What happens when they get here

The cataloging room in our new Collections Resource Center is the first stop for anthropological acquisitions when they arrive at The Field Museum.

Each acquisition coming into the building is individually documented by our Anthropology Registrar Misty Tilson and her staff. 

They carefully examine every new item:  describing it physically, recording its dimensions, photographing it, and noting any damage or missing pieces.  They also gather together all of its associated documentary information:  letters, field notes, e-mails, audio or video tapes, and the like. 

All of this information is kept in our department files, but it is also entered into our computerized collections database so that it can be more easily retrieved by us and others around the world.

As part of this work, a unique object-specific catalog number is given to every new item entering our collections. This number lets us keep track of all the information being gathered. 

Every item is then put away in its own assigned storage location, often in custom-made storage trays or boxes where curators, visiting researchers, students, exhibit designers, collection managers, and others will be able to find it when it is needed for study, exhibitions, and the like.

Misty Tilson filing new accession files in Records Room, which houses documenation related to all of the Anthropology collections (© 2008, The Field Museum).

Collections Assistant Alina Haidri measuring a modern Marquesan tiki for custom housing (© 2008, The Field Museum).
Assistant Registrar Patty Lord affixing catalog number to a necklace (© 2008, The Field Museum).
Registrar Misty Tilson creating custom mount inside box (© 2008, The Field Museum).
Patty Lord entering data in the KE-EMu collections database (© 2008, The Field Museum).