Also, I looked for more space buttons for the digital exhibit as per my site supervisor Christy Karpinski’s request. I looked them up on mostly on eBay as they have an amazing collection of NASA buttons, something like 150 that I could find based upon a simple search for NASA buttons. My supervisor wanted access to additional images and perhaps buttons which the Button Museum could purchase or obtain as a gift or at least procure images of the buttons. Perhaps surprisingly, I found button’s that commemorate the Challenger disaster, Alan Shepard and the first American spaceflight among others. I then recommended these buttons to the site supervisor based on the fact that I thought they commemorated important milestones in the history of NASA.
This week I worked on a button known as” I Love Nebraska”. I found information related to the button a cool website called loriferber.com. They specialize in selling presidential memorabilia including pinback buttons. However, unlike many eBay sellers and other people who specialize in selling buttons, they seem to do significant research on buttons. So, I think that this website could prove useful to future research on the background of buttons, because the Ferber’s seem to be able to trace the origin of many of the buttons they are selling.
Of late I am learning new skills with regards to button research. For example, while researching a button which was titled “Shriner’s he’s the Man” in the physical description part of the database, I had no idea how the person who cataloged the original button knew it was related to an organization known as the Shriner’s. So I Googled the word Shriner’s and found that the logo on the fez in the picture matched the Shriner’s logo.
Similarly, I used a trademark symbol, also known as a wordmark successfully for the first time. I did a button related to the name “Storz”, but I wasn’t sure if it was a beer or a company that manufacture’s hoses. So I did a keyword search for trademarks/wordmarks and found the wordmark matched a beer company that was based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Recently I worked on a button called “S.H.V.”. S.H.V. stands for Steenkolen Handels-Vereeniging, a multinational Dutch Corporation. I identified it using a combination of Google Images, reliable Wikipedia Images that were sourced using Dutch government databases, the corporation’s website, and a coat of arms website. It was probably the most sophisticated research I have done using various free tolls at my disposal since I started my internship. Completing my research on the aforementioned button was a most gratifying experience. Also, I recently did a button which was part of a giveaway in Kellogg’s Pep cereal. Growing up in the 1990’s, I never even saw a pinback button inside a cereal package, so I guess button collections haven’t been available in cereal boxes etc., for a number of years.
A couple of weeks ago I did a button related to a group of buttons known as the “Breezy Button” series. This button I believe was the first button that I ever had to change the button category from the original category that was chosen by an intern that was located at the physical location of the Button Museum to a different category. What happened was that button was originally categorized as a general category known as “Social Lubricators”, however information surfaced that the buttons were given away in packages of hot dogs and therefore belonged in the advertising category. So, I had to change the category on the website and spreadsheet.
Also, I had a button that was marked on the spreadsheet as physically described on the website and really was not. I wrote earlier in the semester about the work that interns that work on location at the museum do and I am going to elaborate a little bit more on that point in order to explain what happened. As the Button Museum deals primarily if not exclusively with museum artifacts, their shape, size, image description and other important details are supposed to be written in a web-based database as well as a spreadsheet. If these details are not recorded, then it is supposed to be written in as not described on the spreadsheet. Either me or another intern must have mistakenly written it is not described and therefore I have to be more careful about paying attention to whether an artifact is physically described or not in the future.
This week I changed the color of a row on the cataloging spreadsheet for the very first time. As I referenced on at least one occasion, the Google cataloging spreadsheet works using a color-coded system. If a row is orange that means the cataloging ID or artifact number, which in this case obviously refers to buttons is available to use. If the button should not have been added to the catalog the row is shaded green etc. The button in question which said “what’s buzzin cousin” was part of a giveaway inside Armour Franks packages. It was part of a series of buttons entitled “Breezy Buttons” which contained slang expressions dating back to the 1920’s.
Evaluation of Information Quality
During the course of the last several weeks, an incident occurred where my research seemed to be inaccurate, a rarity since I started the internship. I researched an “I Love New York” button, without the heart symbol and thought it was related to the I love New York campaign of the late 1970’s to attract tourist and restore New York civic pride. Instead, after consultation with the curators of the museum who are experts in the history and origin of pinback buttons, my supervisor decided it might be a bit of a sarcastic take on that campaign, so my origin for the button may be in correct. Nevertheless, I don’t feel bad about my possible mistake, because even the museum brain trust was unsure of the button’s origin. Also, I found during the cataloging process on the spreadsheet duplicate entries for the first time, so I had to change them to orange and add a third row under the advertising category.
Recently, I had my busiest day ever with regard to changing categories in the database and catalog. First, I had to change two rows in the catalog to open in order that I could transfer the information regarding buttons from the Humorous and Club category to the advertising category. I then had to use two open rows to make two more cataloging ID’s and changed them in the cataloging database on the museum website as well of course. After changing the information and row colors in the Excel sheet, I then had to add a second main category known as humorous in the database and spreadsheet related to one button featuring the bakery slogan “The Freshest Thing in Town. Suffice to say, all of these activities took a while, but were rewarding in the end.
I accomplished so much during the course of this internship. I really learned how to conduct effective research using such tools as Google News and other free and proprietary newspaper and magazine databases, corporate websites, Google Books, trademark and other types of business databases publicly available on the web, and blogs. I also learned how to write concise, yet reasonably detailed museum styled captions, proofread previous interns spelling errors in addition to my own, and to catalog effectively using a database and spreadsheet. All of these skills are related to my learning outcomes and should prove very useful in both my personal and professional lives.
Below is a picture of one of the aforementioned “Breezy Buttons”: