For this project, I hope to teach visitors how museum objects are cataloged and show them the difficulties of cataloging objects with little information. At the end of this project, visitors will be welcomed to play the role of a museum cataloger using real objects held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
The final project will consists of three sections. In the first section, the visitor will learn about the objective of the project which is to teach people about how museum objects are collected and cataloged. This will be followed by supporting secondary sources focused on cataloging methods, descriptions of how objects were collected and cataloged in the past, and how that affects digital collections today. With these arguments in mind, the visitor will be guided through the UPenn Museum’s digital collection and apply those theories.
The second section of the project will include graphs relating to objects from the UPenn Museum collection. These graphs include a timeline of dates when an object was accessioned, a side bar separating the method of how an object was collected (i.e. gift, expedition, donated, or purchased), and a map of the world where a visitor can hover over a county and see what objects are from.
A topic model of descriptions and object titles will also be included to show the inconsistency and interstices of object descriptions. This section will end with a summary of it’s findings and write up of how data was collected, cleaned, and used. Before the end of the project, visitors will be invited to role play.
The final section of the project will be a Twine game titled “The Cataloger”. In this game, visitors will play the role of a cataloger for the museum. They will be given various objectives including matching object names with the picture, matching object descriptions to the object name, and categorizing object names with locations. Visitors will also be able to learn more about the issues of cataloging records with little to no information.
The objects included in the game will be pulled from UPenn Museum’s digital collection and data set used in the first and second sections. This will be explained in the introduction of “The Cataloger” and concluded by inviting visitors to think more critically about digital collections.