From Field Trips to Fulfilling Career
Growing up, my father encouraged my sincere appreciation for history and the world around me. He chaperoned every grade school field trip and took me on day trips to museums in my home state, telling me stories about objects and historical figures not included on the labels. It was this passion he instilled that guided me on my career path in museums. During my undergraduate years, I worked as a collections assistant at my local county historical society in New Jersey. Wanting to further my education, I came to IUPUI to pursue my master’s degree in museum studies. I wanted to learn everything I could about caring for museum collections. What began as a collections internship at the IMS Museum turned into a fulfilling career.
We have an incredible collection of objects here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Each piece is special and has a unique and important history. Behind every program, ticket, and credential is the story of someone’s experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Between the paper goods, pennants, drivers’ suits, and other stories, how do you choose?
As someone who works very closely with these objects, my favorite is our collection of scrapbooks. These albums are physical representations of the creators’ memories. Not only are scrapbooks an essential method of preserving history, but they give us a personal connection and a deep insight into the scrapbook’s creator. They contain cherished photographs, hand-written notes, memorable news headlines of the time, and whatever the creator deemed important. The Museum cares for over 95 scrapbooks, some dating to the early 1900s. Most are in very fragile condition and require special care.
Even though each scrapbook is made of different materials and adhesives, there are general preservation and handling rules that can prolong its life. For example, always handle them with clean hands. When you are turning the pages, it is important to support the entire page. Always store scrapbooks flat and, if possible, store them in a fitted archival box in a cool, relatively dry environment. This extra care will keep them safe from dust, light, and pests. If you are planning to create your own scrapbook, make sure to use archival quality materials, such as acid-free and lignin-free paper and polyethylene photo corners.
The Museum has a featured selection of its treasured scrapbooks in the From the Vault exhibit, including a replica for our visitors to flip through themselves, as well as the personal scrapbook of Karl Kizer, the Museum’s first curator.