Fifth six-monthly progress report - October 2008
David Harris, the project website designer, left the project during the six months period, for a new life in the south west of England. Members of the team are very grateful to him for establishing the website so well, and particularly for producing a fool-proof (and extremely easy) way for the two researchers, Alison Petch and Chris Wingfield, to add new pages, and sections to the website. The Team is in the process of ensuring that the remaining web design work (mostly relating to the mapping sections of the site) is completed before end March 2009. Day-to-day development of the site in that period will be in the hands of Alison (mainly) and Chris, thanks to the work of David before he left.
Alison Petch has been working intensively on the website and new web pages over the summer. The website now contains much of the raw data that she and the team have produced during the last couple of years including data presented as themed articles (about death-related artefacts, archaeological items excavated by Pitt Rivers and several important women donors etc). There are now 22 object biographies created by members of the Team, students, and staff at the Museum. She had been working with Haas Ezzet to prepare free-text search filemaker databases for the website. Team visit to Oxfordshire County Museums Service Team members carried out a very enjoyable visit to the OXCMS store in rural Oxfordshire, kindly hosted by Phil Platt on 18 June 2008.
Alison Petch Apart from her work on the website, Alison has been working on a number of major research issues over the last six months. On
Two Aran Islanders, photograph
taken by Thomas Holmes Mason before
1948, mounted on card. [19188.8.131.52]e of the largest was working on the collections from Oxfordshire. She has been collaborating with Alison Roberts of the Ashmolean Museum and Phil Platt of Oxfordshire County Museums Service to see if it will be possible to provide a single database which gives information on all the social history artefacts from the county in the three collections. This means a great deal of work synthesising the collections data from the three sources, to make them consistent and identifying which objects from the three sources could be categorised as social history. See here for more information. This work is still in progress. She had also been working on the life and work of Ellen Ettlinger, a refugee who moved to Oxford just before the Second World War and was very interested in English folklore. Alison has always been interested in Pitt Rivers, although her focus has often been on his ethnographic collections or on the history of his collection rather than his archaeological work. She has remedied this a little by researching his English archaeological excavations in various counties and the artefacts that came from them. Lastly she has become interested in the items that were purchased by the Museum, and what this might mean. She had published a paper about Beatrice Blackwood and Dudley Buxton's work on Otmoor in the June 2008 History of Anthropology Newsletter [volume 35.1].
Chris Wingfield has written several interesting web pages on acquisition events and the characteristics of county. He has been concentrating on thinking about the form of the monograph he was to write with Chris Gosden. He was also interested in researching the women donors who were such a feature of the 1940s in the Museum, and looking at the Canziani and Parsons' collections in particular. To this end he had spent time working with the Canziani collections at his former place of work in Birmingham.
Peter Rivière has completed his work on the Fellows of the Anthropological Institute in 1900. He wrote a paper about his work on the development of the Museum of English Rural Life and other proposed Museums of England. Peter also contributed an object biography about watch cocks donated by Arthur Thomson
Nicolette Makovichy has contributed two object biographies about lace-related artefacts to the website and is working on the large collection of textiles and clothes given by Margaret Irvine.
Mike Heaney has finished examining the morris collections at the Museum, and written two object biographies. He is currently considering what topic to concentrate on for the remainder of the project.
Katy Barrett Our volunteer has now left Oxford to pursue a hopefully glittering museum career. The team wishes to express their gratitude to her for all her work for the project.
Other Within seminar series
Alison and Chris had been charged with arranging the Friday seminar series in the Museum for Hilary Term, 2008. More information in the next progress report about this and the proposed session at the next ASA conference.
1 October 2008