This week marks the final week of the San Diego Museum of Man’s three year Cataloging Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Under the grant, project staff have cataloged over 32,000 archaeological, archival, and photographic records.   The grant allowed us to delve deep into the Museum’s undocumented collections and explore the history of the Museum, San Diego, and the world.  We were able to spend a little time with each item, learn about its history and context, describe it so it is discoverable for researchers, and store it in a new acid-free home so it is safe for years to come.

Here are some fast facts about the work we’ve done:

  • 25,199 photographs and postcards cataloged
  • 7,287 archaeological records cataloged and digitized
  • 3,305 images posted on our Flickr page
  • 25 custom boxes built to house the H.K. Raymenton collection of photo albums
  • Photographs and postcards from over 35 countries cataloged.
  • 3 finding aids posted on the Online Archive of California

Our previously “hidden” collections are now accessible to researchers, community members, and Native American tribes and individuals researching everything from basketry to family history to traditions of eating clay.  The grant has also allowed us to discover some truly incredible collections that even we didn’t know about!

Some of our favorite finds include a collection of photographs documenting Museum board member H.K. Raymenton and his wife’s  road trips across the United States in the early twentieth century. Previously, we had only known about the Raymentons’ photo albums, which mainly documented their international travels. The new photographs give us an intimate look into American life, including costume parties, the tourism industry, and the development of the automobile and road trip culture.

Here are some of our favorites:

We’ve also encountered some interesting relics from earlier forms of information technology.  Here are some punch cards from the Emma Lou Davis collection and a punch card indexing key:

Emma Lou Davis was an archaeologist and curator at the San Diego Museum of Man from 1966 to 1971.  Davis recorded her research data on the lifeways of local Diegueño (now Kumeyaay) communities by systematically punching different sections of over 1,000 cards to allow for quicker indexing and data analysis.  Thanks to the CLIR grant, we have been able to make a list of the topics Davis documented on her punch cards and include it in our finding aid, making it possible for local Kumeyaay to access her research data for the first time.

These are just a few of the fun and fascinating items we’ve discovered in the archives! We encourage you explore for yourself by visiting our pages on Flickr, the Online Archive of California, and the Balboa Park Online Commons.

To learn more about a collection or to arrange a research visit, contact collections@museumofman.org