Today’s post comes from our Digital Archive intern Maureen Nyhan, who spent time with the FIDM Museum this summer working on our Michel Arnaud Fashion Photography Archive. Maureen learned digital asset management skills as she scanned and categorized collections from one designer, Yohji Yamamoto, making these images available to researchers for years to come! 


As a non-traditional student (returning to school after family) I felt so welcomed to the FIDM Museum family, where my amateur skills in both fashion and digital asset management (DAM) were graciously overlooked and I was treated as a valued member of the team from Day One.

In my search for an internship to complete my Digital Archiving Certificate at Pasadena City College, I am so glad I reached out to Meghan at the FIDM Museum. When Meghan called me back, her enthusiasm and welcoming tone caught me as a wonderful surprise. She immediately honed in on an area from my creative and academic past. I started my college career as an Art Major but ended up taking my BA in Japanese Language and Culture at SFSU and living in Japan in the 1980s. At that time, Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto’s black fashions were all the rage.

Photograph by Michel ArnaudYohji YamamotoFall/Winter 1982Gift of Arnaud Associates, SC2000.1095.1 AS082472

Since my task was going to be organizing and scanning runway photos from the Michel Arnaud Archive, Meghan asked if I might be interested in working with either of those two collections, and perhaps creating content for a Google Arts & Culture page on one of the designers. I was thrilled at the prospect, and honored to come on board to complete my hours. I picked Yamamoto.

082471Photograph by Michel ArnaudYohji YamamotoFall/Winter 1982Gift of Arnaud Associates, SC2000.1095.1 AS082471

To begin my internship, Meghan gave me a fascinating tour of the Museum storage areas, where I had the privilege of seeing how historic dress objects and Special Collections ephemera are carefully stored and preserved, waiting future display or study by researchers and FIDM students. 

My work started by taking boxes of Michel Arnaud’s Yohji Yamamoto runway photographs consisting of Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collections for the years 1981 to 1993, both New York and Paris, and numbering them sequentially. I learned how to handle the slides and dust them before replacing them into their archival boxes. When numbering was complete, the second step was to scan each individual slide using the Hasselblad Flextight Scanner and making sure they were all in the same orientation.

083065Photograph by Michel ArnaudYohji YamamotoSpring/Summer 1988Gift of Arnaud Associates, SC2000.1095.1 AS083065

Completing these tasks gave me a solid sense of the effort and time required for handling sensitive objects and working with them one at a time. It was so rewarding to have created a corpus of items that can be enjoyed by students and the public for years to come.

My final days were spent learning Canto Cumulus (a database that stores each image) and Past Perfect (the software system that interfaces with the public). The scanned images are uploaded into Cumulus, where they can be accessed by the Past Perfect program. The digital archivist creates a set of metadata for each image, and as time allows, specific details will be added by researchers such as the runway models’ names, show locations, descriptions of the outfits, and other data. It was so rewarding to have created a corpus of items that can be enjoyed by students and the public for years to come.

082998Photograph by Michel ArnaudYohji YamamotoSpring/Summer 1986Gift of Arnaud Associates, SC2000.1095.1 AS082998

I would recommend interning at the FIDM Museum for anyone starting out in any area of Digital Asset Management with an interest in history and culture. Looking at the world through the lens of fashion is fascinating, and you will never look at your surroundings the same way again!  I hope to be able to volunteer more of my time on the Michel Arnaud Archive, if for no other reason than to give Meghan more space in her office – currently the home of stacks and stacks of soft-toned archival boxes! 

IMG_6391 (1)Michel Arnaud with the archival boxes of 35mm slides.

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