CHM Directed study at Netley

On Tuesday the 8th of April, I met with Aphrodite for the first time. Unfortunately, the storage area was flooded due to local storms and as a result she was kept busy dealing with the disaster, but I was given access to the collections from the Americas and she asked me to familiarize myself with the collection as well as take a preliminary inventory of some of the Central American artefacts to make sure none were missing. She also explained what she wanted me to do, such as the forms she needed me to fill out and what she expected of the photographs, etc.

As it happened, one of the ceramic dishes from box 1292, shelf 6 was missing. Some of the boxes that were meant to be on shelf 6 were on shelves 5 and 7, so I hope that during further research it may turn out to have been placed in the wrong box, and that it may have been misplaced rather than truly lost.

Some of the artefacts I examined had clearly been put on display before; the display cards were present in the box along with the artefacts. The collection from Central America which I had been asked to inventory contained several intact earthenware pitchers and several glazed ceramic dishes that had been a private collection. The pitchers were glazed inside, but only halfway down the outside of the vessel. The dishes were white glazed and decorated with bright blue, green, and yellow markings. They were all in good condition, considering their age; most dated to the early 1900’s according to museum records and accompanying handwritten notes placed inside the pitchers and only had a few chips and scratches to show for their hundred years of existence. Most were originally received as gifts, and most likely they were cherished and well-preserved.

In the course of familiarizing myself with the collections from the Americas, I found a series of hand-woven baskets from Western North America, the area that is now Seattle, according to the accompanying notes. The baskets were interesting to me, because they had familiar patterns woven into the fabric of them; patterns that I grew up seeing during my early days growing up on a reservation in Northern California. It is possible that my tribe made the baskets and that they ended up in the Seattle area through trade networks. Just out of curiosity (since I am meant to be working on the Central American stuff) I am checking the patterns with my family back home.

The Americas collections also include things such as peace pipes and costumes, as well as stone artefacts, dolls, shoes and various garments. It was all incredibly interesting. I spent about three hours doing the inventory and examining the collections. When I was done with that, I had to call it a day because I had to head into town to go to work.


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