Easter Egging the Collections Database

Have you ever considered dropping a few Easter eggs into your collections database? Of course you haven’t. Collections databases are sacred, serious places. There’s no room for trifles.

But it was not always so. For example, in 1798 Charles Willson Peale and Nicholas Collin cataloged the American Philosophical Society’s library collection. In between the numbering and the recording Peale drew these caricatures of Collin in the catalog book:

A wonderfully human moment, intruding on the clinical catalog.

If you had the opportunity, what whimsy would you add to your collections database? Something funny? Something sentimental? Something pointed? Would you leave it anonymous or would you sign it? Would you want to forget it was there and then experience the joy of rediscovery or would you simply leave it for your successor(s) to stumble upon?

Or is your database off-limits for such playful purposes? And if it is, why?


By the way, here’s the page right-side up.



About T.H. Gray

T.H. Gray is the self-appointed court jester and Dr. Demento for the history museum field. A lifelong museum professional and reenactor, he is a graduate of the prestigious Peale-Barnum Public History Museum Studies Program. Until 2011, when the AHS hired him away, he was on staff at the Benjamin Dover Memorial Museum & Swimming Pool ("Our History is All Wet!"). He remembers when museums were still about history, science, and art. BTW, all of these posts say they are by T.H. Gray because he can't turn off the byline. Credit, when due, is given. View all posts by T.H. Gray

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