Behind the Scenes: Anne’s one year update circa 2007

Once upon a time I was a contributor to I’m still buddies with those folks and they might get a kick out of this Behind the Scenes peek. I found an email I wrote to them in February, 2007, one year after I arrived to catalog the collection. It provides a fascinating look at the day to day life here THREE years before Steve and I even thought of a nonprofit. Here is the email word for word along with the photos.

From: Anne Neumann
Subject: [RSNews] Rancho Update
Date: February 12, 2007 at 10:43:51 AM PST

So, I’ve been here a year now. It got pretty overwhelming about the end of November so I didn’t do a whole lot in December and then there was Christmas and the Rose Parade. But I found some new enthusiasm last month and started off at a run again. It’s been hard to focus on any one thing and there are constant interruptions. The DK book fiasco [a collectibles book that never happened] took two months of my attention. For the last three months I’ve been spending a lot of time working with Steve on The Star Wars Vault book.

I’ll have a couple of weeks of good selling on eBay and then my antechamber will get so filled with incoming and trash that I can’t get to my bedroom. I’ll have to spend a day cleaning that up, which snowballs into having to clean up elsewhere, etc. Then there’s the occasional tour coming through, which means I have to focus all my attention on cleaning up the museum. Sometimes that takes a week itself because of the ongoing shuffling of items to accommodate the inventory. And I go home for a visit about every 3 months.

So, progress is slow. Except sometimes progress gets kicked into hyperspace and a huge amount is accomplished. That happened this weekend. The Neon City Garrison came from Las Vegas with 10 people for a tour. Steve asked them ahead of time if they could help out with some projects in the museum. Little did they know. Haha! After their tour I had them open and place 13 large display items: 5 Attakus statues, 4 Master Replicas, 3 Sideshow and 1 Code 3. That was fun and everyone enjoyed that. The Attakus acrylic display is now full so hopefully we’ll never have to remove that hideous bulky acrylic box again.

Break for lunch. They then sorted, bagged and boxed 6 full file boxes of foreign-language magazines. This included hefting 20-pound boxes of magazines to and from the right loft. Not so fun.

Then they came back Sunday after lunch. By that time Steve and I had been working in the back barn for 2 hours. Steve rented a 40-cubic-yard dumpster. I didn’t believe him when he said we could fill it. Well fill it we did, in 6 hours flat. With real garbage, nothing having anything to do with Star Wars. We broke down several crates that the life-size LEGO figures had come in. There where boxes and boxes of chipped Styrofoam that had come as filler for something. Tons of empty boxes, old useless displays, boxes for computers and electronics that they don’t even have anymore. Old bikes. Three carloads of old computers and electronic equipment that I’m taking to Goodwill today. Lumber and rotten pallets. A ton of old fluorescent ceiling lights. Broken shelving. An old central heater. I don’t have any more pictures of this activity because I was too busy working my ass off.

At some point in the dumpster diving Pablo and seven of his friends arrived. We’d completely forgotten that Steve promised him a tour! So Steve went off to give them a tour while I supervised the Back Barn Blowout. Josh arrived to help. So in the end there were about 20 people hauling boxes from the main museum back to the newly vacant space in the back barn. There’s now so much space back there I think I’ll be able to empty the “duplicate” room next to mine and make that part of the museum as display space and storage. That will make all the difference in the world as far as what’s going on in the museum. I’ve eked out every inch of space in those 5,000 square feet. There’s simply no more room and there’s still tons of stuff to come. Big stuff as you all know.

Anyway, on a personal level, after one year, the card room is finally clean and organized. Pete helped a lot there, but mostly it was all me. The bookshelf of binders has been completely inventoried. There are exactly 26,900 items on that one bookshelf. Steve’s inventory now stands at 39,785. Sorry about the long update but this weekend was a great triumph as far as progress here and I just wanted to share. From this vantage there’s actual hope this project can be completed.