This poster, titled “Archival Collections in an Object World,” was presented at the 2011 SAA Research Forum.
Abstract: The Henry Ford has embarked upon a large digitization project including both the digital photography of 3D objects and the scanning of 2D archival material. As part of that project, the institution is beginning to transition from the boutique scanning of individual items to a more systematic digitization program. As this project moves forward, questions have surfaced centering on how the institution can manage and present mixed collections of archival material and 3D museum objects. These questions include: How can museum objects be presented alongside archival items with differing levels of description? How can archival items retain context in an object-centric system? What role do finding aids and other traditional archival descriptive tools play in this environment? How can the collection management system best be leveraged?
The Benson Ford Research Center (BFRC), which serves as the archives of The Henry Ford, is currently researching answers to these questions. This poster highlights the challenges of merging the differing data models of museums and archives, and outlines research results as we navigate methods to break down the walls separating the museum and archival worlds.