WHAT is it Wednesday artifact for July 16, 2014

On July 16 we shared a WHAT is it Wednesday artifact photo on Facebook to see if anyone could guess what it was.

What could this be?

What could this be?

We had some good guesses: a waterproof document case, a money belt, butcher’s sleeve, barber’s cloth…but no one guess correctly that this was a flag case! Two of our Wright State Public History graduate interns, Sara and Georgia, have spent the past week days going through the flags in our collection and assessing, providing care, and rewrapping and tagging them so that they are stored better. In one of the first boxes of flags, which contained Spanish American War era and Keifer Camp (GAR) flags, they came across this skinny leather case and were puzzled about its use. Luckily, Mel (an Army veteran and Civil War reenactor) was nearby and he recognized it right away as a flag case that is used to “case the colors” for a military unit when the unit is deactivated. It is traditional to hold a casing of the colors ceremony, which includes a reading of the history of the command, before the unit’s distinctive flag, or “colors,” are furled or “cased” in a protective sheath. The sheathed flag is then returned to the unit’s flag bearer, who marches off the field signaling the formal end of that command. We found a few recent pictures online of military units casing their colors to give you an idea of how the case was used. Unfortunately, this particular case does not have any information about how and when exactly it was used.

The 99th RRC color casing ceremony, April 2009.

The 99th RRC color casing ceremony, April 2009.

"Darkside" Marine Battalion, the most deployed battalion of the last decade, casing their colors, May, 2014.

“Darkside” Marine Battalion, the most deployed battalion of the last decade, casing their colors, May, 2014.

One of the neatest finds over the past few days of flag wrapping was an ENORMOUS 38 star flag that was used from 1877-1890. It has holes along the top indicating that it was probably hung on the wall of a building in the area, but we are not sure about the details.

38 Star Flag, used 1877-1890

38 Star Flag, used 1877-1890

We wanted to share some pictures of Sara and Georgia working on the flags and we'll be sharing their blog post on the experience later!

We wanted to share some pictures of Sara and Georgia working on the flags and we’ll be sharing their blog post on the experience later!

In the archives in our “Miscellaneous Military” collection we found a few other neat things on flag including a 1976 booklet on historic flags that was distributed by Big Bear Grocery for the Bicentennial, a Revolutionary Flag coloring book, also from the Bicentennial, and a page from a booklet on flag history about how to display the flag. We have several flags on display in the museum, including the 110th regimental flag from the Civil War, General J. Warren Keifer’s Headquarters flag from 1863, seen here.

General J. Warren Keifer Headquarters flag, 1863

General J. Warren Keifer Headquarters flag, 1863

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Do the Archives Shuffle!

Last week we closed the library and archives on Thursday and Friday so that we could do a grand shift, lift, move, and shuffle back in the archives in order to free up more space for recent donations that had previously been homeless and to create room to grow as we receive new donations in the future.  The Archives Shuffle is something that we have to do every once in a while as our collection grows.  The last time we called “all hands on deck” and dragged in as many volunteers and interns we could get was back in the summer of 2006.  Eight years and many many new donations later, we have since filled much of the space we had freed in 2006 and had to do some creative thinking to free up more space!

Natalie, our curatorial assistant, is the one who spends most of her time in the archives overseeing volunteer and intern projects and helping researchers, so she had a good idea about our space needs.  She spent time back in the archives walking up and down and the aisles and brainstorming, trying to figure out where and how to shift collections around to create more usable shelves to accommodate “homeless” collections.

We set aside these two days in July because we knew we’d have the strength of our three interns and put a call out to any volunteers, with the promise that we’d have a selection of projects that wouldn’t involve heavy lifting!  We started early on Thursday morning with plenty of carts for moving, ladders, and two delicious strawberry pies (courtesy of volunteer Flossie) and a dozen Schuler’s donuts for fuel.

Schuler's Donuts....delicious motivation!

Schuler’s Donuts….delicious motivation!

We had a very long and daunting looking To Do list, but we tackled it in style and manged to complete nearly all of the projects by around 3:00pm on Thursday afternoon!

Our "To Do" List, complete with information about who worked on each task.  We had a busy couple of days!

Our “To Do” List, complete with information about who worked on each task. We had a busy couple of days!

Ruth boxing up duplicate books and creating lists.

Ruth boxing up duplicate books and creating lists.

Adam and Georgia moving boxes of family bibles to the library.

Adam and Georgia moving boxes of family bibles to the library.

Flossie shifting boxes to make room for more!

Flossie shifting boxes to make room for more!

On Friday we set the entire day aside just to sort through our rolled blueprints and maps collection. For the past year and a half two of our volunteers, Bill and John, have been inventorying our blueprints: wrapping, tagging, and creating lists, but NOT sorting and organizing by categories because we didn’t quite have the room to do all of that. Last week Mel and Georgia spent some time adding in extra shelves in the blueprint storage area so that we would finally  be able to properly sort out and store the prints.

Georgia helping Mel install new blueprint shelves so that we could make better use of our vertical space.  With extra shelves added, we freed up an entire shelf rank for other collections!

Georgia helping Mel install new blueprint shelves so that we could make better use of our vertical space. With extra shelves added, we freed up an entire shelf rank for other collections!

We spent most of the early morning Friday checking tags and sorting into categories all over the library! It was a big project to tackle, but we’ve made major headway and will share the updated inventory soon…there’s really great stuff in the collection!

We created space to sort each blueprint category on every available surface in the library.

We created space to sort each blueprint category on every available surface in the library.

Cart of blueprints ready to be sorted.

Cart of blueprints ready to be sorted.

Pat, Sara, and Georgia checking blueprint tags and sorting onto tables and shelves.

Pat, Sara, and Georgia checking blueprint tags and sorting onto tables and shelves.

Thanks to everyone who helped( Georgia, Sara, Adam, Bill, Flossie, Virginia, Pat, Irene, Ruth, Don, and Melissa), we couldn’t have done it without you!

Collections mentioned above that have finding aids:

Associations Category – Rotary Club

Biographical Category – Family Bible Collection

Biographical Category – Sylvia Olson Collection

Government Category – Roger Baker Collection

Manufacturing Category – Bayley Window Collection

Photograph Category – Moores Collection, Laybourne Collection

Small Collections Category – Gertrude Stein Collection

WHAT is it Wednesday Artifact for June 25, 2014

On June 25 we shared this image of an artifact in our collections to see if anyone could guess what it was.  Our curator Kasey came across this artifact while working on the NEH and History Fund grant funded Collections Management Project in our second floor storage area.

What could this be?

What could this be?

There weren’t a whole lot of guesses….seeder, grinder….thing-a-ma-jig (always a good guess!) and as usual, we revealed the answer the following day.

This was one of four motors that controlled the faces of the clock on our building’s clock tower. The motors were replaced in 1984 when Carl Everingham repaired the clock and got it chiming and working properly for the first time since the 1950s (around the time the two tower steeples were removed). Mr. Everingham offered his expertise to repair the clock free of charge and received help from Harry Laybourne and his sons, Bill, James, and Rick. In honor of his service, December 3, 1985 was declared Carl Everingham day.

Proclamation for Carl Everingham Day - December 3, 1985

Proclamation for Carl Everingham Day – December 3, 1985

Carl Everingham behind the clock face.

Carl Everingham behind the clock face.

More than a decade later, once preparations began for the Clark County Historical Society to move into the building, Phillip Wright of the Tower Clock Company in South Charleston did repairs on the Seth Thomas clock and bell to return it to working condition. (Pictures of the restoration:http://on.fb.me/Vr62MD

Phillip Wright of the Clock Tower Company, Springfield News Sun article, undated, c. 1999.

Phillip Wright of the Clock Tower Company, Springfield News Sun article, undated, c. 1999.


When the City Hall/Marketplace first opened in 1890, the tower was designed to accommodate a clock, but until 1924, there was just a decorative clock-like motif on the tower in place of an actual working clock. At the end of 1924 the clock was installed, a gift to the city from Howard Diehl in memory of his wife. The steeples on the tower were replaced with lighter fiberglass steeples around 2000 before the opening of the Heritage Center.

Postcard showing tower prior to 1924 clock installation.

Postcard showing tower prior to 1924 clock installation.

Twice a year, at least one of our staff members has to make the 166 step trek straight up the narrow tower to change the time on the clock for daylight savings. A couple of years ago our curator, Kasey documented her experience with moving the hands of time!  For pictures: http://on.fb.me/Q12zk3