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Lisa Meitin

Aug 13, 2011, 12:33:40 PM8/13/11
to Reading Artifacts Summer Institute (RASI ) Canada Science and Technology Museum
Hi Everyone,

First of all, I'd like to sincerely apologize for the actions of my
email's auto-reply.

Secondly, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Lisa Meitin and
I'm relatively new to material culture and the study of objects. My
background is in electrical engineering, though since my graduation I
have continued to take various courses in Political Science and
Environment Studies. I have worked at the Canada Science and
Technology Museum since September 2007, where I was a guide until last
November when I became an Assistant to the Curator.

Having always had a strong interest in gender studies, I was
particularly drawn to Annmarie Adams' piece "The Eichler Home:
Intention and Experience in Postwar Suburbia." In contrast with some
of the other readings such as McClung Flemimg, this article, instead
of explicitly describing a specific methodology for the study of
objects, implicitly stresses the importance of one approach: the study
of the intended use and actual use of an object. What I have take
from the article is that in order to fully contextualize an object,
the intended and actual uses must both be examined and considered to
have equal importance. Every object has two lives: an intended life,
which represents the broader social story of the entire group of like
objects (in this case, all Terra Linda Eichler Homes), and an actual
life, which tells the story of the individual object (in this case,
the Clarkson home). A complete picture of the life of the object can
only be established by reconciling its two lives.

I find this approach - along with many of the others - to be quite
intuitive to curators and historians. When I document artifacts for
the collection I tend to follow this approach by consulting
manufacturer brochures and trade documentation as well as tracing the
individual life through the donors and previous owners. Examining
both sides leads to a more comprehensive study of the object.

I very much look forward to meeting everyone on Monday!

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