Katrina Research Center (KRC)

Katrina Research Center (KRC)
Katrina Research Center at USM

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 1st - 24th (weeks 10-13)

The beginning of the month was mostly the aftermath from the "Color Play" exhibit, wherein the artist Diane Ross, got wonderful input from everyone in attendance. I managed to get Papa Johns to donate some pizzas, and Dr. Nuwer thanked me for tking the initiative to help the success of the luncheon. Shugana and Dr. Nuwer were very busy the following week with travel, etc. The local workload increased on Thursday, November 11. I arrived at the reference desk of the KRC to complete some typical tasks that Shugana wanted me to accomplish. Instead, she threw me a curveball.

There was a KRC cart with accession sheets, a book dedicated to creating and maintaining archives, and notice that there is indeed another archive within the Gulf Park library that she presided over. That collection, the Gulf Park Women's College (GPC), spans from 1920s-1971. Primary sources were stacked up on the tables, items removed from the collection were lying everywhere, and Shugana gave me the task of whipping this archive into shape. I first started by creating a workspace, creating an attack strategy, and formulating some ideas on how to organize the collection in a beneficial way.

I created a master file of GPC yearbooks in good condition that could only be accessed if a librarian is present. I created this because there were multiple copies of many yearbooks within the collection, and people were clipping pages out of the yearbooks. I did a complete yearbook inventory, concluding that 5 yearbooks were missing from the original inventory. I also accessioned new yearbooks into the collection. The following week I began accession of primary sources in collections. It has been a rigorous process, including the various projects associated with the collection (stemming from people looking to find original photographs of the pier and seawall, and Hardy house fountain project). I am almost 3/4 done with accessioning the collection, while documenting an addendum in the process...describing all new items in the collection. Several librarians have given me positive feedback on what I have done, thanking me for resolving a multitude of issues. During this time, I was also completing tasks for the KRC on the 3rd floor. Organizational objectives, building new easels, boxing up an exhibit, and maintaining an exhibit case on the first floor.

This has been quite a rewarding and tough month for me in my practicum. I am happy I have accomplished so much in so little time. (Aside from trying to potty-training my 2 year-old son Xander, work, and take 3 other classes). It is all worth it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

October 4th - 29th (weeks 5-9)

The past month has been a bit slow. Dr. Nuwer and Shugana have been attending events and conferences and "Life in a Snapshot" exhibit came to a close on the 29th. I spent my time at the practicum making flyers, answering phones, and transferring data from government e-publications to an excel file for upload to the KRC CONTENTdm directory. This past Friday was a great experience. I took down the "Life in a Snapshot" and "Art at Gulf Park" exhibits and removed the screws. Diane Ross, the creator of the "Captured Moments" exhibit we will be opening November 2nd, came around 11 a.m. on Friday with matted photographs that were to be hung behind plexi-glass covering. It was a great experience and there were plenty of hands to get the exhibit hung within 4 hours. I packed up the previous exhibits because Dr. Nuwer was moving it back to the Hattiesburg campus. I also met with Ken, store manager of Papa Johns, who agreed to donate food to the exhibit opening to alleviate entertaining costs of the opening. I will post later this week on the opening of the "Captured Moments" exhibit at noon on Nov. 2

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sept. 27- Oct. 1 (5th week)

This week was a slow week for me and the KRC. The time I spent at the center was in preparation for input of metadata of government publications post-Katrina. There is a vast amount of information within the 9 discs I was given, and it should take me until the end of next week to finish inputing information into an Excel file. Upcoming projects for the KRC are around the bend and I will report any information I gather as soon as I find out.

Here are some pictures of the exhibits I worked on over the past month. It made some great memories.
life in a snapshot/art at Gulf Park exhibits

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sept. 20 - 24th (4th week)

Well, I had great fun last week jumping about while getting ready for the exhibition opening for "Life in a Snapshot" and "Art at Gulf Park." It was a busy week, where I was also developing grant proposals for the GCDR. I finished the exhibition map and setup a table on the 1st floor of the library with a KRC sign so patrons here for the exhibition could locate all of the art displays on the first two floors and find the KRC on the third floor. I have been rather behind in homework for other classes this week because of how immersed I was in practicum, work, etc.

The night of the exhibition I arrived early with ice and setup the snack area. We had all kinds of yummy food (especially the spinach-artichoke dip). That stuff was like crack. Around exhibition opening time, only several people were in attendance. According to Dr. Nuwer, exhibition openings are always up in the air on who shows up. Luckily, more people showed up and made the event a success. Dr. Nuwer also sent me home with lots of snacks to share with relatives that were coming in from England that weekend. All in all, it was a great week to be at the KRC!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sept. 13 - 17 (3rd week)

This past week at the KRC involved preparation for the "Life in a Snapshot" and "Art at Gulf Park" exhibits. I feel like I really impressed Dr. Nuwer and Shugana by creating a detailed exhibition map for the entire library. I also worked hard on flyer blurbs and an easel board for both exhibits, and am getting really excited about the September 23rd opening. This week was a great preparatory time on all of the little nuances required in material and information gathering going into an exhibit.

I also submitted a proposal for the Gulf Coast Disaster Repository (GCDR). It is an idea I had for an integrated digital natural disaster database linked to the Katrina Research Center. I will follow-up on what direction this went on next week's blog. I ended the week by communicating with a picture archive submission of Katrina numbering in over 1,000 photos. We are gathering technical metadata from the submission and forwarding it to the Mississippi Digital Library (sic) next week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept. 7 - Sept. 10 (2nd week)

This past week at the KRC was a very memorable one for me. I spent time learning about the displays and different types of art the center uses in their exhibitions. Shugana explained that she is constantly contacting large amounts of people to encourage donations to themed and non-themed exhibitions. We had an oil spill display that I had worked on last week, art from sea life etchings copied over on carbon paper, and pottery in the cases downstairs and on the second floor.

We also took down the "silent witness" exhibit this week and set up a new exhibit. I had the opportunity to meet Frank, a local volunteer that is a retiree from the railroad, who assisted in hanging the last three exhibits. Frank also was behind the creation of the walls for our exhibits. He is a meticulous man that has much experience to share with the younger generation. I took the time to re-organize the meeting room used for storage of files and art pertaining to the many previous exhibits ran by the KRC. Dr. Nuwer and Shugana were very excited to see that there was actually a table under all of the clutter. I felt a sense of excitement to show them the room, since it is now more organized and can be used for it's original purpose.

I also worked on securing information on upcoming and current publications on the oil spill to appeal to publishers for a donated copy for the KRC collection. Hopefully they will get back with us over this next week with good news! I spent some time researching grants that could help with an upcoming proposal for a 1-stop Gulf Coast disaster repository I will pitch to Shugana later this week.

Amidst the sea of craziness going on in the KRC with the changing out of exhibits, Dr. Nuwer and Shugana were furiously getting the final touches on the fashion show fundraiser finished before Friday. Beau Rivage, who had agreed to cater the event, had not returned Dr. Nuwer's calls all week. Finally, they reached her on Thursday to iron out the final details. Door prizes were secured, beverages were furnished, and all of the other parts were fit into place to make the fashion show a memorable event for the attendees.

I arrived at 1 p.m. on Friday to assist with setting up the event. I ran errands to the market and made multiple trips to the KRC from the event floor to cart items over. I helped set up tables and beverages for the models and support staff. There was an electric air circulating through the event hall, and everything had culminated into a grand event (much due to planning that started in May).

My wife and I were invited to attend, but I did not have a babysitter for my son who is 2 years old. I wanted the event to go smoothly, and was nervous that he would be the only child there. I find that Dr. Nuwer and Shugana are truly receptive to my ideas, and that makes me enjoy this internship experience that much more. I look forward to what next week will offer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Aug. 31 - Sept. 3 (1st week)

My first week at the Katrina Research Center (KRC) was an initiation, and set the theme for the rest of the Fall semester. I realized immediately that Shugana Williams, my practicum advisor, was a very talented and multi-faceted individual who was involved in a balancing act of about 6 or 7 current operations being conducted at the KRC. I was glad to jump right in and help as much as I possibly could.

Dr. Deanne Nuwer, who I had previously known from USM while getting my BA in History, works with Shugana as the director of KRC. I honestly don't see how these two people do it. I have only had a small taste of the operations happening right now, while they are planning up to 6 months ahead and balancing teaching, exhibits, and donor operations. The KRC is housed on the 3rd floor of the Gulf Coast Library at USM's Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, MS. It seems to perfectly fit into the library, and integrates into current library operations. The KRC is fully donor-based, which is the distinction between the KRC and the library which houses it.

Currently, I am helping at the KRC reference desk and learning about the methodology of creating and sustaining exhibits. My first week was a bit like jumping into an ocean hoping that a life raft was somewhere around, but everything worked itself out due to an ample amount of understanding by Shugana.

The current operations that Shugana has me helping with are:

  • Finding publishers to donate monographs to the KRC regarding the oil spill in the Gulf.
  • Transcribing emails from guest logs to add to a current mailing list
  • Preparing photographs on art blocks with blurbs for a current oil spill themed display on the ground floor of the library.
  • Helping take down exhibits in preparation for new ones
  • Aiding in the Fashion show fundraiser (Sept. 10) by setting up and selling tickets
  • Assisting with a current library bake sale fundraiser (Sept. 9) for the American Heart Association