How do you label an object?

An update from Linda, project volunteer:

Hurray! I’ve been taking my own photos today, with great support from the ever-patient Helen. The camera itself is daunting, complicated and fragile. However, having set up the table with clean thick white paper as a background, angled the lights, and put the camera to the correct settings we were off.

It was like Christmas! First out of the box was this tiny head of Minerva. The head was terracotta, but at some time it had been fixed to a black wooden plinth. It looked rather like a small female Herm and rather odd, however without the unfortunate plinth the tiny head itself was beautiful.

Greek ceramic head

Greek ceramic head

Also odd, I found, is that in the past the museum stuck identifying labels onto the objects, and sometimes the accession number was actually written on the object itself. Today this would be sacrilegious, but it was normal practice until relatively recently. Now labels are attached with cotton tape so as not to damage the integrity of the artefact. I seem to have remembered all of Helena’s training advice – at least I didn’t drop anything.

Greek ceramic head - back

Greek ceramic head – back

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One comment

  1. This little ceramic head is a very good example of how museum practice has changed since the 1970s! Writing on the back of an object in red pen is not something we do in this museum anymore! With so many objects in the collection each one has to be marked with its unique identifying number, the ‘accession number’ as we call it. We use tie-on labels where possible. If we have to write on the object we do this in a method that is reversible, so it can easily be removed in the future without damaging the object.

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