Art Felix J. Dreyfous Library. To say the least, my brain is in overdrive processing everything I have learned thus far. To say the most, I am having a great time. So far I am going to have to look back at my cataloging notes to refresh myself on Dewey and Cutter constructing and the different fields and how to punctuate the fields. I have done a little copy cataloging, and need to brush up on it. Cataloging seems like such a breeze in class, but in the real world, where people are counting on you to catalog the book properly so that they can find it, the pressure is on, and I find myself sweating it a little. It is a slow process, but Shelia (the librarian) is patient and such a wonderful teacher. You can't expect everything to be instant. It takes a lot of work for those books to get on the shelf.
I am glad I am of the generation that remembers card catalogs...yes, the giant wood thing that is gathering dust in the back closet of your library...I'm actually using it. I have to say, even though it is looking through cards, it's not much different than looking for something in the computer. You still have to think of all the terms and fields the terms could be in of a book you are looking for, but instead of typing it, you just look for it in the drawers. Even with the electronic system I use at my regular job I sometimes still have to type in several different things before I find what I am looking for, and the same thing with the card catalog. Sometimes you get it first try and sometimes you have to get creative. It's not hard to get creative with this thing.

I am loving it. It reminds me of my elementary school days of browsing the cards and being in awe of what I could find in the library. I'm having some mad flashbacks. But, I digress.

I am starting to learn my way around the references available and I am having a good time looking through them. Shelia and myself come from similar backgrounds (and similar areas, she used to work across the bridge from where I do!) and knows that learning about a special library is a slow process, but I think I will do OK. It just takes some experimenting and looking, which I love to do anyway. I'm a proverbial bull in a china shop when it comes to information, I don't know where to go next.

Shelia and I also discussed a project that I am to work on for the summer. I will be doing research on art museum libraries and community involvement. I am to come up with references and an outline on the role of the museum library in the museum and how to be an integral part of the museum. I am truly looking forward to doing that research.

NOMA is such an interesting place, and so many interesting and knowledgeable people are there from the docents on up to the curators. I am truly looking forward to the rest of the summer...and more walks with views like this: