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contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

Welcome to the Cummings Center’s new blog series presenting basic preservation and conservation practices. We’re kicking it off with some Do’s and Don’ts for caring for your own personal keepsakes and family treasures. No technical stuff here — just pictures and a few tips to get you started on your way to becoming a preservation pro in your own home!

DO NO HARM

The preservation mantra: DO NO HARM
If it can’t be undone, don’t do it.

Don’t do anything to your keepsakes that can’t be reversed such as using pens (see above image), staples, metal clips, or tape which can leave behind permanent marks, holes and residue. And no eating or drinking around any items that you love! The goal is maintain your items as close to their original forms as possible.

Clockwise left to right: Don’t take a book off the shelf by pulling it from the top; when handling photographs, wear gloves — don’t handle with bare hands; storing large books with the spine facing down will cause them to become misshapen; don’t expose anything you want to keep in direct sunlight.

DON’T LAMINATE — ALWAYS ENCAPSULATE!

Lamination – NO! Encapsulation – YES!

Lamination was a popular way to keep paper items from being exposed to excessive handling and environmental changes in temperature and humidity. But lamination is permanent because the lamination process seals paper items between two sheets of transparent plastic material, melting to form a seal when subjected to heat and pressure. The laminate material also breaks down over time, damaging the document trapped inside the melted plastic.

The encapsulation process uses a non-reactive polyester film to hold paper items in place. It does not use heat to adhere to the paper or to seal the pieces closed, but rather simple double-sided tape to tape edges together and enclose the materials inside. The tape can be removed or replaced at any time to open up the two pieces of polyester and allow easy removal of the item inside.

Clockwise left to right: DON’T stack vinyl records flat on top of one another, but DO store flat anything that’s recorded on tape like old home movies or VCR tapes; don’t under-fill or overfill paper items stored in folders; store audiovisual recordings in appropriately sized individual non-metal containers.
Places to NOT store your family treasures!

Most people store their family mementos and heirlooms in the basement, attic, or garage, but it is best to keep these items away from areas that are not climate controlled like the living spaces of your house are. Avoid large fluctuations +/- 5 degrees in temperature and +/- 5% in humidity. The ideal temperature for items and people to cohabitate is between 68-70 degrees. Film based materials generally like cold storage (a freezer is best). Even if your materials aren’t organized, keep them away from areas that would attract pests and have high levels of heat, humidity, or sunlight.

Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll be able to keep your family treasures around for generations to come!

  • contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Dr. David B. Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, is retiring.

Let’s recap shall we?

Dave came to The University of Akron in 1999 to take over as the director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology when founding director Dr. John Popplestone retired. At that time the archives, AHAP as it was known, was housed in the basement of an old department store, the Polsky Building. No world class reading room. No National Museum of Psychology. No hands-on museums and archives certificate program for students. No online History of Psychology course.

Heck, there weren’t even windows.

But the artifacts and the manuscript collections were there and Dave’s vision was there. And in his 21 years at The University of Akron, Dr. David Baker was able to turn his vision for the archives into a reality.

Dave’s dedication, leadership, and relentless fundraising efforts produced the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology – a world-renowned archival research center and home to the Institute for Human Science and Culture and the National Museum of Psychology

Dr. David B. Baker’s legacy is secure.

And sure, professional success and accolades are wonderful. But what really counts in life is whether a person is kind, honest, genuine, and a friend. And Dave was all those things, and more, to so many. A mentor, a colleague, a professor, a friend, a boss, a golf buddy. Dave is the real deal and we sure are going to miss him.

We asked many of his close friends and colleagues to record a short video to thank Dave and wish him well on his retirement. As you can see from the resulting video, a lot of people are going to miss him.

All that’s left for Dave to do now is ride – or boat – off into the sunset.

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton

Welcome to the third installment of CCHP Pandemic Projects. These fully digital learning projects give students a way of engaging directly with primary source, historical material. They are useful for teaching history, historical research skills, history of psychology, information literacy…the sky is the limit!

Volume I tackled Asylums and Epidemic Diseases and in volume II we tackled Eugenics and the Census. Both of those projects were geared more towards college students. Volume III is more adaptable to K-12 students but also works for college students. Critical thinking knows no bounds!

In this next installment, we explore something many of us are intimately familiar with right now: being alone, slowing down, taking a pause.

So let’s dig in.

Psychologist Martin Reymert (1883-1953) was an immigrant from Norway. He immigrated to the United States in 1925 to serve as the head of the psychology department and director of the psychology lab at Wittenberg College in Springfield, OH. He moved on to Mooseheart, IL in 1930 to establish the Mooseheart Laboratory for Child Research and he remained the lab’s director until his death in 1953.

Martin Reymert in his office at the Mooseheart Laboratory.
Martin Reymert papers, box M1228, folder 6

Reymert’s manuscript collection is very interesting for several reasons, including the insight it provides about immigration and American life from an immigrant’s viewpoint.

Martin Reymert was interviewed by a Minneapolis radio station on this topic and the three page transcript is the document we will analyze for this project. You can access all the materials you need for this project including a document analysis instructor’s guide, a document analysis sheet, and the radio transcript in full text here: American Psychosis and Creative Laziness.

The reason I selected this radio transcript for a Pandemic Project is because it provides a perfect opportunity for us to talk to our students about isolation during the current health crisis.

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…average Americans are afraid to be alone….we are always rushing into some one crowd or another…it takes an awful lot of mental sanity to squarely face ones’self in solitary moments….

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…creative laziness….apparently doing nothing and experiencing the sacred moments of inspiration, new ideas, etc.–in short, the sort of things that are the actual dynamos for the world’s progress.

The COVID19 health crisis has forced us to face ourselves in solitary moments. How are we handling it? And almost more importantly, how are our students handling it? Can we use this transcript from the Martin Reymert papers to reach out to our students and check on them under the guise of an archival document analysis project? I like to think so.

We can use Reymert’s ideas of “American psychosis” (inability to be alone) and “creative laziness” (inspiration by way of solitary reflection) as the starting point for a discussion with our students about how THEY are coping. Of course, the difference here is that we are in isolation through shelter-in-place directives and social distancing, rather than simply choosing to be isolated.

The document analysis sheet I created for this project can (and should) be adapted to best suit your needs as an instructor. This project can be adapted for use with middle school and high school students or undergraduate and graduate students. If you’d like a bit of help with that reach out to me directly. I am happy to help! (lizette@uakron.edu).

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

To access more CCHP remote learning materials click here: CCHP Pandemic Projects.

contributed by Tony Pankuch (Archives Assistant)

Since beginning my work as a staff member of the CCHP earlier this year, much of my focus has been directed toward the increased accessibility of our museum and archival resources. Though changes to the design and content of museum exhibits are primarily long-term projects for our team, I have been able to work with my colleagues to develop a number of informational resources for museum visitors relating to the accessibility of our physical facilities.

We will begin publishing most of these resources when the museum reopens, but for right now, I’d like to give you a preview of what you can expect to see.

Preview of the CCHP accessibility web page, featuring an Accessibility and Inclusion Statement.
Preview of the CCHP Accessibility page.

Accessibility Webpage

My colleagues and I have worked to compile information on the CCHP’s current state of accessibility into a single location on our website. This page includes an Accessibility & Inclusion Statement that will guide our future efforts and contact information for all accessibility-related inquiries. The page also includes information on the Museums For All initiative, which will provide reduced admission to guests presenting a state-issued EBT card at the admissions desk. Within this space, we have striven to be honest about the current realities of the museum in regards to physical accessibility.

Unlike the resources below, the Accessibility page is available now.

Preview of the CCHP Visitor’s Guide, featuring an image of the museum entrance and the guide’s “Exploring the Museum” section.
Preview of the CCHP Visitor’s Guide.

Visitor’s Guide

A Visitor’s Guide will be available online for those interested in visiting the National Museum of Psychology and Institute for Human Science and Culture galleries. This guide will provide visitors with detailed information on travel, parking, physical facilities, and museum content. Photos will be included to illustrate all parts of the museum experience.

Preview of the National Museum of Psychology maps, side-by-side. Icons on the second map show the location of different types of exhibits.
Preview of the Museum Map. Left: Standard Map; Right: Detailed Sensory Map.

Museum Map

In addition to the Visitor’s Guide, maps of the National Museum of Psychology will be offered on our website and in print form at the museum’s admissions desk. These maps will exist in two varieties. The first is a basic map detailing the layout of the museum and the location of key amenities, such as restrooms and seating. The second will include more detailed information on the locations of hands-on exhibits and displays, audio sources and noisier areas, and audio/visual elements currently lacking closed captioning or alternative forms of access. This second map, along with the visitor’s guide, is designed to give visitors an idea of the sensory atmosphere and limitations of the museum in its current state.

These initial resources are centered on offering clear, accurate, and easy-to-find information regarding the accessibility of the CCHP. Moving forward, we will begin working toward the improvement of our physical facilities and digital offerings.

Of course, the most important people in all of this are you, our patrons and visitors. What can we do to make the CCHP more accessible for you? What information would you like to see on our website and social media? Let us know in the comments, or email us at ahap@uakron.edu.

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

The United States conducts a census every ten years with the goal of counting every single resident of the U.S. The data is used to determine disbursement of all kinds of federal monies and even more importantly, it determines the number of representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. Participating in the census is super important so if you haven’t done it yet, get to it for pete sakes! See here.

So census data is used for distributing money and determining representation – good things! – but could that same data be used for not-so-good things? What do you think?

I did a search for “census” across our collections and ended up going way, way down the rabbit hole.

It all started here:

Journal of Heredity, CCHP Books & Periodicals collection

What is the Journal of Heredity? It’s the official journal of the American Genetic Association, a group that is still very much active today researching genetics. Of course, “American breeding and eugenics” has long since left their journal, their research, and their mission but in 1919 eugenics was considered true science by many and its influence on politics and policy, along with numerous other facets of America life, can’t be denied.

First things first, how to access this journal. We have a short run of this title in the archives’ Books and Periodicals collection. We digitized the pre-1923 volumes and they are available in full-text in the online repository here. These early journals are really incredible in regards to plant variety and genetics (seriously, do a search for pawpaws!). And they’re also very interesting in regards to the history of immigration and American life. Do some browsing and have some fun!

Ok, back to the census and the article I want you to read. You can access it via a shared OneDrive folder here,- The Journal of Heredity, May 1919, Vol. X, No. 5. (skip ahead to page 18 of the pdf).

Laughlin, H. H. (1919). Population Schedule for the Census of 1920.

I think this article is an excellent jumping off point to have a discussion with your students about eugenics and eugenicists’ influence on American life, especially immigration policy.

I mentioned a shared OneDrive folder above. In that folder you’ll find The Journal of Heredity and document analysis sheets for each of the following project ideas. Access everything here: CCHP Pandemic Projects: Eugenics and the Census.

Project 1: Have your students read the article and report back. What was most interesting? What was surprising? What would you like to know more about? What questions do you have?

Project 2: Focus on the census. What data was collected on the 1920 census versus the data being collected on the 2020 census. Is the same data being collected? If not, what is different? Any ideas why certain questions are no longer asked?

Project 3: What was the ERO lobbying for to be included on the census and why? Why would “pedigree studies” be important to eugenicists?

Here is a clue:

Project 4: A document analysis that is less about the content of this particular article and more about Harry H. Laughlin and the Eugenics Record Office. And if that’s something of interest you could also assign this article (It is excellent!) – Allen, G. E. (1986). The Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, 1910-1940: An Essay in Institutional History. Osiris, Vol. 2, 225-264.

Project 5: An investigation of how census data and eugenics influenced and shaped the Immigration Act of 1924 (aka the Johnson-Reed Act). For those of you that didn’t know, the Johnson-Reed Act enacted quotas on immigration, not to mention it banned immigrants from Asia all together. How does the census fit in? The quotas on immigrants were based on census data! Specifically, 2% of the U.S. population of immigrants from their country of origin as recorded via the 1890 census was used as the basis of the quota of immigrants that would be accepted from that country starting in 1924.

Allen (1986) is a valuable resource for this one too since it dives deep into Laughlin’s “lobbying” on behalf of eugenics, notably that he testified before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. You could also read Milestones, 1921-1936 from the Office of the Historian . And check out this awesome resource from DOCSTeach via the National Archives – The Impact of the Immigration Act of 1924. This is more geared towards students in grades 7-12 but it’s pretty cool and all of us, regardless of age, could benefit from that resource.

Some things to think about and ask your students:

(1) Why did they go all the way back to the 1890 census to get those population numbers instead of more recent data? Ask your students to do some initial research on immigration in the United States between 1890-1924. Were there large influxes of immigrants coming from specific countries?

(2) What was the effect of these quotas on immigration numbers? Were some countries more affected than others? How did those 1890s numbers affect specific groups?

(3) Were these quotas adjusted throughout the 1930s and 1940s in order to take into account the mass exodus of people fleeing Nazi Germany? Most folks would say, “Yes. of course. The United States wouldn’t keep these quotas and turn away Jewish immigrants.” But is that the truth? Ask your students to answer that question.

(4) Are there any parallels today? I’m sure your students can dig up examples of how both so much, and so little, has changed in the discussion of immigrants and immigration in America.

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

As always, if you’d like to work together to create a more concrete project using the Journal of Heredity please reach out to me directly – lizette@uakron.edu. I’m happy to help!

contributed by Kristie Zachar, Museums & Archives Studies student and CCHP Student Assistant.

A sneak peek at some Bloomingdale’s bags in the Lee L. Forman Collection of Bags.

We don’t think about them much, but bags play a pretty big role in the lives of Americans everywhere. We use them practically every day, and we use them for a number of different reasons, but you have to admit, they’re not something you would actively think about. While we could surely say plenty about bags, starting with what exactly is a bag and what do we use them for, a different question would be what exactly do they say about us? This year, the Institute for Human Science & Culture will be opening a new exhibit titled “Cultural Carry-On: America’s Literal Baggage” that manages to answer that question for us.

“Cultural Carry-On” student-designed logo
Framed bag with painted portrait of Lee L. Forman.

The exhibit has been put together by students of the Museums and Archives Certificate Program at the University of Akron as their final project for the Foundations of Museums and Archives II course (1900:302) which is held at the Institute. Students chose from the 12,000 bags and other bag-related items in the Lee L. Forman Bag Collection, picking items that they found interesting and later finding that the seemingly unconnected bags they had chosen helped to create a larger, multi-sided view of American culture.

 The exhibit puts this view on display as it explores the various uses of bags as advertising, merchandise, memorabilia, and more, and how they reflect the different facets of American culture from food industries to music to politics and even to the evolution of bag manufacturing itself. The “Cultural Carry-On” exhibit dives deep to find the weird and fascinating stories behind these bags and their cultural connections in a creative and unique take on American culture that you won’t find anywhere else.

4th floor galleries at the Cummings Center: the space that will soon exhibit the students’ hard work on the Lee L. Forman Collection of Bags.

The students have been working hard in preparation for the exhibit’s opening in Spring 2020, but unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, plans for the exhibit have had to change, and it will no longer be opening May 7, 2020. The exhibit will still be opening at some point in the future when staff are able to return to the site, but as of now, there is no set date. Students are continuing to work and plan the exhibit remotely and are looking forward to sharing their work with the public as soon as they are able.

For additional information about the exhibit, watch for updates on the Cummings Center Facebook page.

For additional information about the Museums and Archives Studies Certificate program, please contact Dr. Jodi Kearns at jkearns@uakron.edu or visit https://uakron.edu/chp/education/museums-and-archivescertificate.dot.

  • contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

I’d like to revisit what the CCHP can offer to remote users, especially instructors, during these bizarro times in which we are living. I’m being ambitious and making this a series of blog posts. First up, the asylum reports.

A few months ago I wrote an invited column for The General Psychologist, the newsletter for the Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1) titled, “Primary Sources in the Classroom: Project Ideas for Investigating Mental Health Care in the United States Through Digitized Asylum Reports.”

You can read my Division 1 column for numerous project ideas using our Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports. Remember, our asylum reports are digitized and available as full-text, word-searchable PDFs in our online repository. You can take away some ideas from that column or you can work on creating your own projects. Maybe you’re just bored and want to research asylum reports for the heck of it – do it!

All that being said, I’d like to introduce a specific project and provide some resources and ideas for how you can make it work with your students.

Asylums and epidemic diseases

We are living through a global pandemic right now but disease and illness in the enclosed, often overcrowded spaces of asylums was common. I did word searches for keywords like pandemic, epidemic, influenza, small pox, cholera, and a few others. I went through my hits and decided to focus on two specific asylums – Topeka State Hospital in Kansas (1915, 1919, 1923) and the Government Hospital for the Insane, also known as St. Elizabeth’s, in Washington, DC (1914, 1921, 1926). I took the date of the reports in my searching into account and selected reports before and after the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Topeka State Hospital, 1919

You can access the reports through the links above. You can also access the reports in a shared OneDrive folder here. Download the PDFs from either location and get to work!

Reports typically provide statistics, including physical illness and death, about the patients in their care so that is a great place to start.

Identify epidemic diseases (influenza, small pox, typhoid, etc.) in the reports. Look for how many patients contracted one of those diseases and how many died from it. Compare the data from one report to the next. What changed during the years in between? Did the population of patients increase or decrease? Did the illnesses within the asylum mirror what was happening outside of the asylum? Did vaccinations increase? Were they vaccinating? Did vaccinations for the disease in question even exist?

If a report specifically mentions the 1918 Influenza Pandemic – what does it say? How widespread was influenza within the asylum? How did it compare to the illness outside the asylum? What steps were taken to mitigate the spread of disease? Were staff affected?

Both Topeka State Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s were designed according to the Kirkbride Plan – an architectural design that included numerous wings for patients and patient activities. This design may have provided less opportunity for distancing as compared to another asylum style known as the Cottage Plan. Have your students do a bit of research on these two design styles in order to determine the pros and cons of each during an epidemic.

If you are digging any of these ideas and would like to work together to create something a bit more concrete for use in your class please reach out to me directly – lizette@uakron.edu. I’m happy to help.