Careers In Curiosity: Caring for 1.7 Million Pieces Of History

This week we are exploring careers at the Museum and because we are a Natural History Museum, Science and Technology Center, Children’s Museum, and Accredited Zoo—we certainly have a lot of curious careers to discover! Sarah Aisenbrey is a member of our Collections Department and will be filling us in on her amazing experience and duties at the Museum (hint: she gets to work with things that are thousands of years old! Read her guest blog by clicking the “read more” link!

Nice To Meet You!

My name is Sarah Aisenbrey and I am the Registrar at the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH)! My main focus is to be a caretaker of our collections by implementing procedures for researching, loaning, cleaning, and inventorying artifacts.

SarahCollections

Making an enclosure for a fragile fan.

How I Started!
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Having fun photographing artifacts (with time for a quick selfie!)

I have always loved history – I earned my Bachelor’s degree in History from Wright State University in 2012 – and applying that love to interpretation in a museum is something about which I am very passionate. I earned my Master’s degree in Public History from Wright State University in 2014. This two-year program provides a certification in Museum Studies or Archival Studies, with a focus on internships and practical experience. If you are interested in getting involved in a museum, archive, national park, battlefield, archaeological site, or even all levels of government, this program is a great way to begin your career!

My Favorite “Lost” Collection
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Artifacts from the Lichliter Site collection.

With the help of a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources for 2014-2016, I am in the process of cataloging a large collection of archaeological artifacts from the Lichliter Site near Dayton, Ohio. The Lichliter Site was the first site excavated by the museum (from 1962-1970) under the guidance of Virginia Gould Gerald, the first Curator of Anthropology at the DSNH.

The materials are from the Late Woodland, a poorly known time period in Ohio prehistory. Despite wide interest, no other professional had ever seen the artifacts, maps, or notes until the collection was returned to the DSNH in 2012. I am cataloging the site collection into QLC’s ArcheoLINK software, a cross-referenced database that will also integrate maps and notes. The DSNH is one of the first museums in the country to use ArcheoLINK, which is very exciting for us!

Women in Anthropology, History, and Archaeology

As the first Curator of Anthropology at the DSNH, Virginia Gerald was among the small number of women in museum studies/anthropology during the 1960s. Women like her have paved the way for others in these fields, as well as in science, math, engineering, history, political science, and so many more. Because of these trailblazers, anyone has the opportunity to participate in these areas of study and learn more about them at museums such as Boonshoft Dayton and Boonshoft Springfield, as well as sites such as Fort Ancient and SunWatch.

SarahAndFriends

My interns’ first day on the Lichliter Site project.

To learn more about the Dayton Society of Natural History’s Collection, please visit www.boonshoftmuseum.org.

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