Last Wednesday I started my new internship at the Clarke House Museum (located at Indiana and 18th Street). The Clarke House is the oldest house in Chicago, built in 1836 for Henry Clarke and his family, it was one of the few structures to survive the Chicago Fire (1871) because it was outside of the fire zone.
I learned on my first day that the Clarke house has remained in such excellent condition because it only had three owners prior to becoming a house museum: the Clarke Family (for 36 years), the Crimes Family (69 years) and the St. Paul Church of God in Christ (36 years). The house was purchased by the city in 1977 and has been a museum since.
Before my first day at the Clarke House, I had little to no knowledge of the inner workings of a museum. Coincidentally, I am also taking a Museum Studies class right now where we have been discussing the purpose of museums. The definition of a museum is an organization that collects and preserves objects in perpetuity (which essentially means their job is to preserve the objects until the end of time.) The main project that I am working on with the assistant curator is going through the objects in storage, identifying them, and putting the known information into a database.
Becky and I began working with a tea set the other day. When touching the pieces in any way, we use gloves and the typical rule of handling objects is to be overly extremely careful and cautious at all times. We spent most of the day photographing the pieces, looking for damage and other imperfections, and searching online and in books for information about the maker.
After collecting all the information, Becky wants me to write a blog article to be posted to the Clarke House Museum blog page. (I will announce this exciting work of literature when it is published!) I never thought of myself as a “blogger,” in fact I still think that a blog is somewhat of a strange concept, but I also write for Inspired Ideations, the blog at my work, which has recently become very successful (in blogging terms of views, clicks, comments, etc.)