Monday, November 19, 2012

Completing Projects

Yesterday's work at the archive was more of the usual, except I focused on completing some of my projects that still had loose ends. This included accessioning and filing away the last remaining materials in the Arai Family collection. I have been saving some of the most important pieces to be accessioned last so that hopefully we can get more information on them before we put the information into the computer. This includes the Purple Heart that was awarded to Mr. Arai for his valiant efforts during the Second World War. I have never seen a Purple Heart so close in person before, so it is very exciting to be able to be part of the effort to preserve and protect it. There is of course a undeniable irony that the nation that is incarcerating his family should also be the nation that awards him with the highest honor demonstrating the nation's trust and gratitude. However, even with this unfortunate juxtaposition in mind, we should remember that his Purple Heart was earned for his individual bravery and should not be burdened by the conditions that surround it. His courage should not be tainted by the injustices of the internment camps.

Aside from the Arai Family collection, I also cleaned up some of my entries for the collection of Scene magazine issues. I find that editing entries is much easier for me than creating them. Perhaps because I am better at spotting a specific error in a detail than keeping track of my overall goal, at least on the computer. When entering the accession information I always find myself stalling and trying to remember what I meant to type in each section, or which sections I ought to fill out versus those I should ignore. However, when I return to an old entry, I can immediately identify everything that could use improvement and am quick to find better solutions. Because of this imbalance in my skills I have taken the task of double checking everyone's entries, as opposed to entering them from scratch.

There are also many documents that need to be reorganized into new larger containers. The actual job is not complicated in the least, but the difficulty comes in finding the perfect sized box for the documents we have, especially because we have used up most of our pre - made boxes at this point. Also, the documents are not in of themselves very valuable. They merely hold information that might be of interest to someone in the future. So deciding what quality material they deserve is also part of the task of reorganizing. Since we are running low on some of our materials, and simply do not want to waste something we are sure to need in the future, I have been working out the best way to keep the documents organized without much waste. It may be one of the less exciting projects, but it is still a necessary part of keeping up the integrity of the archive.

Lastly, a final project that I am determined to complete before the end of the year involved accessioning  quite a few sports jackets, t - shirts, jerseys, and miscellaneous equipment from the CNAA (Chicago Nisei Athletic Association). I packaged the objects into proper storage materials, but have yet to find the best place for them in the archive. Until we find a place where the objects can be together without displacing too many others, we have decided to delay accessioning the items. When you accession materials, one of the most important steps is adding the correct location of the object to the file, because without it, the object may as well be lost. In order to avoid any discrepancies that might happen if we relocate the items, we have decided to complete our other projects before tackling the sportswear. However, we have reached a point where taking on the CNAA objects is feasible, so in my next visit I will be sure to work on those objects.

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