Digital Treasure Trove: Andy Warhol’s Polaroids

Contributed by PAFA Museum Collections

One of the more interesting groups of works in PAFA’s collection that is being digitized for our current IMLS grant is a set of personal Polaroids taken by Andy Warhol. These were largely created during the 70’s and 80’s and whose subjects include what seem like friends, models, and Warhol himself, all in various poses and stages of attire and undress that, when seen together, read like something between art reference photos and contemporary social media posts. Returning figures include named entities like “Kimiko Powers,” “Mr. Black,” or “Ted Hartley,” among other unidentified individuals. Some feel candid, while others clearly posed and staged, but something about them all feel both intimate and enigmatic. Within PAFA’s larger permanent collection, with its historic slant and focus on traditional techniques and subjects, these entries are certainly unique.

Ted Hartley
Ted Hartley (1980) Andy Warhol, Polacolor Type 108, 3×3 in. (7.62 x 7.62 cm.), 2008.21.82, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
Kimiko Powers
Kimiko Powers (1971) Andy Warhol, Polacolor Type 108, 3×3 in. (7.62 x 7.62 cm.), 2008.21.35, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

About the Institute of Museum and Library ServiceThe Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit https://www.imls.gov/and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Digital Treasure Trove: Resolving Duplicate and Mystery Files

Contributed by PAFA Museum Collections

We are nearing the end of the weeks-long process of renaming the files in our digital collection. As mentioned before, this work was important for establishing a file naming convention/schema to improve its usefulness and accessibility both internally and externally. Doing so is one of many parts of our IMLS grant project, and so far, has included a combination of automated computer scripting via Python, and slowly combing through the filenames by hand.

With this combination of tools, we were able to confidently correct the names of approximately 16,000 files, which was a huge step forward for the project and PAFA’s collection team. During this process, however, we identified over 1,000 files that were either unnecessary duplicates or were files that did not carry with it enough information to adequately identify them in our database.

These duplicate and mystery files arose from the old folder structures that we are no longer using and have recently phased out as part of this file renaming process. Formerly, things could hide and get copied, moved, updated, and renamed without any meaningful way to ensure that outdated or unnecessary files are removed. In the process of migrating files to fewer sub-directories, which use only their unique accession number to identify them, it became immediately clear which files need review and correction, beyond a simple renaming.

Once the duplicates were double checked, they were easily discarded. The unknown files, however, we had no way of knowing how important any given file might be. Out of a commitment to thoroughness the collections team decided to work together to identify several hundred of these files, often by finding some physical works in our storage vault that could be related. Only after reasonable certainty could be reached would we know for sure how to rename (and then either keep or discard) these mystery files. This process alone took around two weeks but has resulted in a repaired digital archive that is ready for the introduction of our new high-resolution photography from this year.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit https://www.imls.gov/and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Digital Treasure Trove: Introducing the New Museum Collections Assistant

Contributed by PAFA Museum Collections

The Museum Collections Team is pleased to introduce L Autumn Gnadinger (they/them/theirs), who will be stepping into the role of the Museums Collections Assistant through the remainder of the IMLS grant project. L is an artist, writer, and educator with a background in museum work. They earned their MFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture and have previously studied at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, IN and Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. L is a former Core Fellow of Penland School of Craft in Bakersville, NC, and an editor and co-founder of the journal Ruckus, which engages art in the American Midsouth and Midwest.

With a range of experience in photography, design, and file management stemming from their work with Ruckus, L will be helping PAFA with its core goals of photographing works of art in the permanent collection, updating the file management connected to the permanent collection, and finally testing out the new content management system for the new—forthcoming—online collection.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit https://www.imls.gov/and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

css.php