I first read this in late 2017 and at the time… let’s just say I skimmed. At the time I was newly switching lanes and had a lot of ground to cover quickly. I have however gone back to it at least twice since, really digging into the archival and museum collection management information contained within. I’m professionally trained in museum practice, not archival practice and the way museums and archives process their collections is different, sometimes very different, and archival collections held by museums are a unique place where all kinds of wacky things can happen.
It’s a broad generalization, but museum professionals are taught to describe things on an item level and archivists are taught to describe by group. While it might not sound like an enormous difference, it turns out that it can be. I’ve spent the better part of the last five years doing almost all my continuing education in archival practice. It has helped shaped my professional ethos (things like best repository are important) but there are still times when I find myself with a question, and in comes Museum Archives: An Introduction. There is never a time when I go to the bookshelf in the office to pull this book out where it doesn’t help me. It may not contain the exact answer I need as the collections I work with are complicated and at this point I’m usually well beyond introductory level texts, but this is written by people in the field for people in the field. And that’s exactly what I need.