Proceedings – SOME NOTES ON THE COLLECTING AND EXHIBITING OF HISTORICAL MATERIAL

Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929

 MUSEUM TECHNIQUE

SOME NOTES ON THE COLLECTING AND EXHIBITING OF HISTORICAL MATERIAL IN NATIONAL PARK MUSEUMS.

By C. A. Harwell

The History room at the Yosemite Museum has certainly demonstrated the intensive interest of park visitors in the human history of the region. Mr. Hall and Mr. Russell are the ones responsible for the collection of the materials and the success of the exhibit. It is only seventy-eight years since the official discovery of the Yosemite Valley by the Mariposa Battalion yet there is a mass of interesting material available for worth while display. Here are some types:

1. Progress in travel, as to ways of travel and roads and trails shown by display of early stage coach, photos and relics.

2. Progress in the human development of area as shown by maps, photographs, charts, etc.

3. Progress in development of system of protection as shown by relics, photos, etc.

4. Progress in photography as shown by series of photographs featuring the earliest.

5. Progress in Mining of region.

6. Progress in any other phase of the parks’ development and history of the region of outstanding interest when attractively arranged and labelled.

Methods of collecting those data, relics, and materials, depends on interest and resourcefulness of park naturalist and his helpers. Surely every park should be making every effort to secure such materials before they are scattered and made unavailable.

Personal contacts, letters, appeals in lectures, posters, circulars, etc., can be used. Private funds can be solicited to build up such work. Outside agencies can be appealed to.

In every case the permanence of the materials asked for or collected must be assured. A fireproof building is the answer.

It should be kept in mind that what is common today may be historically valuable fifty or a hundred years hence. Some current materials should therefore be filed with history collections for future use.

Discussion

Following Mr. Harwell’s paper Mr. Hall again accentuated the desirability of the park naturalists immediately securing all available historical material as this is year by year being destroyed or becoming harder to find. The accumulation of historical exhibits will at best take considerable time and the work should be started in this field immediately, even though the materials collected will have to be stored until exhibit space is available.

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