You should recognize this face! Congrats to Cheyenne Strickland, she is the Anniston Museum of Natural History’s Collections Assistant. With her love of history, detail, and Egypt, we can’t wait to see how she transforms the Collections Department and future exhibits!
Get to know Anniston Museum of Natural History’s Collections Assistant, Cheyenne Strickland. She recently received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Jacksonville State University and is eager to share her love of history with our museum guests. Below is a Q and A with Cheyenne!
Q1: What was your first project as Collections Assistant?
My first project was to familiarize myself with the collection and look for anything that might need addressing, i.e. what could use a cleaning? How might I better organize a shelf for ease of access? Are the items all labeled properly and in their correct locations? I also took to dusting non-collections items (such as shelving and desks) and sweeping and mopping. I work best in a clean environment. I made a checklist of things that needed addressing, and ordered them by perceived importance. For example, preparing objects for an upcoming exhibit takes precedent over general upkeep.
Q2: What does a Collections Assistant do?
Collections Assistants do all sorts of things! Mostly I am responsible for the “paper trail” that comes along with running a museum collection. I have to be sure we have records of the origins of items (known as provenance in museums), note their entry date and condition, and ensure the item is databased appropriately. I research for exhibits, choose artifacts or specimens that fit the exhibit requirements, and write labels or panels as needed. I am, of course, in charge of keeping our collections happy and healthy! I ensure temperatures and humidity levels stay appropriate, dust or otherwise clean the items as needed, and keep them organized and in their proper locations.
Q3: What are you currently working on?
I am rarely ever working on one thing at a time. I typically come in on Monday and write up a checklist to have completed by the end of the week. My current checklist is: edit labels for the upcoming exhibit (members, keep your eyes open for the invitation!), correspond with NAGPRA (Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act) representatives, write articles for the AMAG newsletter, and database a print collection.
Q4: What are you excited/most looking forward to achieving as Collections Assistant?
I am most looking forward to helping our collection be the best it can be! I would love to improve collections by various means; perhaps change up the organization, labeling system, or even digitize files! I am a firm believer in leaving things in a better condition than the one you found them in, even if the condition was good to begin with.
Q5: What is your favorite exhibit at AMNH and why?
Anyone who knows me will probably know my answer to this question. It is Ancient Egypt, of course, purely because of our mummies! It is relatively rare that museums in the U.S. have mummies, and that Anniston has them is incredible! I am very fond of Tasherytpamenekh and her unnamed companion (whom I’ve dubbed “Merit Thoth” meaning “beloved of Thoth”). I humanize them as much as possible, and treat them with the appropriate wonder and respect.