Index of the collections, and latest research. From the beginning, collecting has focused on objects with interesting histories and the potential to catalyze conversations.
2009 — 2018
Buying a few antiquities over the years, but nothing very concerted.
Collecting began in earnest in May 2018. It started as a desire for images to use for instructional materials. Because there are so many press photos and stamps available, these were easy to find at first. I was really unsure what else is there. Over time, it became easier to sift through the hundreds of press photos and stamps that clog up search results. The shift moved toward books and postcards in 2019.
Taking a break from collecting around August. It was honestly quite overwhelming. Using items, finding what excites people, and starting to exhibit.
The decision is made to bring over a number of books on American Jewry, and also a specialized collection on California history. These were purchased over several years and kept in Los Angeles, and bringing them into the Museum's collection is a sharp change. What strikes me is that this is a personalization of the collection that represents my origins, rather than the depersonalized approach that sought to place me totally apart from the nature of the collections. It feels holistic and potentially serving a good purpose in the future.
Return to collecting. A string of purchases is made of photos, stamps, and books, but the collection and its direction seems lacking in diversity.
Cataloguing of all past purchases begun in earnest. Rather than stamps and other ephemera, a push is made to focus specifically on Iraqi objets d'art and judaica, inspired by a 'sweetheart bracelet' made in Iraq in 1944, the acquisition of several new coins, and the purchase of about a dozen Jewish books published in Baghdad. A spotlight on women's history is begun.
Major upgrades to the content management system also help facilitate a tidier organization system for the collections. Acquisitions are made in December and January of several important statistical reference books.
The cataloguing is finally up-to-date, allowing for the first time an authoritative analysis of the collections and areas for improvement.
The Foundation’s acquisitions prioritizes objects that originated from Iraq, then were brought overseas by emigration. By exhibiting these objects, including bringing them to Iraq, the Foundation creates a “life-cycle” for each item that connects events that may be decades or more than a century apart. This encourages positive interpretations of survival, renewal, and resilience through the way the objects themselves embody these themes.