Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

PRM Documentation Part 2

Annual Report entries about museum documentation 1959-1996

Alison Petch,
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

1959-60 Freedom from this and other teaching has set Miss Blackwood to work in redoubled earnest on improving the catalogue, which has now passed the three-quarter million mark. In using the Regional Index of African Tribes and material from them, it became apparent that there were a number of discrepancies in nomenclature. Indeed, it could hardly be otherwise in a huge collection made by so many people at different historical periods over a couple of centuries and more. She therefore began a thorough revision which has developed into a Gazetteer of African Tribes, giving the principal variants of their names, their latitude and longitude, and references to publications on them. While such a Gazetteer cannot be made exhaustive, it will, when completed, include all the tribes from which the Museum has specimens, and a number of other important tribes not yet represented in the Museum. It will be kept in one of the spare drawers of the Regional Index, and will be useful to the Museum Staff when cataloguing new accessions, and to research workers on African peoples and subjects. ... In addition to his other work, Mr. R. C. Gurden has taken over the direction of the Museum Catalogue of about 750,000 specimens in addition to the catalogue of the Library, and that of negatives made by Mr. K. H. H. Walters. He is assisted in the Museum Catalogue by Mr. Wootton, who puts on duplicate cards each month the accessions noted in the books by various members of the Staff in accordance with their special knowledge. Mr. Gurden has also nearly completed the card catalogue of the H. A. Gunther collection of Japanese netsuke, inro, &c., lent by Dr. A. E. Gunther, and is now going through the cards again with a view to revision if necessary, and at the same time making a list of carvers, and an index of names and words associated with the Gunther collection. ... Much of Mr. Wootton’s considerable work in drawing for publication and in setting up exhibitions and rationalizing their attendant storage and checking with the catalogue has already been mentioned, as well as his part in assisting Mr. Gurden to keep the card catalogue up to date. He has also labelled and entered many newly acquired specimens and entered and labelled many specimens found unentered or unsuitably entered while he was working on exhibitions, and has put on cards a good many of the large Parsons collection of locks and keys. ... Though Miss Blackwood has retired, she continues on work of benefit to the Museum. Her work on the Regional Index and as joint editor of our Museum publications has been noted. She also found time to work on the revision of the Subject Index and on the compilation of a Handlist of Subjects, a task which involved looking up material for checking, and for revising some stored material for quicker reference. She also labelled and entered a considerable number of accessions

1960-1 Up to the end of April Mr. Gurden was in charge of the Museum catalogue of about 750,000 specimens, as well as the catalogue of the Library, and that of negatives made by Mr. K.H.H. Walters. He had complete the card index of the H.A. Gunther collection of Japanese netsuke, inro, and other objects, adding various details of ethnological, mythological, and historical nature to the books in which Dr. Gunther had entered his collection, and which Dr. A.E. Gunther lent to us with his collection. He had also gone some way in preparing an index of carvers, names, and words associated with the collection.

1961-2 The Curator has long been uneasy at the prospect of fire or other calamity destroying our very large card catalogue, getting on for a million cards, and has at last been able to buy a microfilm camera and reader. Mr. K.H. Walters and Mr. Rivers are copying the cards, and we hope to store the single cabinet of film-rolls in a fire-proof place elsewhere in Oxford. This will be a labour of some time, considering our other occupations and of course there will be supplements going on for ever. The present filming will give accessions to 30 June 1962. .... . Another urgent matter is the cataloguing of about 200,000 air-photographs collected by Mr. Bradford at the end of the last war, which for various reasons he never catalogued. All other material in the Museum is catalogued, or arranged so as to be easily and quickly consulted. ....
Since October, Mr. Unsworth has been responsible for the general administration of the department... He has also continued Mr. Gurden’s work of supervising the monthly preparation of the card index of museum accessions and of distributing the cards in both the regional and subject indexes, and of keeping the index of negatives made by Mr. K.H. Walters up to date. ... As Assistant Secretary and Librarian, Mr. Wootton has .... assisted in preparing and distributing the cards for accessions to the Museum each month, and in sending out our publications for sale and exchange, and our annual reports. He entered several specimens in Accessions, and labelled many more.

1962-3 Mr. Walters, Mr. Rivers, and Mr. Lambert have spent all available time in copying with the microfilm camera another section of our card catalogue, and now have made available for the reader the regional section on Africa and a part of that on America. The films are stored in a metal cabinet, which will ultimately be kept outside the Museum. We calculate that our catalogue of over a million cards can thus be safeguarded by a single cabinet in the unlikely event of accident such as a fire damaging the main catalogue. ... [Mr Unsworth] has also been responsible for the preparation and distribution of index cards for accessions to the Museum .... Mr. Wooton resigned on 16th March 1963, and his place as Assistant Secretary and Assistant to the Library was taken by Mrs. M.A. Butler, ... she has helped by preparing the index cards of entries in the Accessions books of the Museum, and distributing them in the catalogue, indexed and checked the registers of periodicals received, and generally helped students in the Library and visitors to the Museum.

1963-4 Mr. T.K. Penniman, M.A., of Trinity College, was elected to succeed the late Professor Henry Balfour in 1939. Professor Balfour’s death had followed a protracted and painful illness, which had prevented him during the last few years of his life from documenting completely the expanding collections. Inheriting the daunting problem of identifying, cataloguing, and indexing a considerable proportion of the collection, Mr. Penniman with characteristic thoroughness reduced chaos to order and, moreover, succeeded in improvising accessible storage for the research and reserve collections under unusually difficult conditions. ... Once again the Curator has pleasure in acknowledging the debt which the Pitt Rivers Museum owes to Miss Beatrice Blackwood, who continues her invaluable work as if she were still a permanent member of the staff of the museum. Her most notable contribution this year has been the preparation of an analysis of the various special catalogues made since the foundation of the museum in 1884 and until a uniform system was initiated in 1939 when Mr. Penniman became Curator. This has been bound, together with the Handlist of Subjects, and has become an indispensable reference work in the museum. Miss Blackwood has continued her work on the Regional and Subject Indexes which, thanks largely to her efforts since 1939, are in splendid order.

1964-5 [Blackwood] collected and catalogued another and much larger collection bequeathed to the museum by the late Miss Estella Canziani of London, who has been a valued friend and benefactor of the Pitt Rivers Museum for more than forty years. Perhaps the most important part of this bequest is a series of Italian maps and other lighting apparatus which usefully supplements our already exhaustive series. An important acquisition collected from Hampshire and catalogued by Miss Blackwood was the result of many years’ field work and research by Mr. Robert Aitken on the history of the plough. The collection consists of ten filing boxes full of books, pamphlets, and manuscript notes and will undoubtedly be of considerable value to future research. Mr. Aitken felt unable through ill health to pursue this work to its conclusion, and he has in fact since died. Miss Blackwood continued to be mainly responsible for the maintenance of the Regional and Subject Indexes, did other indispensable work on the documentation of the collections and gave considerable assistance to visiting scholars.

1965-6 Miss B.M. Blackwood continued her indispensable help in the acquisition and cataloguing of new collections, and continued to have sole charge of the work on the Regional and Subject and Donors’ Indexes, a monumental work which was begun by Mr. Penniman in 1939. She prepared a critical inventory of over 4,000 musical instruments for publication by the committee on Musical Instruments of the International council of Museums. ... Miss Denise Gross gave very valuable voluntary assistance in the documentation department of the museum, travelling from London for this purpose, on an average, once a week.

1966-7 It is a pleasure again to record appreciation of the indispensable work done by Miss Beatrice Blackwood on the museum collections, their documentation and display, and on the maintenance of the Regional, Subject, and Donors' indexes. Miss Denise Gross continued her valuable help in the documentation department until she left for field work in South Africa

1967-8 Miss Beatrice Blackwood: In addition to her indispensable services on the maintenance of the museum catalogue and card indexes

1968-9 Mr. P. W. Gathercole, who assumed duty at the beginning of the academic year, has, in addition to his lecturing and tutorial duties, undertaken a detailed study of the Museum’s much valued Polynesian collection made by Reinhold Forster on Captain Cook's Second Voyage of Discovery (1772-5), in preparation for a catalogue for the proposed Cook Exhibition planned for 1970. .... We gratefully acknowledge valuable voluntary ... in the Museum Stores by Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Gunn, who has undertaken the extensive research necessary on a sparsely documented collection of ethnographical specimens, prior to accessioning, and good progress can be recorded.
The Regional, Subject and Donors' Card Indexes have again been admirably maintained by Miss Blackwood, who in addition has done much of the registration.

1970-1 Miss B. M. Blackwood continued her indispensable maintenance and partial reorganization of the card indexes of the collections ... Mrs. E. Sandford Gunn continued her invaluable voluntary work on the documentation of the museum's collections, in collaboration with Miss Blackwood.

1971-2 Miss B. M. Blackwood continued in her honorary capacity to maintain the three card indexes, originally designed by her, which have proved over the years to be an invaluable aid to visiting scholars and to the conduct of research by postal and telephone inquiry, which continues to grow in volume. ... Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Cunn (Honorary Assistant Curator) worked with Miss Blackwood in cataloguing and contributed greatly to the success of the research service provided by the Museum to outside scholars. ... Mr. J. G. R.hodes (Museum Assistant). In addition to his routine work on documentation ...

1972-3 During the course of the year we exhausted the final grant of £550 received from the Committee for Graduate Studies towards the cost of cataloguing the collection of Air Photographs. This enabled Mr. James Craig, who has been voluntarily working on the collection since October 1971, to bring the classification and plotting of the main collection of photographs, on which work commenced in 1961, to a point where it is now usable. .... Miss B. M. Blackwood (Honorary Assistant Curator) as in former years has devoted the greater part of her time to the upkeep of our three card indexes (Regional; Subject; Donors, Lenders, and Sellers). During the period covered by this Report, cards for all specimens entered in Accessions Books during the year have been typed and distributed. Cards from the 2nd Supplementary Regional Index (1966-71) which had been kept apart for microfilming, have now been microfilmed by the Museum's photographer and have been transferred to the main Index. The 3rd Supplementary Index (1972- ) has been started. Some of the specimens acquired during the year have been entered, though the majority of these has been dealt with by other members of the staff. Miss Blackwood wishes to record her thanks to Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Gunn for her invaluable voluntary help in coping with arrears. ... Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Gunn (Honorary Assistant Curator) has continued to give invaluable assistance in dealing with public inquiries, and with the documentation and accessioning of collections. In particular she has assisted Miss Blackwood in dealing with the inevitable backlog in accessioning, and completed the accessioning of the important Arkell collection of beads and jewellery.

1974-6 The archive collection has been moved to 60 Banbury Road where Mr. Bach continues his honorary work on cataloguing. The library assistant, Mrs. Keeley, is working on a summary catalogue of the photograph collection.

1976-7 The new post of Museum Assistant (Documentation) was filled by Mrs. Lynne Williamson. Mrs. Williamson’s duties are mainly those formerly carried out by Miss Blackwood, and after her death by Mrs. Sandford Gunn (in a voluntary capacity). ... Mrs. E. Sandford Gunn, who had served for five years as an Honorary Assistant Curator, relinquished her appointments in May. Her wide knowledge of the collections and of the records system will be greatly missed. Mr. G.E.S. Turner, whose advice on North American ethnology has long been valued, has accepted a change of title, from Honorary Assistant Curator to Honorary Consultant in North American Indian Ethnology.

1981-2 The accessioning of recent acquisitions was nearly up to date at the end of the year, and good progress had been made with the retrospective numbering of older materials. Projects to augment or improve the documentation of Fijian barkcloth collected during the voyage of H.M.S. Herald (1853-5) and of Haida argillite smoking pipes from the North-west Coast of America were completed; a similar project on the archive collection of prints and drawings continues.

1982-3 In addition to her work on the server textile collection, Ms Williamson was able to keep accessioning of current acquisitions nearly up to date and has made further progress with the retrospective numbering of older specimens which were not numbered (though they were entered) on a acquisition.

1983-4 Accessioning of recent acquisitions proceeded, and assistance with typing enabled the card index system to be brought further up to date. A project to establish a location index was initiated. ... About 400 photographs and miscellaneous manuscripts were accessioned in the course of the year. The move to the new store also revealed a considerable body of unaccessioned photographic material which is now being accessioned and assimilated into the collection time allows. ... Ms L.M. Cheetham took up duty as Museum Assistant ... Mrs E.J.M. Edwards (Balfour Librarian) was regraded R.S.IB with the title 'Archivist and Balfour Librarian'. She served as secretary of the Working party on the Cataloguing and Indexing of Ethnographic Photographs

1984-5 Accessioning of acquisitions was brought up to date, and some temporary typing help enabled the backlog of index cards to be cleared. ... In preparation for the eventual conputerization of museum records meetings were held with the University Computing Service and representatives of the Ashmolean Museum, in the hope that the system being devised for the latter would be suitable for use by the other University museums. A location index of specimens was initiated and has already proved useful.

1985-6 A considerable amount of work was carried out during the year with a view to setting up a computerized database for the photographic collections. A pilot project involving the documentation, catalologuing, and indexing of over 3,000 photographs from Beatrice Blackwood’s North American fieldwork (I925-27) has been completed and the results are extremely encouraging. It is hoped that the system will be in operation in the coming year.
Museum Documentation and Records
The accessioning of incoming artefacts was kept up to date, with the exception of the Wellcome amulet collection which is so large (17,000 items) that it requires a temporary research appointment to enable a suitably qualified graduate to work on it full time for an estimated three years. Various possibilities for obtaining money for this special project are being investigated. A total of thirty-four new collections were accessioned during the year.
Computer hardware and software purchased with the aid of a grant of £3,100 from the Univrsity's Research and Equipment Committee was installed in the department during the summer of I986 and various documentation projects were initiated, some of which are described above. All new accessions are now put directly into an electronic data retrieval system, a computerized location index has been started, and gradual computerization of the manual card index has begun. The new system has excellent indexing facilities and information can be printed out very quickly. Eventually a great deal of staff time will be saved in dealing with information retrieval, although the initial process of data entry is very time consuming. The computer is also being used as a word processor to prepare catalogues and reports.

1986-7 We wish to thank Ms. Sian Rule for generously giving her time to the Museum. She worked closely with Linda Cheetham on a variety of jobs and, among other things, researched and designed the new permanent needlework display now on view in the Court. ...
The accessioning of newly acquired artefacts was kept up to date, with 31 new collections being received during the year. All of these have been entered using a microprocessor and this has greatly eased the task of cataloguing. In addition it provides multiple indexes and allows the rapid retrieval of information. A thesarus of terms, based on Beatrice Blackwood's Classification of Artefacts in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, is being built up as data entry proceeds.
As a pilot scheme for the retrieval of data relating to earlier accessions, all records pertaining to collections from Mexico have been entered and enquiries concerning artefacts from this country can now be answered by print-out.
To date we have been unable to obtain funds for a temporary research assistant to work on the Wellcome collection of amulets, received by the museum in 1985. A start has, however, been made on the computer cataloguing of these and the basic procedure for future work has been established with entries for some 300 amulets from Central and South
America .
The on-going project of recording the contents of all the Museum's accession registers on microfiche continued during 1987.
... Various improvements have been made to the storage of manuscripts but the bulk of the work on the archive collections this year has centred on the establishment of a computer database for information retrieval, using the same programme as that being developed for the Museum's artefact collections. All new accessions since September 1986 have been put on to this system. Work is progressing slowly on the major task of entering accessioned but only partially catalogued material. Most of the North American collection, which is in frequent demand, has been added to the database so the system is fully operational for one part of the world. In addition, the research potential of the collection is becoming even more apparent through the more efficient management of data.

1987-8 Some 50 new collections were accessioned during the year. In addition, all the Australian records (numbering about 2,000) were entered into a data retrieval system as part of the preparations for the temporary exhibition, 'The First Australians'. Many thanks are due to Catherine Hart for her accuracy and patience in assisting with this daunting task. The end result, apart from the advantage of having these records available on database, is a published computer listing of the Museum's Australian holdings.
Further progress was made on the computerized cataloguing of the Wellcome amulet collection during the year, and about 600 Otanlian amulets from Dr W. L. Hildburgh's collection were accessioned. Plans are in hand for improving the storage of the entire Wellcome amulet collection (some 17,000 individual artefacts) to make the specimens more easily accessible for research.
The project to record on microfiche all the Museum's accessions registers was completed, and copies of the fiche have been deposited in the Balfour and Bodleian Libraries.
Beate Lewcowicz from Koln University was attached to the Documentation Department for a month in March/April 1988, and accssioned a collection of 125 Ashanti gold-weights donated by Miss Beryl Evans. She was also of considerable assistance in mounting the temporary exhibition, 'The First Australians'.
Grateful thanks are due to Sally Owen for providing voluntary secretarial assistance once a week.

1988-9 Fifty-five new collections were accessioned during the year and the work of entering existing records on database went ahead. All records, for example, relating to artefacts from Panama were entered in the data retrieval system as part of the preparations for the exhibition of Mola textiles.
As part of the Museology option of the M.St. course, Linda Mowat gave a seminar on Museum Documentation to the Department’s students.
Once again our thanks are due to Mrs. Sally Owen for providing voluntary secretarial assistance on one day each week during the reporting period.

1989-90 Fifty-four new collections were accessioned during the year and the computerization of the index cards for mainland Central America was completed. ... [Archives] Efforts this year have been concentrated on extending the range of the computer catalogue, collating and cataloguing large collections in the archival backlog, and developing systems of collection management consistent with the requirements of the Museums and Galleries Commission guidelines.
Achieving the objectives outlined above has meant that most research on the collections this year has been in the field of enhancing documentation We should like to thank Catherine James and in particular Alison Petch for their valuable voluntary work on the photographic collections.

1990-1 It is planned to publish computer catalogues of the Museum's North and Central American collections during 1992 to coincide with our major exhibition of Native American baskets. We are pleased to report that all the basic data entry for this project has now been completed. Many thanks are due to intern Sally Seguin for entering nearly 2000 records relating to Inuit material and Native American archaeological specimens. ... The Wellcome Collection of Amulets Repeated attempts over the last few years to fundraise for the storage of this collection having been unsuccessful, it was decided to make a begining from our own resources. Twenty-one multi-drawer metal cabinets have been purchased and work has begun at Osney Mead on the task of transferring the amulets from their storage boxes to these cabinets. This has resulted in a marked improvement in the accessibility of these collections and it is hoped that the project may be completed in the not too distant future. ... Mrs. Sally Owen continued to provide valuable secretarial assistance in the Documentation Department. From June to September 1991 Sally Seguin of the University of Victoria in British Columbia served an internship at the Museum in partial fulfilment of the requirements of her University's Cultural Resource Management Program. During the summer she was an extremely helpful additional member of staff in the Documentation Department, entering nearly 2000 North American catalogue records in the museum's database, assisting with interviewing and data entry for the Visitor Survey, preparing a small exhibit in the New Accessions case, helping with the day-to-day accessioning of collections and answering enquiries. In July 1991 Tamara Lucas, a graduate of University College, London, started work at the Museum on a voluntary basis, helping with the Visitor Survey, documenting exhibits for the Archery display in the Upper Gallery, and carrying out a number of routine tasks in the Department.
In addition, building on last year's objectives, substantial in-roads have been made in the back-log of documentation and cataloguing of the archives. Final catalogues have been produced for the Blackwood and Evans-Pritchard collections. The advances made during this year with an Archive Assistant in post has highlighted the need of the Assistant Curator (Archives) to have this type of support on a permanent basis. As demands for access to the collections increase (both in number and complexity) and the demands made of the Assistant Curator (Archives) increase (due to teaching and the expectations of researchers, i.e., many are not content just to look at the collections, they wish to discuss them as well), it is becoming impossible to fulfil all functions satisfactorily. Work tends to be concentrated at a lower level, merely to keep going on a day to day basis, without addressing the major requirements of the collection and associated research.
... Dr. Hélène La Rue decided to concentrate on trying to get a 'first entry' for every musical instrument into the computer data base. This was completed successfully within the year. Now work is being carried out to add to and correct the information held. As a result of this survey she noted that instruments were not only on view in displays according to their use (e.g. ritual, etc.) but that the card entries were often filed under those headings. This means that there are more musical instruments than we had previously thought.
Having completed work on the musical instrument data base Dr. La Rue worked out a related system for classifying recordings in the Sound Archive. In the course of this she discovered just how large our sound archive actually is: probably the largest of any Museum in the United Kingdom.

1991-2 Museum Documentation and Records (Linda Mowat): Computerization of the manual card index was completed for the following areas during this reporting period: Benin (Nigeria); Easter Island; and the Cook Islands. Publication of the computer catalogue of North American collections was held up by the pressure of work created by the Basketmakers exhibition and book.

1992-3 Museum Documentation and Records
Computerization of the manual card index has been completed for the following sections: the Ainu of Japan, Tibet, the Caribbean, Colombia, and ancient Peruvian textiles. About 13,000 records are now included in the database. With expert assistance from Gerry Brush the conversion of information from the database to publishable format was accomplished, enabling Linda Mowat to produce the Museum's Catalogue of the Native American Collections, Listing some 2,000 specimens from North America by culture, area and tribe, with basic data and a short description of each object. This volume is an invaluable research tool that demonstrates one of the practical uses to which museum databases can be put. It is hoped that this publication will be the first of many in a similar format. ... Sandra Dudley was employed throughout the year as part-time Museum Assistant to Linda Mowat, sharing a full-time post with Cathy Gibbon who worked in the archive

1993-4 Documentation
Linda Mowat left the Museum in February 1994 to pursue her research interests and to spend more time in her second home in Colombia. She has, however, remained in close contact with the Museum. The post of Assistant Curator (Documentation) was filled by Julia Nicholson and Jeremy Coote as a jobshare; they are also husband and wife. Generally speaking, Coote is responsible for dealing with the collections from Africa and Oceania, while Nicholson is responsible for dealing with those from Asia and the Americas. Computerization of the object records continued throughout the year, as time allowed. There are now nearly 14,000 records on the database.
The majority of documentation time, however, continues to be spent accessioning new collections, though an increasing amount of time is also taken up with enquiries, including non-scholarly but income-generating requests from film companies and publishers. The contribution of Marina de Alarcón (Museum Assistant) to the work of the department has been invaluable in enabling it to cope with the ever-increasing number of requests for access to the collections. We are also grateful to Bridget Heal who made a valuable contribution to the work of the department during a temporary appointment as a volunteer in the summer.

1994-5 Museum Documentation and Records
During the year the computer database was transferred to a new system (Claris Filemaker). Experience so far has encouraged the hope that the new system will allow the accommodation on the database of more and better-organized information, as well as making it possible to provide access to it to a wider public.
Some progress has been made with the computerization of the object catalogue. Most significantly, Alison Petch is well advanced on the Founding Collection project. This is being funded by the Leverhulme Trust for three years from January 1995. The first task has been to enter details from the accessions books for the estimated 15,000 artefacts in the Museum’s founding collection. This data will be correlated with the relevant entries in Pitt Rivers’s own catalogue of part of his collection published in 1874, and with additional information in the delivery catalogues, in the catalogue index cards, and other sources. The work so far completed has already drawn forth some interesting information about aspects of the collection. It is clear that the project as a whole will result in much greater knowledge of the Museum’s founding collection.
Throughout the year, Sandra Dudley has been employed part-time to work on the Museum’s extensive Burmese collection. This comprises some 1400 artefacts, and ranks as one of the most important collections in Britain of Burmese hill and lowland material. Dudley has entered all the basic data on to the computer database as well as improving and expanding the documentation of important parts of the collection. In addition, Marie-Claire Bakker, another graduate student of the Museum, made an important contribution to the section’s work by accessioning and documenting the large collection of Slovakian and Moravian embroideries bequeathed to the Museum by Dr Lisbeth Gombrich.
Early in 1994 it was discovered that Beatrice Blackwood’s collection, from the 1920s and 1930s, of some 2500 children’s drawings from North America, the Solomon Islands, and England had never been accessioned. Thanks to the efforts of Marina de Alarcón records for this collection were added to the database, and it was then repacked to modern standards. The department also benefitted again from the valuable work of returning volunteer Bridget Heal for a brief period during the summer. The work of two other volunteers, Jo Smith and Simon Crook, was also much appreciated.
Due to the efforts of Pamela Wace (a Research Associate of the Museum) the Museum’s archaeological collections are receiving much long-overdue attention. In the last two years, assemblages from Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, and Switzerland have been examined and re-categorized, while those from France, Italy, Malta, the eastern Mediterranean, and Japan are being worked on currently. Though they still require some editing, there are now computerized records for the Museum’s archaeological holdings from Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Japan. Much of this work is being carried out by students and volunteers in a series of individual projects, each covering a limited geographical area or cultural grouping. Among those who have worked with Pamela Wace, and to whom thanks are due, are Hamish Boyle, Debbie Crosby, Sabrina Dumont, Christine Finn, Marlene James, Fumiko Ohinata, Ken Summers, and Vicky Winton. In addition, Pamela has produced two valuable internal reports: ‘Catalogue of Continental European Artifacts of Neolithic and Bronze Age Date in the Pitt Rivers Museum (Balfour Building)’ and ‘How to Use the CARDBOX Databases for the Later Prehistoric European Collection’. There is, of course, much work still be done. ....
Archive Collections
It has been another extremely busy year for the archive collections... Nevertheless, cataloguing work has continued, slowly but surely. Cataloguing of the Spencer Chapman collection, and of a number of smaller collections, was completed during the year and further inroads have been made into cataloguing the nineteenth-century collections and the collation of the Thesiger collection. Work on the Samoan exhibition (see above) resulted in greatly enhanced documentation on early Samoan photographs in the collection and revealed unique early material of major significance. ... Audrey Smith and Ruth Wickett performed sterling work sorting, collating, and cataloguing the Penniman papers. Nick Blinco continued voluntary work on the Thesiger collection, and Zara Fleming provided valuable advice on the Tibetan collections. These contributions to the work of the department are much valued and appreciated. ...

1995-6 Museum Documentation and Records
Julia Nicholson was on maternity leave from November 1995 to July 1996. To cover her absence, her job-share partner (and husband) Jeremy Coote was employed full-time. Marina de Alarcón continued to do sterling work in all aspects of the section’s responsibilities. The work of the section was helped enormously from November 1995 to April 1996 through the employment on a voluntary basis of Nicolette Meister. This extra pair of hands enabled the department to take on and complete a number of important, time-consuming collections-management tasks. For example, the Museum’s extensive collections of boomerangs and spear-throwers were located, numbered, and their records updated before they were bagged and rehoused in storage at the main museum. Ms Meister also took on the task of accessioning the John Lowe collection of Japanese objects (numbering more than 700 separate items), a project that would have been impossible for the section to complete without additional staff.
Alison Petch continued her research, funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust, into the founding collection donated by General Pitt Rivers in 1884. The preparation of full computer records for all accessioned objects from this collection was completed and work continued on the preparation of computer records for those items in the collection that had not been accessioned upon delivery. Records for various other parts of the collection were also computerized. Among these were the Cypriot and Japanese archaeological collections, the Maori material from the collection of Maggie Papakura (better known as Makereti), copies of uli paintings from the Ibo of Southern Nigeria, and barkcloth from the Solomon Islands. The Museum is grateful to Fumiko Ohinata for her assistance with the recataloguing of the Japanese archaeological collections, and to Marie-Claire Bakker for her work on part of the extensive collection of amulets transferred from the Wellcome Institute in the 1980s.