What to curate?

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)


Curate is a fancy word that refers to selecting, organizing, and properly storing items, for example in a museum collection, or for an exhibition.

We can’t curate everything. It’s just too expensive and the objects will take up too much space. We also must consider excessive redundancy.

So, what do we save and what do we discard? How do we make that decision?

Do we save this early piece of computer equipment? After all, it was break-through technology in its day. And this specimen still functions (trust me!). On the other hand, tens of thousands of these machines were made, and some of them must still be stored in people’s garages and basements, and perhaps even in a few museums.

BTW, archaeologists also use the word curate with respect to, especially, lithics (stone tools). A curated bifacial tool, for example, has been re-sharpened, and used for quite a while.

Now here’s the trick question: what does this machine do?

Here’s a clue: do you know what a floppy disk is?