Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016 Update

Regional Heritage Group Meetings
Southwest Curator's Group Meeting
Yarmouth County Museum
Anita and I hit the road a fair bit this month; twice for regional group meetings. The first was the Central Regional Heritage Group. Thanks to the NS Sport Hall of Fame for hosting this one. They have a pretty sweet board room, and Katie even had sweets ready for us. Cake culture is alive and well. 12 people from 10 organizations were present, and there was lots of talk about how the summer went, and closing down for the season. Kellie McIvor joined the group in her new capacity as Cultural Asset Manager for HRM, and she gave lots of info about various HRM work and activities. The second regional meeting we attended was the Southwest Curator's Group, hosted by the Yarmouth County Museum. Bria brought some much-appreciated mini chocolate bars, which were shared while everyone did a roundtable on their summer activities. The scope of programs and fundraising efforts was impressive. At both meetings, we talked about the various ANSM work on the go - upcoming workshops and training, the evaluation program, MuseFund, NovaMuse and the advisory service. It's so important to get around a table and talk shop. If you aren't attending these and are wondering when they are, you can get in touch with us, or sign up for the Beacon e-newsletter since we advertise them there as well.

Museum Evaluation Program
As I mentioned last month, my big job for this month was analyzing statistics and writing a report for the Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage and the ANSM Board of Directors. But before I could really dive into report work, I had to dig my way out from the vacation email backlog. I/We received a lot of feedback from museums. 54 of the 67 museums (80.6%) responded to the evaluation reports in some capacity. A number of museums said that they will be using the report as a guide to assist in developing plans for the coming years, which is really encouraging to hear. We really wanted the reports to be helpful.
In terms of the big report for CCH and our board, it's still growing. There are some very interesting trends in the scoring, and as I have mentioned to a few people, it is far more complex and nuanced than just a matter of museum size. We can see which areas museums struggle with the most, and are already talking about how we can provide more and better support in these areas. Once the report is done we will put some snapshots on our website for all to see.
making weird gestures while talking
about evaluation in White Point

The other thing we did this month for this program was more orientation sessions. Back on the road, Anita and I led 3 orientation sessions for Nova Scotia Museum sites - in Halifax, White Point, and Port Hawkesbury. We had good attendance at each session and some really good questions and conversations. Since a lot of NSM work is coordinated from Halifax, we will be meeting with people over the coming weeks in order to see how we can coordinate and be efficient in providing support to the museums as they prepare for their 2017 evaluation.

Collections Database Info
October has been a bit of a blur, but the backlog of images from #ProjectVicky has been worked through, and museums have continued picking away at collections work. I took a peek at last year's numbers because it seemed to me like everyone has been very productive this year, and I was right. I won't spoil the surprise, but you'll definitely want to read the year-end review because it's been a good one for database work. You should all pat yourselves on the back and take a cake break - it is well-deserved.
On that note, let's check out this month's regional stats:
Southwest Region - 123,942 artifacts, 55,803 images
Central Region - 46,481 artifacts, 30,436 images
Northeast Region - 32,804 artifacts, 24,367 images
Cape Breton Region - 29,324 artifacts, 13,771 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most artifacts and images this month!

Your image lesson of the month is this adorable 1930s costume that was worn by a little girl named Grace. I think you'll agree it's looking a little flat these days, even though it's easy to imagine Grace twirling and skipping as she was trick-or-treating. We were recently talking about Hope's textile project from a few summers ago, so this seems even more appropriate to share. When photographing the collection, remember to put the item in its natural position. In the case of costumes, this means dressing up a mannequin. The sleeves will puff out, the skirt will billow, and the costume will really come to life. It will be so much easier for you to understand it. There are a couple other things I would adjust in this, both along the right side of the image. One is the scale - I'd put it in the lower left corner just like it is for all the other images in the databases and on NovaMuse. Consistency = professionalism. And I would have cropped out the extra dead space from the right side of the image, aligning the centre of the dress with the centre of the image so that the eye is naturally drawn there instead of being skewed off to the left a bit. A good lesson from this photo: the light backdrop is perfect for dealing with this brought and colourful dress, especially since the dark colouring in the skirt would make some details disappear.

That's all for this month. We are working on a number of funding applications and plans so stay tuned for developments. In the meantime...

Happy Halloween!!

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