“Don’t open boxes.” This was the dry reaction of a WAM staff member after I had shared my find of a large box full of 13 binders in a storage room at the museum. The binders were each titled, “press book” and were dated by academic year. As I wiped away a few centimeters of dust off of the cover of the first binder, I was hopeful yet hesitant at what I would find.
It was more than I expected. Newspaper clippings, photographs, press releases, posters, opening invitations…. oh my! Each binder contained an explosion of ephemera covering exhibits and programming at the University Gallery from approximately 1957-1969. Each piece was neatly placed on pages and covered with clear plastic sheets.
This find came at an interesting time, as it happened just one day before I finished processing and documenting the last box, #218, of the WAM Collection at the University Archives (more on this later).
But although I have reached the last box at the Archives, through the simple act of opening boxes at WAM, I realized, as long as there is a WAM, there will always be more boxes to open.
I must now in good faith scan the pages of the press books to create digital versions, and then dutifully prepare the press books to be transferred to the Archives to be preserved in future “last” boxes… 219… 220… and so on.
But until I am finished with this latest discovery, I will likely heed sound advice, and refrain from opening any more boxes for the moment. I have a lot of scanning… and reading… to do:
Rebecca Wilson is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota, completing a minor in Museum Studies. She also serves as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Weisman Art Museum.