For my second week, I worked four days starting Monday.
Our first task was to clean up the vault tour we set up last week. This meant checking the accession numbers on all the objects and placing them back in the cabinet we got them from. While down in the vault, I then did some research on the weapons in Valley Forge's collection to choose some to put on my exhibit. I made a list of all those I thought could fit well, including all the fowling pieces in the collection and all the rifles. I wanted to use some muskets as well, of which Valley Forge has many. So I narrowed them down by which ones were more likely to have been owned by civilians, including a worn dog-lock musket and one that was stamped by New Hampshire with a stamp used when the colony was impressing civilian arms into colonial service. I also selected a French musket for variety. I avoided picking muskets made for government contracts or imported by the colonies to fight the American Revolution.
I then attended a meeting about a door lock in one of the buildings. While I won't provide specifics, it was interesting to see how a relatively minor issue which had a simple fix could be argued over and cause such a large commotion among park leadership. While it did feel like it might have been blown out of proportion, it was good to see the different perspectives of different department leaders, and how each department thinks a bit differently.
I then checked out how Valley Forge's Omeka site works, to help prepare my exhibit. I made a lot of style changes on my Omeka exhibit theme to make it more readable and less stale. This involved me learning more CSS and HTML, which made it take longer than it would have for a seasoned CSS veteran.
As usual, Tuesday was housekeeping day, and I helped clean Washington's HQ and Varnum's just the same as I had last week. After this, we moved several reproduction objects (camp equipment/furniture mostly) from storage in a dirty garage to a cleaner storage space. We also hosed down several objects to move later to the Muhlenberg brigade huts.
On Wednesday we finally went to clean the exhibit cases in the stables by Washington's HQ. The stables have Pennsylvania clay as a floor, and it gets all over the cases, and eventually starts building up inside the plexiglass. Ideally indoor cases should be kept indoors, which works in theory. In reality however you only have the resources you have, and you get no choice but to make them work. So we opened the cases and cleaned them out. Hopefully they won't need to be cleaned for another year or so.
After this we moved the objects we prepped for the huts over to the huts and placed them on exhibit there. The exhibits are constantly evolving as new objects are added and the rest are rearranged. After this I continued research on my weapons exhibit.
Thursday started by moving archival boxes down into the archives. These boxes had records from the latest archaeological dig, which had been done prior to an asbestos remediation project. Any time the park builds or changes the landscape, they must first do archaeology on the site to preserve any artifacts, so new archaeology is often going into the collections. We would deal with the actual objects later, but for the moment getting the boxes from the office into collections was enough.
Once we got archives in place, we looked for records on weapons for me to use as research. Most of the records focused on military weapons, and were not that helpful for civilian weapons, although I did learn more about longrifles and their development.
After this I continued work on my Omeka theme, and then got outfitted to fire a cannon on July 4.