The rainy weather of today did not dampen the activities in the archives. Indeed, the subject matter of my personal assignment involved two scrapbooks attached to the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida Collection. Up until this point, I had never processed a scrapbook and I relied on the knowledge and wisdom of my peers and supervisors to help me through this endeavor. Of course, this learning experience had some pitfalls and most were repairable. Overall, the lessons learned expanded my repertoire of archival techniques.
As noted in the previous post, the first step in the process includes photographing the scrapbook and its contents prior to proper preservation. Like yesterday, this task required assistance and Courtney lent me her time to accomplish this goal. Additionally, Chris Saclolo helped simplify the process by informing us of a tripod in the storage closet to be used in conjunction with the camera used yesterday. In utter amazement, we watched Chris erect and fasten the tripod to hold the camera in a downward position.
Knowing that I did not have to strain myself in taking all the pictures while standing on a chair relieved me. Unfortunately, we committed a major error while proceeding to take pictures of every page in one of the scrapbooks. We did not take into account the glare from the lights reflecting from sleeves in the scrapbook to disrupt the images in the pictures. Only after taking all the pictures did I realize my folly and we had to do the whole process over. This time we improvised using an umbrella and some dark archival material to limit the glare to tolerable levels to achieve the desired results.
The next step involved placing the photos on pages of a Microsoft Word document (in the sequence of the scrapbook’s pages) and printing them. Though the printouts were double-sided in an effort to conserve paper, one side became upside down. Mr. Ogreten did not mind, so the printouts remained as is. Dismantling the scrapbook became the most time-consuming step in the process.
Through this process, I came to learn why magnetic pages are not favored by archivists. The adhesive nature made extracting texts and pictures a difficult task. Using the rounded end of a scalpel, I carefully uprooted each item (unless the item was a sticker or a newspaper clipping, then I scanned and printed them). Though I applied extra care with photographs, I accidentally began separating a picture in two. I stopped myself before I damaged it further, but this picture now needs Chris to fix it.
Despite this misfortunate incident, I managed successfully process a third of the first scrapbook. Alas, further progress had to be postponed as the intercom system notified us that the library was entering its closing time, Mr. Benjamin also informed Joseph and me that we would be helping him take inventory tomorrow. Minding this, I cleaned my workstation and returned the materials and the cart back to their appropriate storage places. Afterward, I bid farewell to everyone for the day and left the premises.
In review, I thoroughly completed several steps in processing two primadonna scrapbooks. Tomorrow, such work will continue along with taking inventory of the archives. Until then, enjoy the evening and stay safe! Bye!