This week started with a trolley tour of the park. The trolley tours are run by a private organization in cooperation with the park, so the tour guide is not a park ranger. However, at each stop where park rangers are, the guide is not allowed to provide interpretation, and the rangers provide it instead. This means the park still retains some control of the content.
While each tour guide is different, the guide whose tour I was on gave a remarkably up-to-date and nuanced history of the park. For example, included in his tour were remarks about public memory and memorialization, just not in academic lingo.
After the tour, I continued work on my exhibit. I began drafting long, academic versions of my labels for later conversion to short, readable labels. I also considered how I was going to organize my exhibit. That done, I started the process of converting them from paragraphs into short labels, deciding to stick with a 50 word limit. As always, this was a challenging process of elimination and clarification.
On Wednesday, I focused on helping complete the annual inventory. Items worth more than a certain value are considered controlled property and need to be inventoried every year, while other items are selected for inventory randomly every year (the idea being eventually all items will be accounted for). Since most of the high-value items are weapons, this is where we spent most of our time (which makes me perfectly happy). However, we did run into some difficulty finding some objects. Fortunately, I knew from before that two of the firearms were in a different cabinet than the one listed, so we could find those right away. On the other hand, some of the letters and books we had to find were also in a different place than they were listed, and it took us longer to find them. We also came across two wall guns which were called muskets in the catalog. When they were cataloged initially, the NPS did not have wall gun in its nomenclature book. We checked to see if it was in the updated nomenclature, and sure enough it was and we were able to update it in the record. The point of all this is that collections work is never done, as things can always be updated and refined.
I did not work Thursday this week, as I had to leave for annual training.