Monday, 4 February 2013

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Kerrine Goh

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Besides working hard and fast in their cubicles, our interns have travelled to Bandung and Malacca, organised symposiums, waded through tons of historical research and pitched in during exhibition installations. At NUS Museum, each internship is different from the last. If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!

For the month of January 2013, NUS Museum hosted 3 interns as part of Temasek Junior College's WOW! 2013 Attachment Programme where students are given the opportunity to engage in real world situations and to provide insights or solutions. Each week, each student will take it in turns to blog about their experience and give us a little glimpse into their world.

Kerrine Goh tells us what they have been up during the final week of their attachment.

As they say, all good things have to come to an end and so has one month of our attachment at the NUS museum. On the third week of our attachment, we focused on cataloging and writing of our article that was to be published in the Temasek Times.

Our first task was to catalog 4 photo albums, namely Ng Eng Teng Studio, Ng Eng Teng gallery, Ng Eng Teng Gallery at NUS and Marco Hsu album. Cataloging is the process of recording information. This information usually comprises of bibliographic descriptions of books and its purpose is to aid the user in finding the items that they need more efficiently. The first 3 photo albums contained mainly 3R photographs of various places close to Ng Eng Teng. Personally, I liked the first album the best as it showcased Ng Eng Teng’s studio which was located at 106 Joo Chiat Place. It is sad to know that 106 Joo Chiat Place is no longer present but through these photographs, the kampong looking house also known as the rumah panggung, shall help us to capture memories of the past as time moves forward.

In addition, the process of organising these photographs had to be done carefully. We first counted the number of 3R photographs in the albums, scanned them in and numbered them accordingly. For instance, Album 1_1.0, which means the first photograph from page 1 in the first album.  All these had to be recorded on an excel sheet.

The Marco Hsu album was the most interesting album out of the four. The album was separated into different folios, with each folio containing different Marco Hsu materials. We had to categorize them into 3R size photographs, 4R size photographs, 5R size photographs, 8R size photographs, transparencies medium format, 35mm slides, others and loose sheets. What intrigued me the most were the transparencies and 35mm slides. The transparencies and 35 mm slides are hardly seen these days and hence were new to me.
From what I learnt, transparencies were thin sheets of transparent material, in which figures could be drawn on. In the past, they were usually placed on an overhead projector but as technology advanced, transparencies have been replaced by whiteboards and LCD projectors. As for the 35mm slides, the image was framed in a plastic mount. Nonetheless it was surprising to see that the transparencies and 35mm slides could actually produce such clear images.

For our second task, we had to write an article that was to be published in the Temasek Times, our school's newsletter.  The process was not as easy as I thought it would be. I had difficulty finding the correct words to bring out what I wanted to say, there were spelling/grammatical errors. In the midst of writing this article, I realized that it was difficult to write an article without doing thorough research on the subject we were going to write about. This was when our research on Ng Eng Teng came into good use. In addition, the analysis that we had done from our research helped us greatly as well, we could easily pick out what information we needed for each paragraph and even remove those illogical ones. As such, knowing the background of Ng Eng Teng definitely made our writing easier.

All in all, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be an intern at the NUS museum. Most importantly, I am thankful for the fact that there are curators who are responsible for preserving heritage material, whether it is artworks, or even collectibles. This makes me respect their jobs even more and I believe they deserve our admiration and respect as well.

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