BHS actively collects documents, artworks, and artifacts that support our mission ad collection development goals. In librarian and museum parlance, we call this acquisition and accessioning. Accessioning has its etymological roots in Latin, as a concept in property law (think “accessory”, as in the property added to an estate) but for libraries, archives, and museums, it’s just as useful to think of accessioning as providing access, the act of making something usable by researchers.
In the months ahead, we’ll be featuring a few of our recent acquisitions, and pulling back the curtain to give you a sense of what we do to make it possible for people to discover and use our collections. You can probably guess the basics – give it a name, and a unique identifier; list the contents; classify it by assigning subject headings – but I think you’ll be surprised by some of the details of how it happens.
In the rest of this post, I’ll introduce you to the Matthew Lewandowski collection. Lewandowski (b. 1932 Warsaw, d. 2011 Brooklyn, NY) was a tool and die maker based in Brooklyn who specialized in the production of steel dies, called hubs, used for the stamping of hollow-form earrings. Each hub is a unique, hand-made object; an original work and a tool used for mass production. Several of the hubs and drawings are on display outside the Library door through the middle of June.