Labels, labels, labels
By Mark Carnall, on 7 February 2011
Well where does one go from the heady heights of boxes in museum collections? Well of course, it’s labels. I have a big pile of labels now made even bigger by last week’s discovery. Some labels are all we have left of specimens which have since left the collection, other labels provide a key piece of information that can transform the ‘value’ of a specimen. However I’ve kept these to keep me sane in those days when nothing seems to be going right. I’ve been holding onto these two for quite a while so please indulge this cathartic post. the images have been slightly tweaked with so the writing is legible on a screen.
This first label gives a valuable insight into how a curator works. There’s some data? No, there’s no data? No actually there’s no data that I can find right now. “Will come back to at end” is a fine epitaph for all walks of museum professional that I might well steal.
This label really chimes with me too. For all the alleged efficiency that has been brought to work places with technology, when it fails completely preventing you from doing work you can’t help but want to give up sometimes.
I know the curator who made these notes and so it could be quite naughty posting these here, however, in my younger naive days I swore to never leave such notes for my successor but I’m proud to say that I’ve now left such a paper trail that not only suffices to help work with the collection but also gives a nice little nugget of the ethnography of museum curators. So much to do, so little time…