Janice Nosal, a museum professional, archaeologist, and lifelong New Englander, joined the Haffenreffer Museum as a Collection Assistant in support of the Transforming the Haffenreffer Museum Mellon Project in March 2020. Prior to joining the Haffenreffer staff, she recently worked with the National Park Service, Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and Crozier Fine Arts. Janice graduated from Stonehill College with her Bachelor of Arts in History, and holds a Master of Arts in Historical Archaeology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research interests include archaeology of foodways, consumer habits, and expression of gender. While at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, she completed a thesis which analyzed the relationships between historic advertisements and the archaeological record in a working-class 19th century Boston neighborhood.
As a Collection Assistant, Janice is most eager to participate in the rehousing and relocation portions of this project. Janice brings extensive experience in museum logistics, project management, and transportation to the Haffenreffer collection space, and she is excited to begin hands-on object packing, inventory, and analysis. Collections rehousing, particularly with collections as diverse as those at the Haffenreffer, offers welcome opportunities for creativity and improvisation. She looks forward to seeing the Haffenreffer collections in a more central and accessible location near campus so that staff, students, and researchers can more easily utilize this collection for years to come.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, Janice recently started as a Collection Assistant remotely. This was initially a bit stressful, as in addition to relocating and settling into a new home, all job-related onboarding was completed from afar. As a Collection Assistant, her daily activities would, under normal circumstances, be best completed with the Museum’s collections nearby and accessible. Janice quickly learned the basics of MuseumPlus, the HMA’s collections management relational and research database. Through several Zoom video meetings, her supervisor and colleagues introduced her to the database and how to begin “data clean up” of existing object records so that, when staff are all on site again, everyone can dive headfirst into hands-on object inventorying and updates. Additionally, Janice participated in virtual meetings to get to know her colleagues and participate in professional development webinars that may not have been able to fit into regular on-site schedules. From webinars on proper handling of feathered objects to a two-day course on tailoring project management to museums, Janice has already brainstormed ways to apply these lessons to existing projects.