Refining our Ethnographic Basketry Database
By Elizabeth Kallenbach
Anthropological Collections Manager
Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Four of the museum’s Anthropological Collections volunteers pivoted to remote work in 2020, completing a comprehensive review of the images in our new, online Native American Ethnographic Basketry Collection database. With 9,000 images representing more than 1,900 baskets, the project was a major undertaking. Fortunately for us, volunteers Carolee Von Shillagh, Elizabeth Uhlig, Jacque Allen, and Karla Rusow were up to the task, despite the challenges of working from home.
Drawing on their years of experience working with MNCH basketry collections, the volunteers divided the database by geographic region and then went to work identifying any entries that still require editing. They combed through each image, checking for the appropriate reference scales and catalog numbers and noting whether any entries need additional images. Their combined list of edits not only enabled us to update and refine the database, but also represents an incredibly useful reference for future collections photography and data management efforts. Our deepest thanks to these outstanding volunteers for their continued support of the museum’s cultural stewardship mission!
Header image: Jacque Allan (left) and Carolee Von Shillagh at work in the museum’s collections center, pre-pandemic
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