Thursday, February 28, 2013

Electronic records disaster preparedness workshops in New York State

Owing to the extensive damage that eastern New York State suffered as a result of the remnants of Hurricanes Irene and Lee and that New York City and Long Island experienced as a result of Hurricane Sandy, archives throughout the state are devoting a lot more attention to disaster preparedness and recovery.  They're also trying to fill in some gaps in the existing professional literature, which is pretty squarely focused on paper and film-based records.  In an age in which ever-increasing quantities of archival records are created and housed digitally and repositories create and maintain access tools electronically,  archivists and records managers need to know how to protect their digital assets and recover data stored on electronic media.

In an effort to give archivists and records managers the tools they need, two organizations are offering electronic records disaster preparedness and recovery workshops next month.

First, on 7 March, the Metropolitan New York Library Council and New York University's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program are offering an all-day Disaster Preparedness and Response Bootcamp for Mixed Media Collections workshop in New York City:
When a disaster strikes and valuable collections are damaged, the clock begins ticking. The actions taken in the first few hours and days are critical to the long-term recovery of the material. Yet this is also the time when more damage can be done due to chaos, carelessness, and lack of preparation. Disaster preparedness plans can provide guidance, but every disaster is different and disaster plans need to be adapted to the specific response scenario. This workshop will focus on disaster preparedness planning and first response, and will provide participants with the opportunity to think on their feet, get hands-on handling experience, discuss challenges, and learn from real-world case studies.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be introduced to critical first response steps as well as logistics considerations and operational requirements of a salvage and recovery scenario for cultural heritage collections. Participants will also learn how to improve their disaster preparedness plans so that when the next disaster strikes, caretakers will be ready to respond. While handling and recovery procedures for different media types will be discussed, it will not go into great detail on conservation procedures for specific media types. Recovery procedures for media such as video, audio, and film will be emphasized, due to the unique requirements of these media, and lack of available literature.

Portions of this workshop will be videotaped.
By registering to participate in this workshop, you grant METRO and MIAP the right to record and distribute through audio/video recording your image and/or comments or questions that may result from your participation.

Please be advised that you will get dirty during the course of this workshop. Please dress accordingly.
This workshop is being taught by Kara van Malssen, who is a Senior Consultant for AudioVisual Preservation Solutions and a graduate of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program who first started doing multimedia disaster recovery work in Katrina-stricken New Orleans.  (Check out her master's thesis -- it's superb.)

The registration fee for this workshop, which is partially supported by the Institute of Library and Museum Services, is $45.00.  The workshop will be held at the Metropolitan New York Library Council's Training Center, which is located at 57 East 11th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003.

 Second, on 26 March, the New York State Archives is offering a three-hour Electronic Records Disaster Planning & Response workshop in Albany:
This workshop specifically focuses on electronic records disasters. Electronic records are susceptible to damage from water from floods or fires, heat from fires, power surges, computer viruses, and accidental or intentional destruction of data. Participants will learn how to mitigate these risks and respond should disaster occur.

This workshop will explain:
  • How to assess your organization's risk of experiencing an electronic records disaster
  • How to reduce the chances that a disaster will damage your electronic records
  • How to salvage various types of electronic media
  • How to recover data stored on damaged electronic media
Although this workshop has been customized for Records Management Officers employed by New York State government agencies, anyone may attend and most of the information contained within it will be of use to archivists and records managers working in a wide array of settings.

Although my employer's website doesn't identify any workshop instructor by name, I developed and am teaching this particular offering (apologies for the shameless self-promotion).  If you can't make it to Albany on 26 March, please note that we're planning to offer it again in the reasonably near future -- perhaps in person, quite possibly online.

There is no registration fee for this workshop, which will be held in the 11th floor conference room of the Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New York in Bloom 2013, part two

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its award-winning after-school programs, wrapped up yesterday.  Unfortunately, I had an early meeting this morning and didn't get the chance to finish this post before I headed to bed.

I devoted Saturday's post to the State Museum's West Hall, which houses the Beneath the City: An Archaeological Perspective of Albany and The Adirondack Wilderness exhibits, and to part of its South Hall, which houses the permanent Native Peoples of New York exhibit and two temporary exhibits.   I planned to devote this post to the remaining South Hall displays and to the East Hall, which focuses, for the most part, on the rise of New York City, but in impulse I decided to dash through the West Hall and revisit a couple of arrangements that I photographed badly on Saturday.

I'm glad I did.  I somehow missed this lovely arrangement, which Olive Felio of the Greenbush Garden Club created using willow, 5mm star gysophilia, mini carnations, asters, solidago yellow, and stock.  It's one of my favorites.

This is one of my reshoots.  Independent designer Andy Cyntrynak brought together cedar boughs, red and white roses, white mums, pussy willow, fantail pussy willow, a beehive, fuzzy bees, and many, many teddy bears.  It was a huge hit with the State Museum's youngest visitors, and the bowl of honey that Pooh is contemplating is actually a beaded beeswax.  It was heated from within and gave off a glorious scent. 

Moving right along to the South Hall . . . .

At the moment, the South Hall's Exhibition Hall is occupied by An Irrepressible Conflict:  The Empire State in the Civil War (closes 22 September 2013), which documents New York's contributions of men, materiel, and money to the war effort and draws upon the collections of not only the State Museum but also the State Archives and State Library and cultural heritage institutions throughout the state. Pam Taft of the Bethlehem Garden Club situated this arrangement of roses, hypericum, snapdragons, delphinium, and laurel in the section of the exhibit devoted to antebellum New York.

Independent designer Pat "Peach" Tobin's arrangement of delphinium, stock, carnations, leather leaf fern, and curly willow beautifully complimented a broadside documenting an 1860 Albany County appearance made by Abraham Lincoln and other Republican candidates and a lifemask and portrait of Lincoln.

 The Crossroads Gallery is a small temporary exhibit space that sits where the South Hall and the East Hall meet, and until yesterday it was home to Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks.  Stoddard was one of the first photographers to document the Adirondacks, and the images he created helped to make the region a popular tourist destination.  Meg Bugler of the Capital Region Career and Technical School, Van Rensselaer Garden Club, and Meg Bugler Floral Design used tree fern, bear grass, lemon leaf, curely willow, pussy willow, forsythia, tulips, liatris, seeded eucalyptus, spider mums, sweet William, lily, pine cones to create an arrangement that welcomed visitors to the gallery.  Capital Region Career and Technical School students built and finished the Adirondack chair.

Linda Savage of W&P Enterprises created this tourist-themed arrangement of alstromeria, eucalyptus, leather leaf fern, godetia, tea roses, baby's breath, juniper, palm, mums, spider mums, asparagus fern, and curly willow.

I was particularly taken by this simple yet dramatic arrangement that Jessica Mason of Felthausen's Florist created.  It brings together liatris, iris, white Monte Casino, sheet moss, and pussy willow.

The Metropolis Hall exhibit that occupies most of the East Hall focuses first on the natural environment.  The arrangement that Sue Hankamp of the Bill Doran Company created using kalanchoe, phalaenopsis orchid, croton, sansviera laurentii, hedera, and other plants exemplified the diversity of plant life that can be found in vacant city lots.  (It also honored Whiskers Animal Benevolent League, which is dedicated to humanely stabilizing Albany's feral cat population and finding forever homes for the displaced house cats that end up living on the edge of feral colonies.  One of my cats came to me via Whiskers, and I can attest to the good work Whiskers does.)

Here's a detail of Sue Hankamp's arrangement. Love it!

Andrew Koehn of the Mohonk Mountain House placed this arrangement of cymbidium orchids, red aranal calla lily, peony, flowered tulips, rananculus, leucadendron, agonis, seeded eucalyptus, maiden grass, wisteria branches, and lotus pods in front of the skeleton of an Atlantic right whale.

This dramatic, crowd-pleasing arrangement by Karen Ann Campbell of Henry F. Clas Florist splendidly complements a reconstruction of a Lenape dwelling.  It bamboo, bear grass, carnation, chrysanthemum, delphinium, eucalyptus, feathers, heather, hypericum, huckleberry, laurel, raffia, roses, sphagnum moss, and statice.

One of the galleries in the South Hall documents the rise of New York as a port city, and Diane Madden of Greenbush Garden Club used alstromeria, carnations, chrysanthemums, delphinium, ferns, and gypsophila to create this evocative arrangement.

Peter Scranton of the Schenectady ARC created a simple, delightfully spring-like arrangement of tulips, iris, lilies, statice, chrysanthemums, pussy willow, and lemon leaf.

Beverly J. Kallner of the Garden Club of Kinderhook used football mums, mums, alstromeria, wax flower, larkspur, fern, and lemon leaf in a tableau that highlights the imported goods that arrived in New York in the 18th century.

This arrangement of parrot tulips, French tulips, snapdragon, leucadendron, hypericum berries, and aspidistra complemented a panel documenting New York City's growth.  It was created by Louise Kavanaugh of the Bethlehem Garden Club.

This reconstruction of a 19th-century open air market was a most appropriate site for the arrangement that Dee Foley of the Bethlehem Garden Club created:  it features Bibb lettuce, orange unique roses, baby green hydrangea, hypericum berries, carnations, miniature sunflower, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, pears, garlic, and onions.

The 19th-century barbershop always inspires whimsy, and Sue Dillhoff of the Greenport Garden Club used yellow spray rose, dianthus, Spanish moss, Viking chrysanthemum, and solidago to create this sweetly amusing arrangement.

Arnie Maliszcewski of The Country Florist created a compelling arrangement of Asiatic lily, trachilium, bear grass, carnation, ruscus, and seeded eucalyptus to complement the Tuck High Company storefront, which highlights the development of New York City's Chinatown.

The Black Capital:  Harlem in the 1920s gallery consistently inspires dramatic arrangements.  Cynthia E. Campbell of the Blue Creek Garden Club created this stunning array of gladiolas, lilies, bells of Ireland, spider mums, amaranthus, sansviera, aspidistra, contorted willow, magnolia leaves, and baseball bats.

Independent designer Lisa Santoso's arrangement features Asiatic lily, Gerbera daisy, leucadendron, pincushion protea, wax flower, spray aster, seeded eucalyptus, and bear grass. The papier-mache figure is made of sheets of paper that describe the Harlem Renaissance as "a flowering of music, art, and literature."

This very orange arrangement complements a very orange 1929 taxicab.  It was created by Audrey Hawkins of -- fittingly -- the Fort Orange Garden Club.  It consists of alstromeria, mums, button mums, solidago "Tara," seeded eucalyptus, hypericum, and achillea.

As I mentioned in my last post, the I was surprised by the absence of the "tablescapes" -- a word often used by the governor's girlfriend -- that occupied the Bird Hall in years past.  However, yesterday I noted that the tablescapes hadn't gone away; they had merely moved into the South Hall.  Donald Bennett of White Cottage Gardens used cymbidium orchids, carnations, magnolia leaves, and sumac branches to create a very modern tablescape in a small gallery chronicling the city's development.

The little arrangement of carnations, roses, snapdragons, loosestrife, chrysanthemums that Anthony Macarelli of the New York in Bloom Commitee created was perfectly suited to a gallery documenting the development of skyscrapers.

Craig Waltz of Fleurelite Floral Design always produces striking arrangements, and this ensemble of anthurium, liatris, horsetail, orchids, hala leaf, and anthurium leaf beautifully complements Paul Goldberg's Robert Moses (1988).

Maureen Peters of Ambiance Florals and Events created a striking grouping of arrangements of carnation, rose, lily, delphinium, heather, bells of Ireland, pussy willow, daisy, Italian ruscus, and variegated pittosporum for the State Museum's Sesame Street exhibit.  Oscar the Grouch didn't seem to be too miserable about the arrangement placed next to his trash can.

The Fire Engine Hall occupies the southern corner of the East Hall.  It's a perennial favorite of the State Museum's youngest visitors, and it inspires some interesting arrangements.  This striking composition was created by Webelo 2 of Cub Scout Pack 528 (Poestenkill, NY) with, I presume, some adult assistance.  It features carnations, liatris, spider mums, Gerbera daisies, yellow daisies, and freesia.  The stones at its foot spell out the word "brave."

I was quite fond of this small but extremely attractive arrangement, which was created by Melli Rose of LUSH Floral Design and consists of iris, bird of paradise, circus rose, and spray rose.

Yetta Teo of Greenport Garden Club created this stunning arrangement of bird of paradise, seeded eucalyptus, mini carnations, pincushion protea, Italian ruscus, myrtle, hypericum, ting ting, Spanish moss, and bear grass.  It looked right at home amidst the 19th-century fire engines.

When I came to work today, "Once Upon a Time," David Michael Schmidt's mammoth main lobby installation, was being dismantled.  All other traces of New York in Bloom had vanished.  It's always sad to see New York in Bloom go, but I'm glad that the State Museum's after-school programs will continue to give children and teens who live in Albany's roughest neighborhoods the intensive academic, social, and personal support that they need -- and deserve.  And in just a few short weeks, New York really will be in bloom.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New York in Bloom 2013, part one

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its after-school programs, is being held this weekend.  Those of you who have been following this blog for a bit know that I'm a huge fan of this event, which brings some much-needed color and fragrance to a bleak month.  When it arrives, I stop blogging about records, digital preservation, and archives for a few days and devote a couple of days to writing about flowers and the exhibits created by my employer's sister institution. 

Those of you who know about New York in Bloom may also know that the Museum Club (8-13 years old) and Discovery Squad (14-18 years old) have given invaluable educational, social, and vocational support to young people from some of Albany's most hardscrabble neighborhoods.  Each and every Discovery Squad student has graduated from high school -- no small accomplishment given that Albany High School's 2011 graduation rate was an appalling 52.3 percent -- and 92 percent have been admitted to college.  If you're going to be in the Albany area tomorrow, please consider attending New York in Bloom and supporting these fine programs.

This is the fourth year I've blogged about New York in Bloom, and I have to say that the floral arrangements, which are created by floral designers, students, garden clubs, and individual hobbyists, are a little less extravagant than in years past.  For example, the Bird Hall, which in past years was home to sextets of mammoth floral roomscapes, is completely devoid of arrangements this year.  However, the stunning "Once Upon a Time" arrangement that David Michael Schmidt of Renaissance Floral Design created for the main lobby of the Cultural Education Center (which houses the State Archives and State Library as well as the State Museum) is one of the lushest and most ornate things I've ever seen.

This is the fourth year I've blogged about New York in Bloom, and I have to say that the floral arrangements, which are created by floral designers, students, garden clubs, and individual hobbyists, are a little less extravagant than in years past.  For example, the Bird Hall, which in past years was home to sextets of mammoth floral roomscapes, is completely devoid of arrangements this year.  However, the stunning "Once Upon a Time" arrangement that David Michael Schmidt of Renaissance Floral Design created for the main lobby of the Cultural Education Center (which houses the State Archives and State Library as well as the State Museum) is one of the lushest and most ornate things I've ever seenThis fairy tale-themed installation features several artifacts from the State Museum's collections, including a flax wheel made ca. 1830 by R. Werdon.

Note the bitten apple to the left of the "carriage," which is actually a 19th-century glass hearse that was formerly part of a private collection in Greenville, New York.

The glass slipper and gown were created for the now-defunct New York Theater Institute, which used them in several early 21st-century productions.

My photographs of this display really don't do justice to this installation, but this professionally produced video documenting its creation most certainly does.

The State Museum sometimes uses the corridor leading to the West Gallery to exhibit a large artifact or grouping of photographs, but at the moment the corridor is devoid of any exhibit materials.  As a result, the arrangements placed there really pop out.  Holly Hemming of Felthausen's Florist created this delightfully springlike arrangement of liatris, iris, blue hydrangea, button mums, and blue delphinium. It's one of my favorites.

I'm a sucker for white flowers and green foliage. Jessica Morgan, the Gardener of the City of Albany, used calla lilies, green hydrangea, bells of Ireland, green spider mums, green cymbidium orchids, and snapdragons for this grouping.

The West Gallery itself is a temporary exhibit space. At the moment, it's home to Eugene Ludins:  American Fantasist (open until 13 May 2013).  This commanding arrangement forsythia, amaryllis, Monstera deliciosa, aspidistra, and bear grass, which was created by On Thai of Surroundings Floral, stands at its entrance.

The western wing of the State Museum is devoted to the natural and early history of the state.  For the past few years, part of it has been home to Beneath the City:  An Archaeological Perspective of Albany.  Stacy Collins of Fleurtatious Designs created an arrangement of Gerbera daisy, liatris, larkspur, iris, delphinium, daffodil, and amaryllis bulbs that looks right at home in it.

I really like this grouping of leather leaf, lemon leaf, snapdragon, sunflowers, alstromeria, solidago, and facsimile historical records that Stephanie Elicia Powers of the Capital Region Career and Technical School placed right in front of two mammoth barrels that were found at the site of the Quackenbush-Douw-Bogaert rum distillery, which was established in 1758-1759.  However, I couldn't help but think -- and not for the first time -- that the City of Albany and the State of New York just don't think things through.  Albany is one of the oldest European cities in North America.  It's been continuously settled since 1624 (four years after the Mayflower!) but the powers that be don't recognize that the city's past is both unique and immensely valuable.  The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes that the history of Jamestown (settled a mere 17 years before Albany) is a huge tourist draw, and visitors to Jamestown see active archaeological digs and visit an archaearium that features some of the most compellingly interpreted exhibits I've ever seen.  What did the City of Albany do when the Quackenbush-Douw-Bogaert distillery was unearthed as a result of a construction project?  It let the State Museum and an area architectural firm access to the site -- for a few months.  It then finished building a six-story parking garage on the site.  I realize that Jamestown is currently inhabited by only a few people and that Albany is still a (semi-)functioning city, but no one with any amount of power seems interested in capitalizing upon, not burying, Albany's fascinating past.

Most of the State Museum's western wing is devoted to the Adirondacks, and as a result many of the arrangements found within it have a decidedly woodsy look.  I particularly like this Asian-influenced grouping of echeveria, lily, liatris, bells of Ireland, moss, and orchids, which was created by Craig Waltz of Fleurelite Floral Design.

Christopher Grigas of Fleurtacious Designs used phalaenopsis orchids, reindeer moss, magnolia leaf skeletons, and spruce, ash, and birch branches to create a subtle arrangement that splendidly complements a mammoth photographic image of Adirondack forest land.

As impressive as it looks from a distance, this arrangement really rewards close viewing.

Rich Coogan of the Bill Doran Company created a simple basket of white pine, birch, and sheet moss that splendidly complements a display of circular saw blades.

They're lumberjacks and they're okay.  They're also beautifully complemented by the curly willow, spider mums, bear grass, forsythia, Norwegian spruce, cedar, spruce, and white pine arranged by Janet Wierzchowski, Helen Lindstrom, and Ann Kabei of the Schoharie Valley Garden Club. 

Last year, the City of Albany Garden Crew, which is part of the city's Department of General Services, created a slightly controversial arrangement (scroll down) that featured garbage that had been strewn on the city's streets and in its parks (FWIW, I really liked it).  The group took a very different approach this year, and its arrangement of yellow daisy, Gerbera daisy, thistle, statice, sunflower, Queen Anne's lace, blue limonium, Matsomoto aster, green pompom athos, and spider mum that blends right into its surroundings.

Donna Ferlanzo of the Blue Creek Garden Club created a similarly complementary arrangement of hydrangea, miniature carnations, carnations, football mums, snapdragons, and baby's breath.

This arrangement is one of a trio that members of the Honest Weight Food Coop placed around this Adirondack mining wagon.  The accompanying placard contains a single list of all of the flowers used in all of the arrangements, so I have to confess my floral ignorance:  I recognize the Asiatic lilies and pincushion protea, but everything else is a mystery to me.
I adore this artful nest of tulips, roses, hydrangea, delphinium, moss, Italian ruscus, and boxwood, which was created by Anthony Macarelli of the New York in Bloom Committee. 

Pamela Nagengast of Emil J. Nagengast Florist created subtle clusters of sunflowers, kangaroo paw, mimosa, curly willow, seeded eucalyptus, thistle, trachelium, leucodendron, and oncidium orchid that melded into the Adirondack travel exhibit.

The Minerals of New York exhibit, which in years past has inspired floral designers to develop some really dramatic arrangements, was almost completely bare this year.  However, Jan Reilly of Henry F. Clas Florist created a pleasingly spiky arrangement of eryngium, leucadendron, ginestra, myrtle, and beads that fits in quite well with the geological specimens.

The State Museum's south wing is home to two permanent exhibits, Native Peoples of New York and Ancient Life of New York:  A Billion Years of Earth History, and a Photography Gallery and Exhibition Hall that house temporary exhibits.  Every year, someone places an arresting arrangement of white flowers and greenery in front of the mastodon display, and every year I attempt to take a decent photograph of it.  The above image really doesn't do justice to the splendid arrangement of carnation, spider mum, leather leaf fern, caspia, and emerald leaf that Maria Kolodziej-Zincio of the Greenport Garden Club created, but I like this piece so much that I'm posting the photo anyway.

In 1866, workers building Harmony Mill No. 3, a mammoth textile facility (now converted to loft apartments) in Cohoes, discovered the remains of a young male mastodon.  The Cohoes Mastodon's skeleton has been part of the State Museum's collections since 1915, and generations of New York schoolchildren have been fascinated and, in at least a few cases, terrified by it.  (A friend of mine first encountered the skeleton as a preschooler, and his screams prompted his father to carry him out of the exhibit hall.)  The understated arrangement that Jan O'Brien of The Country Florist created features curly willow, forsythia, chrysanthemum, roses, genistra, ruscus, and seeded eucalyptus.

Marilyn Ryan of the Garden Club of Kinderhook used protea, heather, pine, and wax flowers to create an arrangement that perfectly complements a display of contemporary Iroquois beadwork.

This arrangement of Berglia daisy, agonis, sunflower, and solidago harmonizes with a photograph of a contemporary Iroquois basket.  It was created by Donna Vincent of the Schenectady ARC.

At the moment, the Photography Gallery is home to Gordon Parks: 100 Moments (closes May 19, 2013), which features 100 photographs documenting African-American life in New York City and Washington, DC in the early 1940s.  The images are compelling -- see this exhibit if you can -- and Charles and Barbara Guyette of W&P Enterprises created an arrangement of arachnia orchid, curly willow, lily, broad leaf eucalyptus, safari sunset, and leucodendron that complements them beautifully.

This is another favorite.  Linda Savage of W&P Enterprises created it with alstromeria, eucalyptus, leather leaf fern, godetia, tea roses, roses, baby's breath, juniper, palm, mums, spider mums, asparagus fern, and curly willow.