Friday, May 24, 2013

Sears Dental Collection

Between May 2011 and July 2011, I curated a collection of about 200 dental artifacts for the Country Doctor Musem and Laupus Health Sciences Library. The collection had been donated by Dr. Sears, D.D.S., a very kind and generous man who I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing regarding the collection.

Curating the collection was extremely rewarding. I had the chance to work with a great group of people at Laupus Library and had the opportunity to educate about curation and learn about library and archives. It was great to open these boxes-a bit like treasure chests. I also had the opportunity to learn a lot about the history of dentistry which was at times fun, fascinating and, on occasion, gross. This research truly illustrated the developments within dentistry and how far we've come thanks to the innovations and work of dentists over thes last 150 years. I was able to catalog the entire collection, plan the exhibit for display in August 2012 (coinciding with the opening of the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine), provide basic artifact cleaning, establish conservation plan for a few of the artifacts, and store the entire collection in archivally appropriate material. It was great meeting local dentists and some of the professor of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. The dental community and Laupus Library staff were incredibly supportive, for which I am very grateful.

The entire content of the collection was digitized through ContentDM (courtesy of Ginny Gragg) and published online. It was enjoyable cataloging the artifact and overseeing artifact photography (pictures taken by John Couch and Jason Cottle). Here is the link (click on Sears Historical Dental Collection):

I hope you enjoy learning about the collection as much as I did!

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Archaeology, Conservation and Curation by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License