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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Guest blog: The mysterious American Travel Album

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 10 August 2012

Guest blog by Erin Schuppert, University of Boston and Intern, UCL Art Museum

I began my five-week internship at UCL Art Museum in the beginning of July and I have been busy ever since. I have assisted with a photography project, been introduced to collections care, done copyright research and been in contact with copyright holders, made preparations for researchers and a class, taken inventory, and performed other daily tasks. Despite this long list of experience I’ve gained here at UCL, I still had time to do some of my own research. It all started with the last day of photography, when in the back of the room, Krisztina opened the small corner cabinet and pulled a rather large box from the bottom, placing it on the table and informing me that the museum knows very little about this object.

We slowly opened the lid of the custom-made box and inside was large, brown and green leather-bound book entitled “Travel Album.” I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the inside of the tome, but it looked old and almost forgotten, and so, being hopelessly nostalgic, it intrigued me. Krisztina opened it up to one of the middle pages and I saw before me two sepia-toned images of Yosemite. I had recently travelled to Yosemite National Park in Northern California, so I recognized the landmarks shown in the pictures. I carefully flipped through the next few pages and saw Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. Then, just a few more yellowing pages after that, I saw an image of Palace Hotel in San Francisco… I stayed there only two years ago! It did of course look a bit different in the photograph, which I have dated roughly back to the 1890s, than it did when I saw it in 2010, but as soon as I read the inscription in the album and recognized it as the same Palace Hotel in which I had rested my head, I was instantly inspired to find out more about this object. (more…)