antique millinery

I’m going to be cataloging hats! 

I suppose that needs some explanation.  Part of the museum studies certificate program I am currently working on is a practicum, a minimum of 30-40 hours total working in an actual museum doing actual museum work.  It’s mostly left up to us as individual students to find a museum and arrange for this to happen. 

So today I went to the Meeker Mansion, the historic house built by Ezra Meeker, an Oregon Trail pioneer and one of the first settlers and driving forces in the Puyallup Valley, and met with the curator to see if they could use me in their collections department, because that’s the part of museum work I’m most interested in. 

I love the Meeker Mansion.  It reminds me of nothing so much as a frontier version of the Mark Twain House, all Victorian gingerbread and stained glass and antiques.  One of the museum’s larger collections is of textiles, antique quilts and clothing and linens.  Part of this collection is about 80-100 women’s hats, ranging from before the turn of the 20th century into its middle.  They’ve never been accessioned, or cataloged, or labeled, or photographed.  Or researched, for that matter.  I start next week, two days a week for about four hours a day.

I’m going to be cataloging hats!