While working on a project in the Henry’s conference room, I noticed a selection of textured floral prints I’d never really paid much attention to. After a closer look I found that they were not prints at all, but a series of intricately carved Japanese Katagami stencils made from mulberry paper and cured with persimmon juice. I thought I ‘d recognized them from the Henry’s online catalog and quickly ran up stairs to visit the DIG Kiosk to find out more information. After noodling around for a while I realized that these stencils represented only a small portion of the 198 Katagami works in the Henry’s permanent collection – yikes.
After reading a little more about these 19th century stencils I started thinking about how many items in our collection we don’t often see. Though its impossible to have all works out on view all the time, it is possible to make these collections available by other means. The Henry has made their collections available for research or general public interest by providing in-house and online public access though the Reed Collection Study Center, new online catalog, and in-house Digital Information Gallery (DIG). These resources allow students and the general public to more fully explore collections for personal or professional research. Though resources online offer general information, DIG provides access to images and data for over 24,000 objects in the collection and can help make better use of the Reed Collection Study Center. So have at it – research, explore, expand.