Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New York State Capitol fire

First page of the Flushing Remonstrance, a petition from the freeholders of Flushing and Jamaica, Long Island, to New Netherland Governor Peter Stuyvesant protesting his ban on Quaker religious meetings, 1657. This document, which is particularly noteworthy because it was written by non-Quakers and is widely regarded as a precursor of the United States Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom, was badly damaged by the 25 March 1911 New York State Capitol fire. Dutch Colonial Council Minutes, 1638-1665, series A1809-78, New York State Archives, Albany, N.Y. Zoomable version available here.

One hundred years ago today, fire swept through the west side of the New York State Capitol, which then housed the collections of the State Library and the State Museum; the State Archives, which eventually took custody of the State Library's collection of state government records, had yet to be created. The fire claimed the life of night watchman Samuel Abbot and consumed 450,000 books, 270,000 manuscripts, 1,000,000 catalog cards, all of the State Library's other administrative records, and almost all of the State Museum's mammoth collection of Iroquois artifacts.

The 1911 fire remains one of the worst library fires in American history, and my colleagues and I deal with its aftereffects on a daily basis. Owing to the manner in which the records were stored, records from the British colonial and Revolutionary War eras were particularly hard-hit. Although some of these records had been transcribed and published prior to the fire, others were lost forever. Every archivist who staffs the State Archives references desk has had to tell researchers who found citations to colonial and Revolutionary War records in old books that the records in question were destroyed on 29 March 1911. Our State Library cohorts are accustomed to conveying the same sad news to researchers looking for certain manuscript collections and rare books.

Earlier today, my State Library colleagues Paul Mercer and Vicki Weiss, who have written a book about the 1911 fire and its aftermath, gave a lunchtime talk that focused on Albany's built environment at the time of the fire, the holdings of and physical space (oh, what a gorgeous space it was!) occupied by the State Library, and the utter devastation wrought by the 1911 fire.

The talk also highlighted the heroic salvage efforts undertaken by State Library staffers, some of whom risked their lives to save books and historical records, and for the rest of the day I kept thinking about the things that they did and said. For example, I knew that State Archivist A.J.F. Van Laer had been instrumental in rescuing the badly burned Dutch records, which he was in the midst of translating. However, I had no idea that he began salvaging records while the firefighters were still putting out the last of the flames, that he spent all day working in dripping wet clothes, or that he walked home, still soaked from head to toe, in freezing temperatures. I had never heard of Joseph Gavit, the librarian whose position as head of the stacks endowed him with intimate knowledge of the library's layout and holdings and who rescued the State Library's folio prints of John James Audubon's Birds of America -- deeply "human things" that, in his estimation, particularly warranted saving -- as bricks rained down around him. I understood instantly why Van Laer and Gavit unhesitatingly took such risks.

As Vicki and Paul pointed out, the recovery effort is ongoing. Van Laer, Gavit, Harland Hoyt Horner -- who rushed into the burning State Capitol to rescue the state's constitutions, a draft copy of the Emancipation Proclamation in Abraham Lincoln's own hand, George Washington's farewell address, and other treasures -- and the many nameless men and women who appear in photographs of the 1911 salvage operation began the work that my contemporaries are doing today. As you can see in this new online exhibit, my State Archives colleagues Susan Bove and Michael Grant are still conserving records that were burned in the 1911 fire. Our State Library colleagues are also conserving manuscripts and books and seeking to replace items that were lost in the flames a century ago. When my contemporaries and I are gone, future generations of archivists, librarians, and conservators will (I hope) carry on the work that Horner, Van Laer, Gavit, and their contemporaries began. The State Library and the State Archives both hold boxes of ashes and charred scraps that our predecessors found in areas known to house valuable materials and carefully preserved in the hope that technology would someday facilitate their reconstruction. We've discovered that scanning these scraps sometimes recovers text that cannot be read with the naked eye, and technology may well enable our successors to reconstitute the materials that our forebears saved.

If you live in New York's Capital District, WMHT will air an hour-long documentary about the State Capitol fire and its aftermath this Thursday, 31 March 2011, at 9:00PM -- immediately after the 8:00PM American Experience documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which took place four days before the State Capitol conflagration. Given that these two fires spurred New York State and the nation to modernize fire safety and building codes, it's entirely fitting that these documentaries are being aired back-to-back.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New York State Archives Triangle Shirtwaist Fire exhibit

Floor plan showing the layout of the ninth floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. From Factory Investigating Commission, Press Clippings Concerning Commission Activities, 1911, 1913-1914. A3023-77, Box 1, Folder 19140401, 4, New York State Archives, Albany, N.Y. Image courtesy of the New York State Archives. A zoomable version of this image is available here, and a Cornell University School of Industrial Relations three-dimensional model of the floor plan is available here.

One hundred years ago today, fire quickly spread through the cramped, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of the Asch Building (now the Brown Building of Science) on New York City's Washington Square. Most of the employees on the eighth and tenth floors were able to escape, but those on the ninth floor learned of the fire only when flames began spreading around them. A locked exit, a woefully inadequate fire escape, and elevator cars stopped by heat and the weight of the bodies of desperate women and men who jumped down the shaft hampered their escape. Dozens were overcome by smoke and flames, and dozens more -- many of them on fire -- leaped to their deaths before the fire could claim them. Within roughly half an hour, 146 workers, most of them young women or teenage girls who had immigrated from Italy or Eastern Europe, died. Six of those who perished remained unknown until earlier this year, when a dogged researcher who spent years combing through archival and library collections and old newspapers finally established who they were.

In the wake of the fire, New York State took dramatic action. It established a Factory Investigating Commission that began by examining fire safety issues in manufacturing facilities throughout the state and ultimately probed every aspect of the state's industrial economy. It then passed an ambitious series of laws concerning fire safety, working hours, and worker safety. Many other states and, ultimately, the federal government enacted legislation modeled upon New York's post-Triangle laws; Frances Perkins, who headed the Factory Investigating Committee's fire safety investigation and later served U.S. Secretary of Labor, asserted at one point that, in some respects, the New Deal began on 25 March 1911.

Several of my New York State Archives colleagues have created a new Web exhibit that brings together images of Triangle workers held by the Library of Congress and our own images of Factory Investigating Committee records highlighting the unsafe conditions, long working hours, and low rates of pay that investigators found in facilities located throughout the state. Please take a moment to check it out -- and to remember that sprinkler systems, fire alarms, accessible exits, and many other things that we take for granted were once rarities in the United States and are still rarities in many parts of the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Preserving Electronic Records in Colleges and Universities workshop, Plattsburgh, New York, 30-31 March 2011

If you live in or can travel to New York's North Country, you might be interested in the Preservation of Electronic Records in Colleges and Universities workshop being offered on at SUNY Plattsburgh. This workshop, which will be held from 9:00 AM-Noon on 30 and 31 March, will focus on:
  • types of records that should be preserved
  • legal and technical issues surrounding electronic records
  • standards and best practices
  • multiple file formats you are likely to encounter
  • tactics for developing productive partnerships within your institution
  • what you need to know about disaster planning
I reviewed a couple of early versions of the workshop slides and presentation materials and attended the workshop when it was first offered in Albany last year, so I can vouch for its usefulness. I can also vouch for my highly capable colleague Denis, who will teach this workshop in Plattsburgh.

To register for this workshop:
  1. Go to the New York State Archives' Workshops page.
  2. Type "colleges" into the keyword search box to search for this event.
  3. Click "Add to Cart" for both Day 1 (30 March 2011) and Day 2 (31 March 2011) of this workshop.
  4. Click "View Cart."
  5. Click "Check Out."
  6. Use the drop-down menu to identify the type of institution for which you work and, if you work for a New York State local government, the county in which your are employed.
  7. Complete and submit the registration form.

Your workshop materials will be made available electronically, and you will be emailed instructions for downloading and printing materials within one week of the workshop date.

If you have any questions about this workshop, please e-mail ARCHTRAIN[at]mail.nysed.gov or call 518-474-0670.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire commemoration in Albany, New York

Image courtesy of the American Labor Studies Center.

At approximately 4:45 PM on 25 March 2011, an improperly extinguished match or cigarette butt started a fire that quickly spread through the cramped, fabric-laden Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of the Asch Building (now the Brown Building) on New York City's Washington Square. Most of the employees on the eighth and tenth floors were able to escape, but those on the ninth floor learned of the fire only when flames began spreading around them. Flames kept them from using one of the exits, factory owners kept another exit locked in an effort to prevent theft, and the wrought iron fire escape quickly collapsed under the weight of desperate employees. Two courageous elevator operators were able to save some of the workers, but one car was soon stopped by the heat and the other by the weight of the bodies of employees who had jumped into the elevator shaft. Fire Department ladders reached only to the sixth floor. Dozens of desperate workers chose to leap to their deaths before the flames reached them. Less than half an hour after the fire broke out, 146 workers, most of them young women or teenage girls, were dead. The names of six of those who perished remained unknown until earlier this year.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire spurred a wave of activism and governmental reform at the local, state, and, ultimately, the federal level; future U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and several other people who rose to prominence during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt were among the horrified onlookers who watched dozens of young women and men plunge to their deaths, and the experience remained with them for the rest of their lives.

This Friday at 4:00 PM in the New York State Museum's Clark Auditorium, Albany will join New York City organizers in honoring those who perished on 25 March 2011 and highlighting the reforms that followed. This hour-long program will feature members of the New York State Legislature, prominent academics, and members of the media and will provide background on the fire and its aftermath, an important event in New York's labor history and in the creation of progressive legislation aimed at improving working conditions for New Yorkers and Americans. As a special tribute, names of the victims will be read.

This event is sponsored by the American Labor Studies Center, the Civil Service Employees Association of New York State, New York State United Teachers, the Public Employees Federation of New York State, the New York State Department of Labor, and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Driving, parking, and public transportation information is available here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where have all the (old) hard drives gone?

If you can't come up with an answer other than "long time passing," you may have a problem.

The State Comptroller of New Jersey recently recently released an audit report detailing problems in the state's disposal of surplus computer equipment. The state requires that its agencies degauss (i.e., use a powerful magnet to obliterate data) the hard drives of all surplus computers prior to disposal, but the auditors found that many state agencies were not complying with this policy. They examined a lot of 58 desktop computers and hard drives, some of which were to be auctioned off to the general public within a short time, and discovered that 46 of the drives still housed readable data. Some of the data was legally restricted and could have damaged citizens' lives or the state's information technology infrastructure if disclosed [p. 10-11]:
  • More than 230 files related to State investigative case screenings and reports of child abuse, endangerment and neglect. Many of the reports contained the names and addresses of the children. The files also included a child fatality report, child immunization records and a child health evaluation.
  • Information identifying the user of the hard drive as a high-level State agency official, internal agency memoranda, internal written briefings for an agency Commissioner, draft documents, personal contact information for multiple members of the then-Governor’s cabinet, and work plans for individual staff members.
  • A list of vendor payments referencing names of children and names, addresses and phone numbers of children placed outside of the parental home, along with case information.
  • A Microsoft Outlook e-mail archive containing 46 e-mails, including one listing multiple users’ computer sign-on passwords, as well as 11 personnel reviews for State employees that included their Social Security numbers.
A laptop computer that had been used by a judge who worked both at home and in an office also contained an array of legally restricted or otherwise sensitive information [p.7]:
  • The judge’s life insurance trust agreement, his tax returns for three years and a final mortgage payment letter that included the address of the property and the account number.
  • Two documents with the judge’s Social Security number.
  • A “confidential fax” to the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program concerning an attorney’s “personal emotional problems."
  • Non-public memoranda by the judge concerning potential impropriety by two attorneys.
The results of this audit propelled the Office of the State Comptroller, which oversees the auction of surplus state computers, cellular phones, and other equipment, has suspended the auctioning of hard drives and computers, but it's quite likely that hard drives containing readable data have been auctioned off in the past.

What an ugly state of affairs. However, those of us who work in large organizations are all too accustomed to having our old computers "taken away" by "the IT people" who configure our replacement machines and assuming that "the IT people" will dispose of them properly. Those of us who work in smaller organizations may not think about what happens to computers that are offered up for recycling or reassigned to interns or volunteers.

This state of affairs must change. Those of us who work with legally restricted or "sensitive" materials have to raise questions about what happens to our old desktops, make our managers aware of the potential consequences of not disposing of such equipment properly, ensure that existing disposal policies are actually observed, and, in the absence of existing policies, push for creation and enforcement of appropriate policies. Those of us who are archivists or records managers have a particular obligation to raise these issues and educate our customers, and those of us who do hands-on work with archival electronic records must ensure that old hardware and portable media is purged of any legally restricted or "sensitive" records prior to disposal. And, of course, we are all responsible for purging the hard drives of the computers that we purchase for our personal use prior to disposing of them.

How do you ensure that your hard drives (or other digital storage media) don't contain any recoverable data?
  • Remove them and destroy them. If I had a hammer, I'd hammer hard drives in the morning, I'd hammer hard drives in the evening, all over this land. Seriously, a 40-oz. hammer will do the job quite nicely. One county in New York State slices through its surplus drives with a plasma cutter. Some large organizations and computer recycling facilities have special shredders that can handle hard drives, data tapes, optical discs, and floppies, and many home and office shredders can destroy small quantities of floppy disks or optical discs (watch out for the resulting shards of plastic!) The options are endless. Of course, if you want to re-use the hard drive or give it to someone else, destruction is not a good option.
  • Degauss them. As noted above, degaussing involves exposing magnetic storage media to a strong magnetic current and thus obliterating the data they contain. Degaussing almost always renders hard drives completely unusable, so it's not a good option for people who want to re-use them or give them away. Degaussing equipment also requires an upfront investment ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, so it may not be a practical approach for individuals or organizations that do not regularly dispose of storage media; however, some firms rent degaussing equipment, and others may degauss small quantities of media for a fee.
  • Overwrite them. There are a number of software applications, including some open source options, that will repeatedly overwrite all of the data on your hard drive(s) with zeroes or, better yet, a numeric pattern and verification mechanism, thus rendering the data unrecoverable. This process may be time-consuming, but overwritten hard drives can be reused. If you're interested in overwriting the data on your personal computer's hard drive, check out the nice overview that Gizmodo posted about a year ago; it explains the readily available options for sanitizing hard drives, flash memory cards, and USB keychain drives. If you're responsible for disposing of hard drives that contain legally restricted or national security information, make sure that you comply with any applicable standards and policies governing the use of overwriting software.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Preventing insider theft: lessons from NARA's Holdings Protection Team

On Thursday, I had the good fortune to attend a training session offered by representatives from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)'s newly established Holdings Protection Team. I've already posted about the team's tips for preventing thefts committed by researchers, and today I'm going to post about -- and reflect upon -- the team's recommendations regarding prevention of thefts committed by staff.

Approximately 75 percent of archival thefts are committed by staff, and Holdings Protection Team member Michael Knight suggested that this figure is probably low.

This is a sad truth, but there's a definite logic to it. We archivists have ready access to the collections and the expertise to identify records that are intellectually significant or have the greatest resale value. We enter this profession mindful of our role as stewards and guardians of the historical record, but a few of us ultimately repudiate this obligation. The reasons for doing so are, of course, varied:
  • Life-changing developments such as addiction, a sick child, a messy divorce, or a disastrous investment decision can render a person desperate for cash. Some people feel compelled to ensure that their families enjoy a certain standard of living.
  • In some instances, an archivist's love of the past has a covetous component.
  • Workplace resentments may lead a person to lash out at an employer or decide that he or she could take better care of the records at home.
  • Some people become archivists because they seek access to materials that they can steal and sell. Others enter the profession and then realize that theft can augment their earnings.
Before we all get jumpy and paranoid about our co-workers, let's keep in mind another fact that Knight emphasized: less than 1 percent of NARA employees have been proven to be thieves. I suspect that the percentage of dishonest staff at other repositories is similarly low.

Most of us are honest, and we have to keep in mind that security policies are meant not only to protect our holdings but our own sanity and reputations. Several years ago, my colleagues and I learned that one of our co-workers had been stealing materials from our holdings and that of our sister institution. Fortunately for us, the authorities quickly pinpointed him and he readily admitted his guilt. Archivists at several other repositories that experienced similar thefts haven't been so lucky: they worked under a cloud of suspicion for months on end, had their personal lives and finances picked apart by law enforcement personnel, and couldn't lean on each other for support.

Moreover, good security policies support our efforts to maintain physical control over our holdings. As Knight pointed out, records " go missing" for a variety of reasons:
  • Staff fail to complete sign-out cards or pull-slips. A slip or card should be completed every time a box is moved . . . even if the staffer plans to bring it right back.
  • People make mistakes when re-shelving -- especially when supervisors give the impression that speed is more important than accuracy.
  • Catalog records or box tracking systems are outdated or inaccurate.
  • Staff leave them unattended, either at their desks or in public areas.
  • Inadvertent discarding or destruction -- a threat in facilities that house both archival and non-permanent records or in areas in which a lot of rehousing is taking place.
  • Deliberate discarding or destruction. In one instance, a disgruntled contractor working in a NARA facility sporadically pulled boxes off the shelves and tossed them into the trash.
What to do? Senior management must create and enforce policies that safeguard holdings:
  • Insist that staff complete pull slips, sign-out cards, or otherwise document the movement of records.
  • Make it plain that leaving records in unsecured and unattended areas -- even for a moment -- is prohibited.
  • If stacks have electronic card key access, each person who enters the stacks must swipe his or her ID. "Piggybacking" (i.e., following a person who has swiped his or her card and failing to swipe one's own card) is not appropriate.
  • Emphasize that accuracy, not speed, is paramount when reshelving records.
  • If at all possible, monitor contractors who work in areas housing records.
  • Staff who discover security breaches must report them to their supervisor or to another person in the organization and, if appropriate, take immediate action to rectify the situation.
Knight mentioned at the start of his presentation that one of the Holdings Protection Team is, in essence, helping to create an institutional culture that enables everyone to take ownership of physical control and security matters. In the days following the training session, I spent a lot of time thinking about the Holdings Protection Team presentation and Richard Strassberg and Mimi Bowling's archival security workshop, which I attended a couple of years ago. For what it's worth, I drew up a list of what I consider to be the core characteristics of a security-focused institutional culture:
  • Senior management encourages and expects all staff -- managers, archivists, technicians, clerical/support -- to identify and address security issues.
  • Senior management solicits input and feedback from all staff.
  • Supervisors train subordinates properly, encourage subordinates to share their concerns, use minor lapses as teaching opportunities, and use punitive measures as a last resort.
  • All staff understand why security and physical control policies exist, accept that everyone is responsible for helping to protect the repository's holdings, and feel comfortable speaking up when confronted with the unusual or unexpected.
About 15 years ago, when I was still in graduate school, Richard Strassberg came to my Archives and Manuscripts class and gave a guest lecture on archival security. He placed a lot of emphasis upon the relationship between labor-management relations and archival security. A few people are inherently honest, a few people are inherently dishonest, and the vast majority of people can go either way depending upon the situation. Creating a work environment in which everyone -- custodial and security staff included -- is made to feel valued and respected reduces the risk that staff will steal because they feel demeaned, excluded, or powerless. In light of the Holdings Protection Team's training, I would argue that a work environment in which everyone is made to feel valued, respected, and empowered to address security issues also increases the chance that insiders who steal for monetary gain or to augment their own collections will be caught sooner rather than later. In the final analysis, repositories intent upon protecting their collections from insider theft must consciously create a positive, open, and supportive work environment.

NARA's Holdings Protection Team hopes to offer additional training sessions for non-NARA staff in the coming months. If you get the chance to attend, by all means do so.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Preventing researcher theft: lessons from NARA's Holdings Protection Team

"It's easy to miss something you're not looking for." Remember that friendly researchers who frequently visit your repository may not be as honest as they seem and that trustworthy colleagues can experience life-changing events that leave them desperate for money, vengeful, or covetous.

This morning, representatives from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)'s newly established Holdings Protection Team gave archivists, librarians, and curators in New York's Capital District an abbreviated version of the security training that NARA staff receive. I had the good fortune of attending this session, and want to pass along a few things that I learned. In this post, I'm going to focus on the presentation given by Holdings Protection Team head Larry Evangelista, who discussed how to protect one's collections against thefts committed by researchers. In tomorrow's post, I'll focus on prevention of insider theft.

As might be expected, Evangelista's presentation focused on NARA's procedures and protocols, which naturally reflect NARA's status as a large institution that operates multiple facilities. In some instances, what follows reflects my own effort to interpret the team's guidance in ways that might be more applicable to smaller institutions. Moreover, what follows is at times purposely vague: the last thing I want to do is give some Web-trawling bad actor detailed information about NARA's security measures.

Evangelista, a former police officer and veteran retail store security specialist, set the stage by outlining the work of the team, which was started in the wake of the theft of a hard drive containing Clinton presidential records and is responsible for training NARA staff, conducting site inspections, scrutinizing movements of records (e.g., shipping, loan), and improving NARA's researcher registration process.

He then discussed theft committed by researchers, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of thefts from NARA and other repositories. Individual thieves are propelled by one of several desires:
  • Money. As we all know, some people steal records and then sell them via eBay or another venue.
  • Augment a personal collection. Some people covet records relating to a particular person or topic and are willing to steal in order to get them.
  • Employment. Private collectors who don't want to risk getting caught sometimes hire experienced thieves to purloin the items they want. This sort of "stealing to order" is common in the retail world, and it's increasingly common in the cultural heritage world as well.
  • Acquire a conversation piece. A thief spots something "cool" and decides that it would look good on her living room (or dorm room) wall. Unlike private collectors, most of whom deeply value and take good care of the records they steal, the person who wants a conversation piece may eventually get tired of looking at the record and destroy it or throw it away.
  • Destroy negative information about themselves or family members. For example, someone seeking to cover up a bankruptcy may attempt to steal court records relating to his or her case.
  • Alter the historical record for monetary gain or scholarly acclamation.
He then detailed the researcher behaviors that should put any archivist on alert:
  • Being more interested in what's going on in the research room than in the records on his or her table.
  • Constant monitoring of the whereabouts of staff and other researchers.
  • Moving records around in a haphazard or disorganized fashion.
  • Moving around the research room in an effort to find a "quiet spot" or to minimize the chance that his or her actions will be recorded on camera (if cameras are in place).
  • Arranging boxes, carts, etc., in an effort obscure what he or she is doing.
  • Frequently bending below the table or fussing with clothing . . . particularly if the clothing isn't appropriate for the environmental conditions inside -- or outside -- the research room.
  • Asking to see records that aren't even remotely related to each other (e.g., Civil War service records and court records from the 1980s).
He then offered some a series of steps for deterring potential thieves who exhibit these behaviors. However, it's important to note that these steps assume that you have and enforce policies relating to researcher registration, handling of records, staff review of records in the research room, and staff examination of researchers' notes and other materials prior to departure. Having these policies and practices in place will enable you to:
  • Provide enhanced customer service: walk over to the researcher, make eye contact, cheerfully ask if she or he needs any help, make specific requests as appropriate (e.g., "please remove only one folder from the box at a time"), and wrap up the encounter by noting that you'll "be right over there" if he or she requires assistance.
  • If this doesn't work, provide more enhanced customer service: ask a colleague to accompany you -- you want a witness -- and approach the researcher, make eye contact, and ask again whether he or she needs any help. Again, conclude the encounter by stating that you will "be right over there" in the event that your assistance is required.
  • In the event that the problem isn't solved, command presence is necessary. In larger repositories, this step may be carried out by a supervisor, but if you're a lone arranger or work in a small repository, you will likely be responsible for carrying out this step, too; however, if at all possible, you should have someone else serve as a witness. Approach the researcher, make eye contact, and in a calm, firm, and no-nonsense manner (this is not a time for "please" or "thank you"), instruct him or her to put all the records back into the box in their original order. Step away for a few minutes in order to allow the researcher to do so: you're giving him or her the opportunity to put back any records he or she may have hidden away. In addition, it paves the way for the next step:
  • Perform a "Quality control audit": carefully examine the records that the researcher has been using. Does anything seem missing or out of place? If anything seems even the slightest bit out of place, firmly but calmly query the researcher.
  • Exit checkout: carefully inspect the researcher's notes, laptop, etc. If you find records, demand that they be returned. Keep in mind that, depending upon the laws in your state, the researcher may not be guilty of a crime until he attempts to leave the building. Above all, remember that your goal is to keep your collections intact, not make accusations. Don't ask the researcher to lift or remove any article of clothing -- not even a suit jacket; doing so may be against the law in your state.
Needless to say, if you have a security camera that you can control, you'll want to start focusing on the researcher who exhibits suspicious behaviors sooner rather than later.

Finally, Evangelista noted that in in some instances, it's more appropriate to call building security or law enforcement:
  • If you witness a researcher destroy a record. You've just seen a crime take place.
  • If a researcher becomes hostile or threatening. Disengage and step away; do not allow the situation to escalate.
  • If a researcher flees the building. The researcher's home address should be on the registration form -- staff should copy it directly from a government-issued photo ID onto the form -- and the police can meet him or her there. Do not attempt to detain the researcher yourself; doing so may be against the law, and you may get hurt.
Many of us know these things, at least on some level, but it's good to be reminded of them from time to time; in fact, NARA now requires its personnel to take security training on a quarterly basis so that the essentials remain fresh in their minds.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New York in Bloom 2011, part four

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its after-school programs, ended two weeks ago today. I usually don't post about things that happened so far in the past, but a couple of you have asked for a post focusing on the arrangement that were featured in the State Museum's Metropolis Hall, which chronicles the history of New York City. Moreover, I always relish the opportunity to highlight not only the State Museum's after-school programs, which have placed thousands of low-income young people on the path to college and careers, but also the good work being done by the State Museum's curators.

Fittingly, the entrance to Metropolis Hall features a relatively recent panoramic photograph of New York Harbor; this photograph replaced an older image in which the twin towers of the World Trade Center were prominently depicted.

Carol Zapp of the Bill Doran Company used salal, heather, sweet William, protea, brazillia, curly willow and grape vine to create the crowd-pleaser above; I was moving through the exhibits rather purposefully and stopped at one point to chat with one of the New York in Bloom volunteers, and several other museum-goers who realized that I worked in the building asked me to help them find this arrangement.

One of the first galleries in Metropolis Hall focuses upon New York's coastal life, including recreational activities such as cycling. Marilyn Ryan of the Garden Club of Kinderhook used roses, daisies, mums, and greens to create an arrangement that fit beautifully with the velocipede and other bicycles on display.

At one time, New York City and several Hudson Valley communities were whaling centers. Now, the sight of whales off of Long Island and, occasionally, in New York Harbor itself, is cause for a different kind of excitement and enthusiasm. This simple arrangement of spider mums, ginestra, pincushion protea, emu feather fern, bells of Ireland, croton leaves, trachelium, statice, and moss, created by Arnie Maliszewski of The Country Florist, subtly blends in with the skeleton of a right whale.

There were several lovely arrangements in the section of the exhibit devoted to the Port of New York, but the light was so dim that many of them didn't photograph well. However, this simple yet appealing arrangement was sitting under a spotlight; sadly, I neglected to record who created it.

Another gallery in Metropolis Hall chronicles the city's development from the seventeenth century to the present, using the development and expansion of Fifth Avenue as an organizing theme.
Barbara Guyette of W&P Enterprises used spray roses, "Amnesia" roses, Fiji mums, asters, solidago, carnations, Queen Anne's lace, and ferns to create an arrangement that complements a display of furniture that would have been found in an affluent colonial New Yorker's home.

Independent floral designer Mary Lourdes Genevieve's arrangement of fleur de lis ivy, standard and garden roses, forsythia, magnolia foliage, berzelia, French tulips, iris, eriostomen, and sheet moss beautifully complements pieces from the State Museum's extensive collection of colonial and early republican stoneware.

One Metropolis Hall gallery focuses on New York City's transition from a busy colonial port to the city of skyscrapers we know today. Eileen Horton of Laurel's Flower Shop created a refreshingly springlike arrangement of bells of Ireland, miniature carnations, lilies, gladiolus, larkspur, and lemon leaf that greeted attendees who entered this gallery from the south.

Medina Jones and Sarah Lince of the Albany BOCES created an arrangement Gerbera daisies (full-sized and miniature), amaranthus, leather leaf, Ti leaves, snapdragons, limonium, and larkspur that complemented panels chronicling early skyscrapers.

The City of Albany Garden Crew -- the public employees who beautify my city's public spaces -- created a miniature skyscraper of pussy willow, white birch, box elder, grapevine, white pine, oak leaves, heather, amaryllis, eucalyptus, carnation, rose, solidago, lily, chrysanthemum, sunflowers, bamboo, rubber tree leaves, and liatris.

Linda Knipper of the Capital Hudson Iris Society created twin arrangements of chrysanthemums, willow, and leather leaf wholly consistent with the sleek formalism of modernist towers of mirrored glass.

Most of Metropolis Hall focuses upon different Manhattan neighborhoods. The section focusing upon the Lower East Side chronicles the lives of immigrants who worked in the neighborhood's garment factories or did piecework at home and organized collectively on their own behalf. Jane Hulsopple of the New York State Home Bureau Federation-Rennselaer County created an arrangement of roses, pine, carnations, tree ferns, pussy willow, and curly willow to complement a display relating to garment production.

Above, my hands-down favorite, created by Beverly Kallner of the Kinderhook Garden Club. It consists of chrysanthemums, dasies, alstromeria, limonium, pompom mums, iris, baby's breath, million star, and . . . records documenting the immigrant experience!

At the top of the arrangement, a marriage certificate.

And at bottom, a certificate of naturalization. How could any archivist fail to love this arrangement? (Okay, I realize that, from a preservation point of view, this sort of display is less than ideal, but New York in Bloom is a three-day event and all of the records were placed well away from the flowers' water source. Moreover, these records are the property of the designer, who is absolutely free to incorporate them into her arrangements if she so chooses.)

This striking composition of lilies, gerbera daisies, pussy willow and other elements sat in the doorway of the storefront of the Tuck High Company, a Chinatown retailer. Unfortunately, I recorded minimal information about the creator, Maria K.

Another favorite, created by Merilyn Niles, Jane Arsenau, and Marge Lansing of the Blue Creek Garden Club for the southern entrance of the gallery documenting life in Harlem in the 1920s. It consists of lilies, faciated willow, alium, and Spanish moss.

Martha Kissinger and Marcy Corneil of the Bethlehem Garden Club created arrangements of chrysanthemums, roses, alstromeria, limonium, leather leaf, seeded eucalyptus, and bells of Ireland that would have met the approval of African-American cosmetics magnate and society hostess Madame C.J. Walker.

My first thought upon seeing this arrangement, which sat between the Harlem gallery and a section of the Fifth Avenue exhibit focusing upon Art Deco: "Take me here, under the disco ball." Independent floral designer Matt Decker used fiddlehead ferns, craspedia, "Schwartzwalder" calla lilies, crosconia, agapanthus, kiwi vine, a disco ball, and boogie music to pay homage to Studio 54.

The section of Metropolis Hall focusing upon a fictional Manhattan neighborhood -- Sesame Street -- is an enormous hit with the youngest museum-goers. Even though it doesn't feature any animatronic Muppets or sophisticated video, the under-fives approach it reverentially and gaze at it rapturously until their parents get bored and prod them to move on.

Oscar the Grouch doesn't seem to like the arrangement to his left, but then again, why would he? Margie Amodeo of Emil J. Nagengast Florist built it of green trachelium dianthus, Gerbera daisies, and greens.

Amodeo also placed glass bowls of Gerbera daisies -- Popover, Kayak, Carambale, Grandiva, Fire Starter, and Colt -- on the stairs of the Sesame Street brownstone.

Another section of Metropolis Hall focuses upon New York City's transportation infrastructure. It features a subway car (ca. 1940), a scale model of Grand Central Terminal (which I could devote hours to examining), and other artifacts such as this ornate West 58th Street ferry sign. Donald Bennett of White Cottage Gardens created an arrangement of ivy, quince, variegated pit [sic], lemon leaf, gladiolus, roses, and dusty miller that complemented it.

This appealing composition by Kathleen Rohlfs of Chatham Flowers and Gifts was comprised of knifeblade acacia, curly willow, magnolia, flax, fern shoots, dubium, green muscari, clematis, cymbidium orchids, anthurium, green ball dianthus, pincushion protea, lotus pods, sweet huck and quince. In the background, you can see graphic works documenting the growth of New York City.

With the exception of a small arrangement at its entrance, the most recent addition to Metropolis Hall--a gallery focusing on the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001--was devoid of flowers. It's a place for sober reflection, not aesthetic appreciation, and even the most subdued arrangements would have been out of place there.

The Fire Engine Hall, which occupies the northeastern corner of the State Museum, was another story. Always a favorite with children, the Fire Engine Hall demands bold compositions. This little engine stands ready to bring curly willow, plumeria, hydrangea, lilies, roses, and carnations to those in need. It was designed by Mark Felthausen of Felthausen's Florist.

This trio of arrangements by Lindsey Janawicz and Lisa Binnacchia of the Albany BOCES features hypericum berries, spider mums, anthurium, spiral eucalyptus, curly willow, solidago, snapdragons, roses, statice, calla lilies, delphinium, carnations, and alstromeria.

Connie Strong Wilbur of the Bethlehem Garden Club created this eye-catching composition of lemon leaf, amaryllis, anthurium, tulips, and curly willow.

Red was also a popular choice for the arrangements in the State Museum's main lobby, which featured a Sears Model K automobile (ca. 1910) that was placed on display for New York in Bloom. Erin Brady of Crazy Daisy Florist used roses, hypericum berries, Gerbera daisies, carnations, black fiddlehead ferns, alstromeria, and bear grass to create these twin pieces.

This stunning piece by Joan Reilly of Henry F. Clas Florist featured Ti leaves, carnations, hypericum, and gerbera daisies.

Although not nearly as eye-grabbing as some of its neighbors, this sweet, simple arrangement of iris, hydrangea, and delphinium made me smile. It brought to mind crocuses peeking up through the snow -- a sure sign of spring.

New York in Bloom really does seem to have given spring a much-needed push: after a colder, snowier, and icier than usual January and February, March is being relatively kind to us. The days are getting longer, and the daytime temperatures are consistently above freezing. The daffodils and the tulips -- a particularly welcome sight in this old Dutch city -- will soon start emerging from the ground, and in a few short weeks, New York really will be in bloom.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Archival continuing education opportunities in New York's Capital District

If you're an archivist who lives or works in the Hudson Valley, southern Vermont, western Massachusetts, or eastern Connecticut, the following continuing education opportunities may be of interest to you.

17 March 2011, Albany: FREE Security Training
The New York State Office of Cultural Education Security Committee is hosting a special training event on the protection of cultural property. Entitled "Identifying and Responding to Both External and Internal Loss Incidents," this interactive session was developed by the National Archives and Records Administration’s new Holdings Protection Team and is being delivered to NARA branches throughout the country as part of their security initiative. Larry Evangelista, Michael Knight and Lee Johnson, members of NARA’s Holdings Protection Team, will present and facilitate this 90-minute version of the training session, especially customized for us. Topics include:
  • Warning signs of external and internal theft
  • Loss Prevention techniques for all types of facilities
  • Policies and procedures for prevention strategy
  • Communicating security concerns and incident response
  • Strategies for interacting with the public when a theft is suspected
The session is Thursday, March 17, 2011 from 10:00am until 12:00pm, with a brief break. It will be held at the Cultural Education Center's Huxley Theater. The CEC is part of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY and is on Madison Avenue, across the Plaza from the State Capitol Building. For directions, public transit and parking information, visit http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/information/general/muswhere.html.

There is no cost to attend this presentation; however, reservations are required. To RSVP, please contact Brittany Turner at bturner-at-mail.nysed.gov call 518-473-0130 by Wednesday, March 15, 2011.

27 April 2011, Waterford: Fundraising for Preservation and Conservation Workshop
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Conservation's Bureau of Historic Sites is hosting a fundraising workshop at its Peebles Island Resource Center (PIRC) headquarters.

Through thoughtful planning and effective grant writing, your organization can be competitive in the race for public and private funding to preserve cultural collections. This workshop will examine the planning process that funders want to see in place and the components that make a grant request compelling. With examples drawn from success stories at museums, historic sites, libraries, and archives, program participants will gain an understanding of how to effectively develop and implement a funding strategy to raise money for their collections.

The workshop will address:
  • Planning: Moving from a preservation needs assessment to a funding strategy
  • Potential funding sources: Triaging your time to focus on your best funding prospects
  • Writing the request: Anticipating the funder's questions and answering them concisely
  • Evaluation: Incorporating the new standards
Instructor Lee Price, Director of Development at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, has worked as a fundraising consultant for many regional and national cultural institutions. He has written successful grant requests for preservation funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Save America's Treasures.

Peebles Island Resource Center (PIRC)
Peebles Island State Park
Waterford, NY 12188
Driving directions are available at: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/historic-preservation/bhs/getting-there.aspx

Program times
8:45 AM - 9:15 AM Registration & Refreshments
9:15 AM - 4:45 PM Program
4:45 PM Optional tour of the Conservation Laboratory, PIRC, Waterford, NY [not to be missed!]

There is a program fee of $110, and registrations must be completed two weeks prior to the workshop date. Registration, secure credit card payment, and additional program information are available at:
  • Lunch will not be provided. However, a list of local restaurants will be available and
  • participants are welcome to bring lunch.
  • Refunds will be given until two weeks prior to the program date, minus a $25 cancellation fee.
  • If you have special needs, please contact CCAHA three weeks prior to the workshop date so that accommodations can be made.
The Academy of Certified Archivists will award five Accreditation Recertification Credits (ARCs) to eligible Certified Archivists (CAs) attending this program. For more information, go to: www.certifiedarchivists.org.

To learn more about CCAHA and its programs and services, please visit its website at www.ccaha.org. If you have any questions about this workshop, call CCAHA Preservation Services at 215-545-0613 or send an e-mail to pso-at-ccaha.org.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New York in Bloom, part three

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its award-winning after-school programs, has been over for more than a week, but I'm going to devote at least two more posts to it. It's been a rough winter. Here in Albany, we've had a lot of snow and a lot of bitter cold, and at the time of this writing heavy rain is giving way to an ice storm that promises to be almost as nasty as the one depicted in the Ang Lee film. We've spent too much time looking at snow, sleet, ice, slush, and the wretched gray slop that coats the roadways and curbs, and New York in Bloom provides a much-needed dose of warmth, color, and fragrance.

The State Museum's permanent Adirondack Wilderness exhibit includes a section highlighting the various minerals found in New York State. My subjective impression is that Minerals of New York is one of the most popular displays; men, in particular, seem to relish looking at the geological specimens, but a lot of women (myself included) are also drawn to it.

This simple yet stunning arrangement of "Lilac Shock" gladiolus, created by Andrew Koehn of Mohonk Mountain House, greeted visitors at the western entrance to the minerals display.

I love white and green floral arrangements, and this composition of miniature lilies, carnations, spray roses, gladiolus, calla lilies, myrtle, seeded eucalyptus, leather leaf, and tulips pleased me deeply. Anna Munafo of Price Chopper Central Market Florist created it.

Craig T. Waltz, Jr., of Fleurelite Floral Design created this amazing arrangement of oncydium orchids, king protea, pincushion protea, ti leaves, heliconia, winter flame dogwood, and monstera leaves. It's beautiful and just a bit alien -- just like some of the adjacent geological specimens.

The Native Peoples of New York gallery is one of two galleries on the south side of the State Museum. This arrangement by independent floral designer Anthony Macarelli sat at the gallery entrance. Sunflowers, Alstromeria, statis, iris, tulips, and monte casino asters sit in a basket that resembles the Iroquois baskets on display in the gallery.

This arrangement, created by Susan Peter of Bud's Florist and Greenhouse, sits outside a replica Iroquois longhouse -- which is a perennial favorite of young visitors. Information about the composition of this arrangement was not available.

Audrey Hawkins and Melissa Palmer of the Fort Orange Garden Club produced an arrangement that blends beautifully with the section of the gallery devoted to Iroquois baskets. It feature leucodendron, St. John's Wort, Peruvian lilies, pittosporum, huckleberry, zebra grass, bear grass, and bunny tail.

And this arrangement, by Pamela Nagengast of Emil J. Nagengast Florist, perfectly complements the Iroquois beadwork display. It consists of dendrobium orchids, matsumoto aster, trichillium, curly willow, thistle, statice, and miniature Gerbera daisies.

The remainder of the State Museum's South Hall is home to a permanent exhibit on Ancient Life in New York and a Photography Gallery and Exhibition Hall that feature temporary exhibits. At present, the Photography Gallery is home to Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants.

Unfortunately, I neglected to note the name of the creator of this exhibit or any details about its composition. However, I liked it so much that I'm including it in this post. From the top, it looks very much like a traditional, pleasingly springlike arrangement. However, the globe at the bottom, which brings to mind ant habitat, is an unexpected and interesting touch.

This composition of pincushion protea, equisetum, lemon leaf, safari sunset, speckled aspidistra, dendrobium orchids, seaster fern, green spider mums, bird of paradise, and song of India visually echoes the spindly ant on the far wall. It was created by Dan Foley of the Bethlehem Garden Club.

The image is a little out of focus, but the arrangement is too good to omit: independent floral designer Anthony Macarelli's ants survey their peers on the wall. The ants and their habitat are comprised of statis, assorted mosses, anturium, bromeliads, succulents, pine cones, seed pods, burning bush, and peanut shells.

At present, the Exhibition Hall is home to Citizen Soldier: New York's National Guard in the American Century. Peter Scranton of the Schenectady ARC created this arrangement of delphinium, tulips, carnations, spider mums, and pittisporum for the exhibit entrance, which features an M8 Greyhound Light Armored Car used during the Second World War.

The Crossroads Gallery is in the East Hall, which is almost completely given over to a permanent exhibit documenting the development of New York City. However, it is used to house temporary exhibits. At the moment, it is home to The Landscape of Memory - Prints by Frank C. Eckmair. Eckmair's work focuses on the rural landscapes of central New York; if you're so inclined, the online companion to the exhibit will give you a tantalizing taste of his work.

On Thai of Surroundings Floral Studio used forsythia, roses, dianthus, leucodendron, lily, sellum, philodendron, aspidistra, bear grass and galas leaves to complement the entrance to the exhibit.

The Bird Hall, which sits between the East and West Halls and immediately to the north of the South Hall, houses the permanent Birds of New York exhibit.

It's a New York in Bloom tradition to devote the Bird Hall to floral roomscapes, and Kimberly Seymour of Embellir used her alloted space to create a country kitchen comprised of carnations, roses, tulips, statice, daisies, and buttom mums. Check out those carnation cupcakes!

Benjamin Hodder of Frame of Light produced a sophisticated dining room featuring variegated aspidistra, roses, carnations, Gerbera daisies, birds of paradise, pincushion protea, asters, and delphinium.

This impressive array of tablescapes -- one for each month of the year -- was created by Barbara Guyette, Charles Guyette, and Linda Savage of W&P Enterprises. It features white wax flowers, blue juniper, dried cattails, grasses, yarrow, spray roses, white lilies, kalanchoe, red roses, white mums, purple statice, red carnations, blue spruce, and blue juniper.

Douglas Fisher of Designs by Douglas always creates sophisticated, eye-catching roomscapes. This minimalist dining room features cymbidium orchids, phalaenopsis orchids, and hydrangea. And blacklight. Lots and lots of blacklight.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

CLIR digital forensics report

Last December, the Council on Library and Information Resources released Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections. In it, Matthew G. Kirshenbaum (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, University of Maryland), Richard Ovenden (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), and Gabriela Redwine (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin) detail how investigative techniques and applications developed by law enforcement personnel can be of use to archivists and librarians working with born-digital manuscripts and other types of electronic cultural heritage materials.

I've been aware of this report for some time, but didn't have the chance to skim it until yesterday afternoon. I came away deeply impressed. It provides a handy introduction to the principles and practices of digital forensics, highlights the ways in which digital forensics tools can help to safeguard the authenticity and trustworthiness of born-digital materials, and explains how these tools can help to recover information that has been deleted or stored in legacy formats. Moreover, it explains, clearly and succinctly, a lot of things that archivists who work with electronic records really should know more about, such as how data is recorded onto magnetic media and the differences between and intricacies of file directory structures. It also discusses the ethical implications of using law enforcement tools and techniques to analyze electronic materials created by people who are not accused of wrongdoing, willingly gave their materials to a repository, and might be stunned to learn that the repository can recover financial data and other files that they thought they had deleted prior to transfer.

This report is essential reading for anyone who does hands-on work with electronic records or other types of born-digital cultural heritage materials.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New York in Bloom 2011, part two

As promised, here are more images from New York in Bloom, the annual fundraiser that benefits the New York State Museum's after-school programs. I'm a big fan of New York in Bloom -- it's a sure sign that spring is on its way -- but I'm an even bigger fan of the programs, which have a dramatic impact on the lives of children and teenagers from low-income families. Approximately 4,000 young people have been served by the Museum Club (ages 8-13) and the Discovery Squad (ages 14-18). Every enrollee receives intensive academic support (adults help Discovery Squad members, and Discovery Squad members earn a small stipend for tutoring Museum Club members), goes on educational field trips, and does a lot of hands-on learning using the Museum's collections, and the teens get help preparing for the SAT and Regents exams, exploring careers, and visiting and applying to colleges. To date, every Discovery Squad student has graduated from high school, and 92 percent have been accepted to college.

All of the photographs in today's post were taken in the State Museum's permanent Adirondack Wilderness exhibit.

At the moment, a small section of the Adirondack Wilderness exhibit is devoted to abolitionist John Brown, who bought a farm in North Elba in 1949 and who is buried on the property. Perhaps not surprisingly, there were no arrangements placed anywhere near the panels describing Brown's life and actions or the handful of artifacts associated with Brown and his family; however, I found it interesting that most of the people who left comments in the notebook immediately beneath the panel asking whether Brown was a murderer or martyr were of the opinion that he was a martyr.

The section of the exhibit devoted to logging was home to many arrangements, including this small but arresting composition by Craig Walsh, Jr. of Fleurelite Floral Design. According to the placard next to the arrangement, Walsh used hala leaf, heliconia, crespida, echeverria, and calla lilies; however, I believe that birds of paradise were substituted for the lilies.

Cynthia Campbell of the Blue Creek Garden Club created a basket of gladioli, spider mums, bells of Ireland, hybrid lilies, daisy mums, seeded eucalyptus, salal leaves, amaranthus, and birch, curly willow, and red dogwood branches that simultaneously stands out from and fades into a mammoth black and white photograph of an Adirondack forest.

Two arrangements by Steve Dominiak of Surroundings Floral Studio complement rough-hewn men working with rough-hewn logs. They feature sunflowers, monte casino, pussy willow, aspidistra, cedar, galax leaves, and phimosa fern.

A better view of the second arrangement.

Simplicity can be compelling, as this detail of an arrangement created by Michael Harbison, Kyle Shiland, and Cindy Wood of the Bill Doran Company attests. Phalaenopsis orchids, reindeer moss, river rocks, glass bowls, a metal stand, and bamboo stakes are as arresting as the adjacent Adirondack fire tower.

Eryngium, leucodendron, liatris, acacia, green trick dianthus, spider mums, protea, and umbrella, sea star, and dingo ferns stand in front of the elk pond. This arrangement was created by June Keane of the Heritage Garden Club.

At top right, a Canada lynx. Front and center, an arrangement of pincushion protea, orange roses, yellow spray roses, preserved oak leaves, wheat, mugo pine, cedar, and mushrooms by independent floral designer Cynthia Weyl.

Larry LaMere of the Schenectady ARC created this arrangement of Gerbera daisies, tulips, lilies, spray roses, alstromeria, solidago, cedar, fir, and birch branches for the section of the exhibit relating to Adirondack geology.

A close-up of LaRose's work. Note the rocks along the edge of the planter.

This sweetly springlike composition by Holly Hemming of Felthausen's Florist is comprised of Gerbera daisies, snapdragons, yellow aster, tulips, lemon leaf, myrtle, pitisporum, birch branches, lemon grass, sheet moss, and Spanish moss.

Sophie Nagengast of Emil J. Nagengast Florist used sweet blackberry, African boxwood, foxtail, magnali, horsetail rush, curly willow, ornito, dendrobium orchids, Kilimanjaro Gerber daisies, hypericum, and French tulips to create this wintry arrangement set up in the hunting, fishing, and trapping segment of the exhibit.

Donald Bennett of White Cottage Gardens created one of my favorites: a simple, inviting arrangement of liatris, boxwood, heather, and iris.

Alas, none of my photographs do justice to this showy, fragrant beauty, which was also created by Donald Bennett. It consists of hydrangea, stargazer lilies, roses, pussy willow, quince, hyacinth, and dusty miller.

This sweet, understated arrangement, created by Jean Smith, sits in the section of the exhibit devoted to tuberculosis sanitariums. It consists of lilies, solidago, eryngium, ferns, greens, and birch branches.

Jean Smith and Cub Scout Pack 350 used solidago, pussy willow, monte casino, delphinium, daisies, and pittosporum to highlight Scouting activities in the Adirondacks.

Another favorite, created by Craig R. Waltz of Fleurelite Floral Design. This loon is swimming amid black pussy willow, curly willow, calla lilies, crespida, oncydium orchids, echeverria, and moss.