Curatorial and archival practice

To curate means to care for something.  That something can be a love letter placed in a file, a building in need of restoration, a rusty old tool, or a painting.  Once enveloped in a caring embrace, these objects and processes flow into and out of the archive in one form or another.  But the archive itself is not some straightforward repository of memorial artifacts; it is always partial, selective, and dependent upon what others no longer want.  Archival researchers, much like Archaeologists, dig through other people's junk.  Sometimes this detritus comes to the archive as comprehensive, intact, and well-manicured collections.  Other times, it accumulates from a swirl of happenstance over long periods.  In any case, curatorial and archival practices involve methods of interpretation, evaluation, discernment, comparison, and judgment.  Everyone exercises these methods to one extent or another when collecting and caring for things.