Hi! We are Deb Rose Van Horn, KHS Registrar, and Jennifer Donovan Spence, Churchill Weavers project assistant, and we just got back from a trip to speak at the Southeastern Museums Conference’s (SEMC) annual meeting and we’d like to share some of our adventures with you. The meeting was held in Colonial Williamsburg this year which made it a fun trip! While a lot of our time was spent in sessions to bring new information back to KHS we did get to explore the sights of Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, too. Here are some photos and stories from our trip.
Traveling from Louisville to Williamsburg
Jennifer: Today was a long day! We had an 8:40am flight out of Louisville which meant that Deb had to leave her house in Lexington around 6am. We spent a lot of time in airports today but we arrived at the hotel in Colonial Williamsburg by 5:30pm. That gave us enough time to check in and relax before meeting friends of ours from other museums for dinner. We spent the evening catching up with our friends before we had to start attending sessions and presenting papers the next day. Deb’s daughter asked her to take one of her stuffed animals (Boots the Monkey) with her and take some photos of him in different spots on the trip. Since there are not many photos from today, here is a picture of Boots in the airport!
SEMC annual meeting didn’t actually start until 1pm today so I spent the
morning walking around Colonial Williamsburg with Kyle Bryner, the registrar at
the Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University.
While I’d like to say we kept out of trouble, anyone that knows us will tell you that it is nearly impossible. Here is a photo of me and Kyle in the stocks at Williamsburg.
We also visited the print shop, the armory, the coffeehouse, and the capitol. The coffeehouse tour is fairly new but I’d highly recommend it. Not only do they interpret the building for the day you visit (they pick a year) but at the end they will offer you a refreshment. You have your choice of coffee, tea, or chocolate.
After a fun morning, we stopped for an early lunch and went back to get ready for the sessions. I was in two presentations that day. The first was called Just Ask and was put together by Mike Hudson of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville. That had three blind panelists and three museum professionals and we discussed what a good experience was for a blind individual in a museum and what a bad experience was. I got a lot of great ideas from this session and will definitely be sharing the ideas with the KHS staff when I get back.
The second session was one I put together called In the Aftermath of Putting Collections Online: True Stories of What Happens Next. I presented the KHS Objects catalog (http://www.history.ky.gov/objects) and spoke about some of the things we learned about promoting the database, compiling the database, etc.
The other presenters included: Tommie Rodgers from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art; Kyle Elizabeth Bryner from the Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University; and Betty Lyn Parker who is the Kentucky Online Arts Resource database coordinator for the Speed Art Museum. It was a great session and we had lots of good questions and feedback about the projects!
Jennifer: At 7:30 am, I met up with members of the Historic House Museum Affinity Group for their annual SEMC Hands-On Help Project. This year’s project was to paint doors, windows, and exterior trim on the Matthew Jones House at Fort Eustis. The weather turned too cold and damp to paint; instead, the archaeologists who manage the site gave us a detailed tour of the house and grounds. The house is stabilized and interpreted to show its architectural evolution. The main body of the Matthew Jones House dates to 1727 and is one of the oldest buildings owned by the Department of Defense.
I attended two sessions in the afternoon. The first was titled, Spotlight on Student Research in Museums: Technology. Three students discussed the application of virtual reality in museum projects. I found graduate student Austin Bell’s talk fascinating about how the Florida Museum of Natural History used a program called Google SketchUp to plan collections storage for over 600 artifacts.
The second session I attended was titled, Conservation Made Manageable. The session was presented by art conservator Erin Kelly and textile conservator Kate Rehkopf. My job at KHS is to help preserve a collection of 20,000 textiles made by Churchill Weavers. It is very important that I am well informed and up-to-date on best practices in managing museum collections. I was especially thrilled that Kate was available to answer my many questions about textile care and preservation.
Deb & Jennifer: That night, we went to an evening event at Jamestown and visited the Jamestown settlement galleries and the Archaearium. The two sites tell the history of the Jamestown Settlement and the archaeology that has occurred at the site of the original settlement. The Archaearium was built right over the foundations of one of the original buildings and glass panels let you see the foundations right through the floor. It was real treat to see the discoveries made at Jamestown.
Later that evening, we went to the Southeastern Registrars Association’s (SERA) annual respite. This year it was held at the Trellis restaurant. Deb currently serves on the board of SERA. As the vice-chair, this was a great opportunity for her to meet new and potential members and catch-up with our existing membership. We both agree it was a great event and the chocolate truffles they make at that place are well worth the trip!
Coming soon: Day 3!