At The Durham Museum, exhibits are only part of our story. There is a lot of work done behind the scenes to research the items that are on display and keep the objects in our collection in good shape. Our Collection Manager, Becky Putzer, oversees the long-term preservation of our collections and often comes across interesting objects that are not on public display. Every few weeks Becky will post about some of these artifacts and their stories, providing insight into how the museum preserves them for future generations. We hope you will find a new appreciation for the museum as a place to experience engaging exhibits and events, but also as a repository of some pretty neat artifacts that help researchers, interns and the public learn about history!
Spotlight on the Collection
Good afternoon! Recently during our IMLS grant work, our Collection Facilitator, Haiden, came across a great collection of documents from Omaha’s early history. Their pristine condition made it easy to handle them and read their contents; this sparked Haiden’s curiosity and she shares a little about what she found below. _____________________________________________________ How did a metal box full of documents from… Continue Reading Always Check the Safe!
One of our interns, Ryan Diego, worked extensively with a photo collection that was marked “Old Time Photographs”. It was wonderful to have someone dedicated to capturing these images digitally. In addition, he continued the work of scanning and metadata-ing Bostwick prints to create a more complete portfolio of Bostwick’s work on our website. Both types of images can be… Continue Reading Old Time Photographs
This year was an exciting one for a certain painting in our gallery. Early Council Bluffs by painter and pioneer George Simons was featured in the book Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables compiled by Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. This book was released to supplement the exhibition of the same name. One of Grant Wood’s inspirations… Continue Reading An Iowa artist connection that leads to New York
Hello. This week I am featuring work done by one of our Collection Facilitators, Haiden Nelson. In our Photo Archive we have a large collection of glass plate negatives (mainly in the Bostwick-Frohardt collection) that have survived all this time. However, some didn’t make it through in one piece, but lucky for them Haiden has lovingly taken them into… Continue Reading Putting It All Together: The Assembly and Digitization of Glass Plate Negatives
This week I am featuring a gem I stumbled upon in our archival collection. It is a newspaper called The Star and later The West Omaha Star which ran from 1933-1940 and featured news of the Walnut Hill Neighborhood area. Jimmie McGaffin tells his story in the final editorial as he suspends his paper: You may note that he says… Continue Reading The Little Newspaper You Never Knew About
We just said goodbye to another intern class here at the museum, but the reach of their work goes beyond their time in the building! Intern Ryan Hanrahan worked with letters written during World War II. He scanned, cataloged, and transcribed them for future use. They are also now stored nicely in acid free folders in an acid free box… Continue Reading Intern Feature
Hello. Today’s topic: Place your bets! We very recently received a donation of three notebooks in a metal safe box. Pretty normal-looking stuff, but the story and content is the fun part! These notebooks contain betting figures, names, and profits carefully managed by Eddy Barrick. Barrick and a business partner Sam Ziegman controlled gambling in the area and eventually moved… Continue Reading Place your bets!
Hello! Today’s topic: Bostwick’s Caribbean Cruise Photos The really interesting thing about the Bostwick Collection, besides his subject matter, is that he switched from glass plates to film during his career. He took photos from the turn of the century through the early 1940s! While we have both film and glass plate from other photographers, the collection is usually all… Continue Reading Bostwick’s Caribbean Cruise Photos
Hello everyone, Today’s topic: Historic Paper Currency Although The Durham has some of the large Byron Reed coin collection on display, my heart belongs to the paper currency. Take a look for it in the exhibit or on our website here: http://durhammuseum.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p15426coll8/searchterm/currency/order/nosort The collection ranges from 1770s colonial bills to 1860s Confederate notes to a 1892 bank note from Trenton,… Continue Reading Historic Paper Currency
Hello! Today: Captain David Haney’s letter A short one this time. One of the most touching things I have come across is this simple letter. It was written by Captain David Haney to his future son-in-law, John Warren. Captain Haney was a steamboat captain and so he notes that he is sending the letter from the “Office of the Steamer… Continue Reading Captain David Haney’s Letter