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Anthropology and Museum Studies

Erika Naficy Childhood Exhibit

Erika Naficy Interns at the Kittitas County Historical Museum (Fall 2014)

My name is Erika Naficy, I am a history major, art history minor and museum studies minor. I interned at the  Kittitas County Historical Museum during the Fall of 2014. I was asked to update their Victorian Doll exhibit, but through the process I created (under the supervision of Sadie Thayer and Erika Hinze) the new exhibit called "Children of Kittitas County." The dolls that were on display had not been changed for 15 years. This caused damage from light and posed other threats to deterioration. Artifacts in museums need to be switched up and taken off display and put into storage for preservation reasons. The other displays in the exhibit were not being used to their full potential. Space that could be used for displaying precious objects and history was being wasted.

Before I could start on the exhibition renewal process, I had to address an issue that occurred 5 years before in the museum. In 2009 the doll exhibit and other areas of the museum were infested with webbing moths. These moths ate hair, fur and clothing off the dolls- almost destroying a large part of the collection. So, it was my job to re-dress and assess the dolls that were being stored in the basement that had previously gone through a freezing treatment to get rid of the webbing moths. This process taught me a lot about IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, collections management and to my surprise, Victorian clothing!

After the dolls were in the proper condition to be displayed I started the process of taking the old dolls off the shelf and putting the new dolls on. The display had been dull and unorganized, and I changed it to be more colorful, themed and also added more boy dolls in (representing both genders!). I wanted to make sure people knew these dolls were not just creepy dolls that sit on a shelf, but rather real toys that children played with 100 years ago.

I filled in the exhibition space and created a children-themed room. I added text with the history of children in the area and also included archival photos of the children. I added three displays--School, Chores and Toys. These exhibit displays showed historic objects that would have been used by children in different aspects of their lives. I also included information on the beautiful Victorian prams, showing the museum visitors that these were actual baby strollers used by mothers decades ago.

I learned a lot about working in museums and had a great time creating this exhibit. The new exhibit is now finished and on display in Kittitas County Historical Museum." Please stop by to see it!

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