Monday, July 30, 2012

PMA Meetings 2012 - Part 3

A Day at CCI
taking a break but still talking
Some of you might remember that the PMA meetings always include a day at the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). We again started off with the recent cuts. CCI has been hit hard over the past few years and they are now working on a strategic plan to "focus its knowledge and expertise on preservation and access to significant heritage objects and collections in Canada". So over the next while CCI will be meeting with stakeholders, conducting consultations, and going through all those other fun strategic exercises.

Also on the agenda was CCI's conservation services, and how there are many upcoming anniversaries that museums should be thinking about. Federally this is being referred to as "the road to 2017", Canada's sesquicentennial year. Leading up to this we have Arctic Expeditions (1913-18), the 400th anniversary of Champlain meeting the Outaouis, the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, WWI, , Women's suffrage, the Canada flag, transatlantic cable, Vimy Ridge....the list goes on and on. So if you have objects related to these events or other significant community anniversaries, don't forget that you can ask CCI to conserve these artifacts. Lots of info on their website about this service.
CCI's workshops are perhaps the most visible of their services, and over the years we have seen our fair share of these in Nova Scotia. Along with the other services the workshops are being reviewed, especially in terms of delivery methodology. And the good news is that they are working on 4 new workshops which will be rolled out over the next couple of years: exhibition lighting, reorganization of storage, book conservation, and box making. This is very good news.

Much of this day was spend in think tank mode. As part of their strategic planning work, CCI had a bunch of questions for the provincial associations. So we got to share the realities and needs of our members with the federal agencies that exist to serve Canadians. I know I speak for my colleagues when I say this time of brainstorming and sharing felt pretty good. Since I'm sure you're all curious, here are the key messages we left with CCI (& CHIN, & the CMA). Feel free to let me know if you think we were off the mark.
Some of the group
  1. The key challenges our member museums face in caring for their collections are - volunteer fatigue, fear of change (mostly in convincing staff/board members of preservation needs instead of doing things they way they've always been done), storage know-how.
  2. CCI can enable our member museums to better care for collections while making them safely accessible by - podcast & video how-to guides, regional representatives to personalize the connection with Ottawa, tip sheets, demos, checklists, work with PMAs on preservation curriculum
  3. Preferred methods of delivering information, advice & training are - demos, check lists, face-to-face, scalability & adaptability (make something adjustable for the different sizes and types of organizations), workshops, train the trainers, curriculum support to PMAs
  4. Other sources of support (related to collections care) and professional development are - provincial museum staff, archival councils, consultants, museum studies schools. These were given with the caveat that we are seeing very limited resources & increases in expenses, a loss of many local experts, and limited knowledge of CCI's resources
  5. The biggest contribution CCI can make to build the capacity of our member museums is - provision of information, development of knowledge in the field of conservation, scalable information for small museums, affordable workshops, partner with the PMAs
So that's a review of this year's meetings. I hope that you learned a little something, and can see how ANSM's presence at these meetings is beneficial.
Until next year, peace!
Pierre from the OMA

In case you missed them:
PMA Meetings 2012 - Part 1
PMA Meetings 2012 - Part 2

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