by Mary Beth Rosebrough, Research Coordinator
Cataloging is a major activity here in the Collections Division of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. We do it almost all day, every day. Cataloging means we record in our database, PastPerfect, all the information we have on the item in hand. Who donated that newspaper clipping? Oh, it was William Boehmer of Brighton Reservation fame! Did anything else come with it? Yes, as a matter of fact, it came with some black and white photos. Right – all noted in the record. Recording the information keeps our accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums current and makes those materials available for research. To access this blog page you clicked on a button at the top of our web page. But did you know you can access much of our collection from our website? You can! – if you go to the dropdown menu under the Collections tab (right under the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki logo), click on Online Collections, and then scroll down the page to “Online Collections connection”. I’ve made it easy for you today: our “Online Collections” search page is here:
Because of the diligent work done daily you have access to a large percentage of our collection and can research or “visit” our collection from your favorite comfy chair. I hope you are sitting in it right now with your laptop and perusing a bit. Try searching “patchwork” and you will get over 1300 hits.
That ought to keep you or any student, maybe a homeschooled high schooler? – busy for most of the afternoon. Not only are you able to view a very good scan of the object BUT you can also read the information that accompanies it in the database – the description, the size and what it is made of. Have a look:
Interested in document research? How about this historic newspaper dated August 18, 1921?
Not only can you read the synopsis to determine the article is about a scouting expedition for the building of the Tamiami Trial, but you can actually read the clipping itself. Great, right? And you find out it was part of a notebook belonging to Francis Frost White, a BIA employee in Dania (Hollywood) in the 1930s and 40s. Our collections assistant, Tennile Jackson, very carefully took apart that notebook, page by painstaking page, wearing purple latex gloves, and cataloged each one, recording all the important details.
And so, because of that attention to detail, we deduce that Francis can provide us with some interesting history. We can use Francis Frost White as our search term and find what else she collected. Let’s try it and see what comes up:
What we get is 145 hits providing an interesting walk through time and the history of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Now you try it! What are you interested in – guns, the War, beadwork, bandolier bags, baskets, dolls? All are major holdings that can be searched and researched. When you put in your search term, look to the right and see the different modules available: All content (for searching all the modules), Objects (artifacts, not paper), Library (books, journals, and periodicals), Archives (paper documents), Photos, and People. To refine your search check the most applicable one(s) so you aren’t having to wade through pages of items that don’t suit your purpose.
I hope you have enjoyed our walk through the online collections on the Museum’s website. And hopefully you will enjoy the collection from the convenience of your own home – in preparation for your visit to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum! Our exhibits highlight collection pieces to tell the story of the Seminole Tribe of Florida you won’t find in history books. This month we have an exquisite exhibit, Struggle for Survival, on Seminole removal and survival in the Everglades being installed in the Museum. It tells a story that has not been told before in this way. Come and see how our Exhibits team has used our collection to tell the Seminole side of the constant conflict of the 1800s and learn the real story of the Unconquered!