by Janelle Dubeau, Digitization Technician
My name is Janelle Dubeau and I am a Digitization Technician at the Glenbow Museum. When I tell people my job title the first response that I usually get is one of confusion. A Digi-what? Basically, my job is to locate hundreds of significant historical artifacts in the Glenbow storage facilities. I lightly dust the objects and bring them to our in-house photographer, who will photograph the objects. The next step is to input the historical and physical artifact descriptions into a database. The new digital images and their data will be added to our website database. Without a doubt, the most rewarding part of this job is to know that my efforts will allow the Glenbow collection to become more accessible to the general public on a global scale via the internet.
Trying to find a specific artifact in the storage facilities can be quite exciting; it always feels like a hunt for treasure. I start the search with an identification number, a location number and a very simple description of the artifact like "sword", or "jacket". Once found, its beauty or strangeness can be quite stimulating for the imagination. The next step, the careful dusting of the objects, allows me to closely examine them inside and out, and I sometimes find unexpected things like a hatpin concealing a miniature powder puff in its spherical head for make up touch ups on the go, or a very dangerous looking baby's toy rattle which contains little metal parts and a large animal's tooth for a teether.
Sometimes I encounter certain types of artifacts that are obsolete like the chatelaine, which was worn by women on the hip to store and display various personal items. In several months you will be able to view these objects and other interesting artifacts that we've digitized on our website's collections database.