Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Art of Labeling Objects

There is an art to how we catalog objects in collections. Academic's has a branch solely dedicated to museum studies in which archiving, preservation, and curation and taught as a discipline. But for the private collector, myself included, we can sort and classify things as we please.

Thus I present one regional museum's display of an "Odd Shaped Rock" presented on a fine piece of carpet sample. We know little of this geological specimen other than the shape is defined as odd and that it came from a person's collection. Perhaps said amateur geologist had other oddly shaped rocks but this was the finest specimen to present to the museum. As for composition of this rock, ehh…who cares? It's made of rock. 

Said rock doesn't look all that odd to me. Now if the rock looked like a penguin, frying pan, or even a stapler, then I would consider it to be odd. But one must then ask, is it really an odd looking rock or a rock that looks like an object? 

What we have here, in my humble and non-curatorial opinion is a specimen of a rock that looks like a rock. Doesn't much look like a fossil. Doesn't much look like an animal. Doesn't look much like an object, tool, or thing you would want to hide from your parents. Just looks like a rock.

While on the topic of curation…One might consider this fine example from another Montana museum. 

The world of talc is probably as exciting as this blog post is right about now. But one must wonder how   that excitement can be conveyed with nothing in the display case except a piece of paper.

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