Today I was scheduled to work for CHM at the warehouse where 98% of the collection is held, a big climate-controlled, secure box in Milpitas, off Yosemite avenue. For long months around 2008, and again in 2015, I spent a day a week working there helping to store and catalog hundreds of items. In 2008, it was a huge collection, two tractor-trailer loads, from Germany to process. In 2015 it was a campaign to catalog and photograph thousands of items that had been incompletely catalogued when the Museum moved from Boston to Mountain View. I hadn’t been in the Yosemite warehouse in three years. It hadn’t changed much, and the volunteers and staff who I worked with were all old friends from previous days.
The work was familiar but strenuous. We were moving a group of large chunks of a DEC KL-10 and a VAX, which were sitting on the ground floor, and putting them up on pallets so they could be fork-lifted to one of the upper levels. It was part of a game that Aurora, the site manager, called “museum tetris”, moving things from level to level to optimize space. Each heavy box had to be rolled on its casters up a ramp onto a pallet. Then its screw jacks could be lowered to stabilize it, and compression straps wrapped around it to lock it to the pallet. I worked on that with three others, while three more worked at moving dozens of storage boxes and placing restraint straps to ensure they wouldn’t fall in case of an earthquake.
About suppertime, my niece Denise returned a call and I finally got a chance to offer her our china service. She’ll consult with her partner and get back to me.