Hi! My name is Rebecca Guest. I am excited about interning this summer with VAM and assisting with the Top Ten Endangered Artifacts Program. I am very interested in museum studies and public history. I have admired museums, art, and material culture since I was a young girl. I currently study history at Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, I am training to be a certified archeological technician through the Archeological Society of Virginia.
I volunteer with the Fairfield Foundation in my hometown of Gloucester, VA. Through this organization, I first discovered VAM. In 2012, Fairfield nominated sales receipts from Ware Neck Store to the Top Ten program. Documents in this collection include receipts, bills, advertisements, and customer shopping lists. These records represent rural life in Gloucester County from the late 1870s through the early 1930s. I saw directly the need to bring public attention to the documents, and was pleased to see the collection selected to the program.
After being featured as a Top Ten endangered artifact, the collection received interest from the general public. This publicity garnered support for the foundation and helped create awareness about the importance of preserving artifacts. The collection even visited VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory. Students scanned both documents and artifacts discovered in the general store’s attic. Noninvasive scans offered a new way to view the collection’s artifacts, through 3D images and animations.
In partnership with the Friends of the Ware Neck Store, the owners of the collection, the Fairfield Foundation is working to catalog and curate the documents. Phase I of the project is now complete. The documents have been lightly cleaned, organized, and moved to acid-free folders and boxes. Paper conservator Virginia Adams and Chesterfield County librarians Kareemah Hamdan and Cammy Koch have played a huge role in helping to preserve the collection. The Fairfield Foundation’s goal is to have the documents accessible online to the public. The foundation continues to work on making an online exhibit and database for the Ware Neck Store collection.
This summer, I look forward to contacting the many museums and heritage sites in Virginia and Washington, D.C. I hope to motivate organizations to participate in the Top Ten Endangered Artifacts Program. Just as I shared the story of the Ware Neck Store receipts, I am eager to learn and share with the public previous nominees and honorees. Stay tuned!
1. Rebecca Guest, VAM's Top 10 Intern 2014
2. Finished 3D result of the cotton box. Animation courtesy of VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory.
3. At the VCU Virtual Curation Lab, a cotton box is scanned. Photo courtesy of The Fairfield Foundation.
4. A customer’s shopping list, circa 1900. Included are swatches of fabric. Photo courtesy of The Fairfield Foundation.