Sifting through the National Parks Sifting through the National Parks
28 November 2022

Sifting through the National Parks

Written by: Jensen Bury

Hello everyone, my name is Jensen Bury and I am Commissioned Art Collection Intern with the Harpers Ferry Center. For this blog I thought it would be a good idea to talk about why I was interested in this internship in the first place along with the basics of why I was brought in to help with the collection.

I began searching for internships a little late in the game, but I came across this one on google. Even though it is not a remote job and I live about 60 miles from where I would be working, I decided to apply anyway. One of the reasons behind that is because I grew up right next to Harpers Ferry. I currently live in Fairfax, Virginia but I used to live a mere ten-to-fifteen-minute drive away from Harpers Ferry. The possibility of working somewhere I am familiar with and have loved going to while growing up was too good to pass up. Although, I am an Art History major at George Mason University I will have to admit I had never investigated the commissioned collection I grew up so close too. Overall, this internship is an amazing opportunity, and I could not be more grateful I have it.

I came into this internship being told I would be working with mostly cartography. Around two hundred fifty maps had been lost and abandoned in a closet. These maps represent different areas of dozens of different national parks. Including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and many more. I was moving from one national park to the next like I was visiting each one. My supervisor Kyle decided to adopt them into the collection, and they are now part of the Commissioned Art Collection family. Although after being in a closet the maps needed some help.

My job was to give all the pieces an IMS number so they will be a part of our system. The collection already has over 11,000 objects so I began numbering at 12,000 to be safe. As I gave the pieces identification numbers I catalogued at the same time. Noting the artist, the date made, the location and a brief description. After a piece was numbered and catalogued, I would perform what we like to call surgery. Many of these maps have been improperly taken care of, with acidic tape and paper covering them that will eventually degrade and hurt the art. Therefore, the last thing I needed to do with these maps was carefully take off the acidic materials and replace them with safer ones for them to be stored.

I cannot wait to share with everyone the rest of my internship and I hope you get to see my growth! Thank you!

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