So continues my adventures at the Independence Seaport Museum archives. This week I worked 19 hours (I worked 18 last week ). The week began where I left off last Friday, going through the collection to understand what we had in order to then process it in an intelligent fashion. Similar to last week, most of what I went through involved manuals and instruction books on the equipment on the submarine. One particularly interesting one was a large booklet on the submarine’s torpedo tubes, which those who read my material culture blog will recognize as one of the missing links in my study of the torpedo tubes. This discovery highlighted how important my internship is since without an easily accessible and usable archives then scholars will be unable to use the primary sources that may shed light on the past.
By Tuesday, I had completed majority of the intellectual assessment, so that I now know that most the collection includes, blueprints, manuals and work/ repair logs from last five years of the submarines use (1964-1969). There are also some papers from the Olympia Association and the Seaport Museum on the Becuna, including the original contract transferring it from the Navy to the Olympia Association as well as letter from President Clinton for the Becuna‘s 5oth anniversary.
Also on Tuesday I meet with the curator, Craig, and the new Becuna manager, Greg, to discuss doing an inventory of the submarine to see if there are still any important artifacts and documents on-board. So on Friday, Greg and I began going through each room on the submarine and opening every cabinet and closet in search of material. Whenever we found something, I would mark down what the object was and where it was found, and once we finish the entire submarine we will determine what should be moved to the museum or stay on the submarine as a prop or spare part. This was a very long process and by the end of the day on Friday, we only made it a third or so through the submarine and smelled strongly of diesel fuel. However, we found so very interesting things, from crew personal data cards to officer uniforms. This work will continue next week and then we will move all the documents we find to the archives so that I can add then to the collection.