Monday, February 7, 2011

Central Regional Heritage Group Meeting

On Friday the Central Regional Heritage Group met at the NS Museum of Natural History.  There were around 15 people in attendance from across the Halifax Regional Municipality, representing 11 organizations.  Not a bad turnout for a mid-winter meeting.

Anita and Karin reported on the various ANSM activities, from the upcoming conference to the new database system.
The Council of NS Archives reported that it has some new emergency supply kits that can be accessed by members in the event of a disaster.  They are located at the NSARM in Halifax, the Beaton Institute in Sydney, and the Yarmouth County Museum & Archives in Yarmouth.
Moose River Gold Mines Museum reported that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the mine disaster, and commemoration activities will take place on April 30th.  Mainland South Heritage Society is celebrating 20 years, and will be having a tea on Feb.19th at the community centre.  Cole Harbour Heritage Farm has just completed a Community Memories project; the funding allowed them to digitize all of their audio-visual holdings.

Destination Halifax was also in attendance and gave us all an overview of what they can offer to heritage organizations. While their target market is the meeting/convention world, they are always looking for activities and products (including museums) to promote to visitors.  Their website gets over 35,000 hits per month, and even if you aren't a member you can submit events and promote your organization.  With over 22,000 fans on Facebook, this provides a great venue for advertising upcoming events at the museum, whether it's an exhibit opening or tea social.

After the meeting Jeff Gray took us on a tour to visit Sue the T-Rex.  It was great to see all the young families coming into the gallery and hear the kids' reactions - Wow!  It's so big!  Look at the teeth!  This is so cool!
What a great way to introduce kids to the world of museums.  The interest is there, and in April we'll be looking at ways to move Beyond the Labels in our interpretation so that we can keep the kids interested in coming back again and again.

tree under construction
  We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of the upcoming exhibit Netukulimk which is scheduled to open later this year.  The premise is to bring the outside inside, so the exhibit development team is working hard at creating a Nova Scotian forest with trees and caves with lots of interactive pieces for kids to learn and play.  As one of ANSM's partners in the QR Code project, the museum is taking full advantage of this new technology and using it to share what's taking place behind the barriers.  Two QR codes are providing visitors with the opportunity to hear about the exhibit development process from MNH staff who are busy building and painting.  As Jeff put it, this is a great way for visitors to engage with museum staff who aren't interpreters or on the front lines, giving the visitors a better understanding of how the museum operates.

looking underground and a new home for the bees
exhibit design behind-the-scenes

The other great thing about meeting at the MNH is that Jeff and Karin got to hang out with a CBC reporter and talk about QR Codes after all the meeting attendees had left.  The MNH officially launched their QR Codes on Friday, so this gave an opportunity to garner a bit of press and monitor people's reaction to these funny little square things (according to our stats, so far the code next to Gus the Tortoise is the most popular, surprise surprise).  Jeff opted to not post any notices about the QR codes and is taking a "if you know what these are, check them out" approach.  So if you go to the Museum of Natural History, be sure to take your smartphone and go hunting for those elusive little black and white squares.  

The next meeting has been scheduled for May 13th at Alderney Gate, hosted by the HRM Cultural & Heritage Development team.  Stay tuned to the listserv for more info.

1 comment:

Seamus said...

Thanks for this update Karin. As you know, I am the new social heritage planner with HRM. I started in this position on Nov.1, a day after the last Central Regional meeting.

I would like to add a few of the points that we raised during the meeting on February 4th:

- HRM has a new program called the Heritage Appreciation Leveraging Fund (HALF)grant. The grant will match contributions for heritage commemoration, interpretation, and education projects, up to a value of $2,500.

- HRM has also followed through on a request made at the CRHN in October, we are working with local partners to host a pilot heritage event called "Heritage Quest", similar to Nocturne, during the weekend of April 16th and 17th, 2011. If there is interest, this may become an annual celebration.

- HRM is also in the initial stages of developing its first Social Heritage Strategy. All members of the public including, heritage organizations, will be invited to participate in a Region wide discussion about social heritage and how the Strategy can best support its development.

We will discuss the Strategy in more depth during the next CRHN meeting that HRM will be hosting on May 13th.

-Seamus McGreal,
HRM Social Heritage Planner