Friday, January 31, 2020

January 2020 Update

Welcome to 2020, which we have affectionately dubbed our "consolidation year". What does that mean? It means we've experienced a lot of growth and change over the past few years, and this year we want to make some adjustments, deal with some administrative backlog, and get ourselves a bit more organized. So far, we've made some good headway...

Museum Evaluation Program
This month we opened the FTP website so museums can start submitting files for Documentation Review. The deadline is May 1st, so it's great to check this box and let people upload at their leisure. Three Q&A emails went out, which shows us that a lot of museums are already actively working on evaluation preparations. I also finally finished updating the Scoring Guide for 2020.

The Accreditation Panel convened for the first time ever (and we of course forgot to take a photo). Discussions were engaging, decisions were made, and letters are in the mail. So if your museum applied for Accreditation in December and you haven't received a letter yet, check your mailbox. If you're being evaluated this year and want to read up on Accreditation, we have lots of info on our website.

Today is the deadline for applications to join the MEP Working Group, which has a new chair in Susan Marchand-Terrio of the Isle Madame Historical Society. Terms of Reference and the application form can be found here. This is such a great group; we look forward to inviting fresh ideas and perspectives into its mix. February 14th is the deadline to apply to be an evaluator this year. Again we're excited to review applications and bring in some fresh ideas and perspectives to the evaluation process. More info on this role can be found here.

As we think ahead to next year, I had a meeting and a number of emails with Nova Scotia Museum staff to continue planning and prep work for the NSM's evaluations in 2021. It's nice to talk through logistics this early in the process.

CollectiveAccess Updates
Last year we welcomed some new members to the Advisory Service, so over the winter we are working with them to review collections info and come up with a plan to introduce CollectiveAccess to their operations.

Digitization and documentation efforts of other members remain active, even when a lot of museums are closed and grant application deadlines approach. Collectively, we now have 307,794 artifacts documented with 219,229 associated images.
Regionally, this translates as:
Southwest - 136,842 artifacts, 83,905 images
Central - 103,073 artifacts, 63,488 images
Northeast - 36,680 artifacts, 53,542 images
Cape Breton - 31,199 artifacts, 17,294 images

We're in the final stages of testing the new Transcription feature for NovaMuse (funded by MAP), which will let users help museums read and transcribe documents and inscribed artifacts. We're really pleased with how this feature has turned out, and look forward to using it to highlight stories and commemorate Nova Scotian history and its relation to broader historical events.

Educational Partnerships
As we get ourselves organized, we've been talking with museum studies programs across the country and identifying new opportunities for partnerships. We have a much better sense of what programs are out there, how they work, and how/when to reach out to promote internship opportunities with ANSM. We've even added a new element to our website to admit that we actually really enjoy hosting interns.

We're also getting our ducks in a row for this summer. We've applied for funding to help museums develop collections-based online resources for teachers, and so have recruited a group of museum people with teaching experience as well as teachers who love museums to serve as our Teacher Advisory Group. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that this funding comes through. It's an exciting project to think about.

Our strongest educational partner is Fleming College. On January 14th we launched this year's Fleming/NovaMuse project. Students are currently reviewing 320 database records for 11 museums
and making sure professional standards are being followed. Through our Facebook support group, we're having conversations about databases, collections management, and documentation issues. Students are providing great help to participating museums by reviewing some of the earliest collection records, and as a result are getting a much stronger understanding of the range and scope of information in record holdings.

Keeping Fresh
One of the things we promote through all our activities, is the notion of continuous learning, aka keeping fresh. For us, this meant participating in some webinars this month. One from Connecting to Collections Care about caring for clocks, one from the Canadian Evaluation Society on evaluation and sustainable development goals, and two from the Tamarack Institute on community development. This is obviously quite the range of topics, but isn't that reflective of museum life? So keep an eye on our Facebook page where we promote this range of online learning opportunities. We know we need to keep fresh, and we want to help you do the same.