December at ANSM is a busy but nice month. We have a little open house with our neighbouring Cultural Federations, try to tie up as many loose ends as possible so we can start the new year fresh, and shut the office down for a little break.
One of the other elements of our routine is performance reviews. I don't think I've ever mentioned performance reviews before, but this year's evaluation results demonstrated that a surprising number of museum boards are not conducting annual reviews of their staff. Yikes! When Sandi and I were talking about our reviews we admitted that we always feel a bit nervous beforehand, but it's such a critical protection for both the staff member and the employer. And it's a good opportunity for reflection. As everyone knows, we had a pretty hectic year this year. So to take the chance to sit down and list off the many things we've done and discuss ideas for moving forward is so beneficial. I hope that more museums will embrace and benefit from this practice.
As we reflected on our year, some things stood out more than others. The evaluation of 67 museums is first and foremost. It was a massive undertaking and major learning experience for both us and the museums. We also partnered with Fleming on our annual class assignment (improving 270 records), identified new Made in NS resources and added a lot of info to this database, hosted "Heather the intern" who did a lot of great work, including the #MuseumBasketCases project by partnering with Joleen Gordon. And of course there were Sandi's site visits and #ProjectVicky. She worked with museums to digitize hundreds of artifacts and add thousands of new images to NovaMuse.ca. We launched our #150Touchstones Canada150 project, and almost immediately saw our online audience expand as people sought to weigh in on their favourite museums and artifacts.
As usually there were also lots of meetings, with committees and individual museums and the biannual regional meetings. And let's not forget the cake eating. Part of why we think cake is warranted is that we want to celebrate the hard work of all our member museums. In addition to the evaluation prep work, we saw some great strides in database work. 11,708 new artifact records and a whopping 20,156 new images were added over the course of the year. That's worth a pat on the back. We are making Nova Scotian history more accessible to the public all the time. Huge kudos to everyone for these great efforts.
Right before we closed down the office for the holidays we quietly launched our new website. It feels pretty good to have a fresh face online...we had outgrown our old site long ago. I encourage you all to check it out. Browse through and see what new resources or program info we've got up there, and who knows, you might see yourself in one of our photos. You can also read our 2016 Museum Evaluation Report if you're wanting to learn more about the evaluation process and results.
As we look ahead to 2017, we will be moving forward with some familiar work - more evaluations, another Fleming project, picking away at Made in Nova Scotia, site visits and workshops and digitization and promoting NovaMuse. But I'm sure there will be some surprises and adventures along the way too. And cake. We can't forget the cake.