Fayman Archive: Sorting Things Out


Even as a kid, I loved to sort things.  I know, it seems a strange thing to enjoy, but I lived for sorting.  I always found it to be deeply satisfying to see a perfectly organized group of things, whether they were toys, books, or the clothes in my closet.  Simply put, organization is one of the most essential elements of collections management for all museums.

As the Collections Manager at MOPA, one of my most important duties is tracking the location of all of our works of art.  I need to know where each piece is at any given time.  While I have databases to help accomplish that, having an organized collection is truly what makes that task possible.  As we continue to process the Lynn G. Fayman archive one of the key goals is to group objects of like type for ease of storage and access.  The idea is that prints stay with prints, negatives stay with negatives, and papers stay with papers so that they can be found easily when needed and also benefit from receiving optimal storage conditions.  When we first received the Fayman Archive, all of the materials were housed in a number of shared boxes.  Our Curatorial volunteer Jerry and I spent a great deal of time going through the boxes and creating a detailed inventory of what the collection contained.  We then organized the collection into two main groups: Curatorial items and Library items.  The Library items were transferred to MOPA’s Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library for processing and housing.   The items that remained in Curatorial are now being sorted into groups based on medium: photographic prints, slides, and 35mm film reels.  Then, within those media groups, we will do one last sort to group items of common subject matter and creation date together.   

It’s rewarding to do the work that I do, especially seeing how I get to do things that I love every day!