Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tribute to Kim Truchan

From Kim's obituary
I can't believe I'm saying this again so soon, but we've suffered a loss in the Nova Scotia heritage community. Kim Truchan, formerly of the Shelburne County Museum, passed away on August 5th after a 3 year battle with cancer.

As her colleagues have shared over the heritage listservs, Kim was greatly respected and well-liked. Coming to us from the arts world, she offered fresh perspectives and a creative edge, and it was inspiring. Her youthful spirit and energy, her quick smile and positivity, her intelligence and creativity...so many wonderful traits. People enjoyed being around her and knew that when she spoke up at a meeting it was because she had something very valuable to share. She wasn't just the ideas person though, but could turn ideas into action, and understood how to navigate the business side of things as well. Advocacy, funding applications, project management...she was ready to tackle it all.

As I've been thinking back to our on-site visits, I've realized that we hit it off so well that none of them seem like they could have included our introduction. As soon as we sat down, I saw that she was brimming with optimism and ideas. She wasn't afraid to "tell it like it is", preferring to face a problem than ignore it. But she knew when it was time to ask for help, and had no qualms about phoning to have a quiet talk about some issue or other. She just wanted to move Shelburne forward, and by extension, the museums of Nova Scotia. I distinctly remember returning to the office and reporting "she gets it!", which is the term we use when someone really impresses us. We all immediately knew that Kim was a wonderful asset for the museum world; we were thrilled at the prospect and it didn't take us long to recruit her.

Kim served on our Information Management & Access Committee when we were moving to a new database system and was of great assistance as we were developing NovaMuse. She LOVED that name. It had her vote from day one. The notion of museums inspiring creativity and collections serving as a new muse to artists got her pretty excited and fit perfectly with her artistic background. As soon as we started brainstorming about potential directions was when her creative juices started flowing. She always saw the big picture but never lost sight of how that translated for individual museums. Quick on the draw and eager to help museums improve themselves, Kim always had valuable input. Whether it was a discussion on advisory service membership, technical database issues or the aesthetics of website design, she could handle it all. She took the job very seriously and while most people won't notice, as I peruse NovaMuse I can see her fingerprints. Our logo with the capital M immediately comes to mind.

We worked with Shelburne on a number of special pilot projects while Kim was there. She loved being the guinea pig and playing with new technologies, whether it was installing qr codes or seeing if our database could really be used in a class assignment by a college in Ontario. She was up for anything, even when I'd caution her that we had no idea if or how something would work or that we'd be making it up as we went along. She would remind me that we learn by doing, nothing ventured nothing gained, and that it was time for museums to be innovators and break free of old and staid stereotypes. Then she'd start brainstorming other potential projects and we'd get even more excited about the possibilities.

When Kim called to say she needed to step down from IMAC to undergo treatment, she made it clear that this was a temporary thing. She was determined to beat it. She'd be taking a leave of absence, that's all. She'd still be keeping an eye on us, watching to see what we were up to, and checking in to say hi and get the latest news.

Well Kim, I hope that your leave is relaxing and peaceful and full of creative inspiration. Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights and ideas with us. You were a bright star that we lost far too soon. You will be sorely missed.

No comments: