21 July 2013

The art museum... and Vincent Price

Have I mentioned that I work part time at an art museum? Very part time, as it happens, but enough that for the last year or so, I have been working to create (from scratch!) the small museum's permanent catalogue and inventory.

The museum was "begun" only about three years ago, but it was an organization/co-op/gallery space/group since the 50s, possibly before. Some of the early involvees are still around, but the museum as it is now, is the way it is because a particular gift was made to what was previously just an art center, and the gift of a collection, along with $1m, turned it into a small museum. Suddenly, where there used to be decades' worth of lithos and paintings and drawings and tapestries that had been donated throughout the years to the art center, there was now an official "permanent collection" to go with it. And very little documentation about what was actually in the museum.

This is where I came in. Whatever was stowed in boxes, bags, storage rooms, on the wall, on the floor, in closets, in offices, etc -- I made a list. I cross-checked a big, whopping list of some 500-600 pieces, and there are still many loose ends. For about 200 of those pieces, I measured, photographed, described and catalogued every one. For the rest, I just checked to make sure they were present. But I came across some surprises -- like today. Perhaps you've never heard of Bill Forsche, but you've probably heard of the likes of Vincent Price and Kirk Douglas. Today in the storage room, I stumbled across this:


Creepy, right? Bill Forsche is a Hollywood makeup artist who was originally from Wisconsin. Hence the museum having some of his plaster casts used for films -- somewhere hidden in a box is Kiefer Sutherland, and I was a little disturbed to uncover a plaster cast of Freddy Krueger. Interesting, nonetheless!

On a totally separate note, I dug out a real trove of Native American items, and even an African spear. Excuse the kind of poor photo quality; I took these with my iPod. ;) I was totally enamored with this exceptional turtle shell pouch. It would be just big enough to hold my iPod, for scale. It was gorgeously crafted, and it was all I could do to resist putting it on.

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It's days like this, and finds such as these, that remind me why working at a museum can be so awesome -- and why I'm pursuing that path academically. Whether I end up being a curator or a professor or whatever... being involved with art and artifacts can be just plain cool.

Days to Edinburgh move-in: 48


  1. That's really cool that you stumbled upon that stuff! It sounds like you have a great job.