Today we had a few visitors come into the museum and our mission was to show them the various wagons that their deceased grandfather had been keeping in the VMT on loan. This sounds simple enough, but the problem is that we did not have adequate records of these wagons nor did we know precisely where in the museum they were located. And mind you, it’s a rather large museum… with what feels like an even larger storage space in the back that is not open to visitors.
It took a little bit of walking back and forth and comparing different wagons to finally determine which ones were her’s… she only had her vague memories of riding around in the wagon as a young girl when she was on her grandpa’s farm to go off of. And of course, we did not have the needed paperwork either. So this experience just reiterated to me just how important it is to maintain complete paperwork for anyone in any job; if you don’t keep track of things, then it will come back to haunt you later on.
Granted, none of this was the curator’s fault; in fact it was mainly a result of the person in her job before her, and she was forced to clean up the mess that was left. This is another lesson, too: even when we are no longer in a job, our legacy lives on with how well we carried out our work and whether we furthered the mission of the organization/business/what have you. So we all need to be good stewards of whatever is in our possession, including a job!
I will say that although finding these artifacts that belonged to the woman who came in did involve some rigamarole, it was still fun listening to her stories and memories with the wagons in question. It reminded me that all of the artifacts and objects in the museum have touched many people’s lives in meaningful ways. So even if I see an old rusty wooden wagon, it is so much more than that to other people, and thus it is worthy of being in our museum.