Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 Update

CNSA Education Committee
In addition to ANSM committees, I sit on the Council of Nova Scotia Archives' Education Committee in an ex-officio capacity. It's so important to maintain communication and compare notes with professional colleagues. In this situation, it allows us to talk about shared needs of our members (many of whom are also shared). Given the insights we garnered from the Museum Evaluation Program of training needs, one way we are collaborating is in the application for a Canadian Conservation Institute regional workshop. Regional workshops are pretty competitive, as only two per region are on offer, and there are 4 provinces in the Atlantic region. So in discussing the options and results of the evaluation, CNSA & ANSM agreed that ANSM would apply for the Disaster Planning workshop and members of both organizations would get the member registration rate. So keep your fingers crossed that our application is successful because this training is definitely needed by a lot of museums. And hopefully this can be inspiration for you. How are you partnering with your professional peers?

Central Region Heritage Group
The other big meeting I attended this month was the CRHG meeting, hosted by Scott Manor House in Bedford. I wish I'd taken a picture of the group because there were a lot of people around the table. It was impressive. Some new faces and old faces and good discussions about what's going on and how we can work more together. If you aren't sure these meetings are valuable or worth your time, here's an interesting statistic from last summer's museum evaluations. The average score of museums that attended their regional meetings at least once a year was 74.1%. On the flip side, those that did not attend regional meetings only had an average score of 52.1%. We see this as proof that we are stronger together, casually learning is key, and being engaged with your professional community is critical.

Museum Evaluation Program
Evaluations are still front and centre in our world. This summer we will be evaluating the 28 Nova Scotia Museum sites, and we're following the same basic timeline as last year. So right now there is a lot of resource sharing and question & answer happening as these museums prepare to submit their information for Documentation Review in May. That may sound far away, but in reality it's coming up fast, and we know from last year that those museums that prepared over the winter months fared better than those that waited until Spring to start working on stuff. Next year we will be opening up the evaluation to museums that have never been evaluated before and are not part of CMAP or NSM. If you're interested in this, check out our website for more information on the program. You can download all the documents and be in touch with questions about getting involved. Speaking of getting involved, we are currently looking for evaluators to help with this summer's work. If you have been working with museums for 10 years or more, have never worked for the Nova Scotia Museum, enjoy helping museums, and have a few spare weeks in July, this might be just the opportunity for you. The above website link will give you information and the application form. Applications are due February 24th. The steering committee will meet in early March to select the evaluators and establish the teams.
If anyone has not yet read the 2016 Museum Evaluation Report it is also available on our website.

CollectiveAccess and NovaMuse InfoAs I mentioned last month, a lot of museums are quiet right now so there's not a lot of database work going on. But here at ANSM we've actually been knee-deep in database work. We have just finished migrating a museum's database from an icky old system to CollectiveAccess. It was quite the undertaking, and still is as we do some batch editing to update info to the current nomenclature standards and prepare a "moving forward" report for the organization. This migration work has totally skewed our database stats for this month. In addition to the 600 records and 900 images that got manually added in January, we brought in almost 52,000 records and 7800+ images from the migration. It will be a while yet before any of those records get onto NovaMuse, but the first major hurdle has been jumped.

That's quite the addition to our collective numbers, so here are the new regional standings:
Southwest - 124,602 artifacts, 56,375 images
Central - 98,883 artifacts, 39,202 images
Northeast - 32,884 artifacts, 25,867
Cape Breton - 29,394 artifacts, 13,773 images

Made in Nova Scotia
I also mentioned in a recent post that we were trying to tackle more Made in NS work - slowly picking through the stockpile of resources we have to add to that database. In addition to all the extra notes we've been able to add to the 7600 existing entries, we've added over 200 new artisan & business profiles. It's really nice to see this resource bulk up. It has such huge potential as a research tool and we're finding it really satisfying to fill in gaps and expand its offerings. Sandi has finished adding in Colchester Furniture Makers. Huge thanks to Nan at the Colchester Historeum for giving us this book. It's a nice addition to our reference library and the Made in NS database. The silversmiths book is still slowly being worked through.
Don't forget to tag your Made in NS artifacts to their maker in the database! On the enriched page, use the Made in Nova Scotia field to search and make the link. If an artisan/business isn't in the list, be in touch and we can get them added right away.

"adopted" museums - 2017
Fleming Project
Our annual class assignment launched on January 17th and the students are busy working through
their selected records. We've got 27 students partnered up with 9 museums and working on 10 records each. The proofreading & basic editing portion (aka phase 1) of the assignment will end on February 24th, and then they get to pick out two of their artifacts for further research. We've got a Facebook group set up so I can field questions and provide guidance if needed. As in previous years, it will be really interesting to see what kinds of improvements and extra info they dig up during the assignment. It's quite the mixed bag of artifacts included this year; from the agricultural artifacts of Cole Harbour Farm Museum to the fishing artifacts of LaHave Islands Marine Museum, and a wide variety of household and community-related items from across the province. Hats, wedding dresses, photographs, postcards, dishes, furniture...you name it, we've included it.
For anyone thinking ahead to when their next turn will be (assuming the assignment continues), a good way to prepare is to keep working on digitizing your artifacts. We only include items that have good quality photos attached since the students have to rely on the database record rather than physical, in-person examination of the artifact. One more reason to keep that imaging work chugging along.

Last but definitely not least is our Canada 150 Touchstones project. I'm not going to say too much about this because Sandi wrote a lovely blog post about the initial voting phase. What I do want to say is thank you to the museums that got involved and promoted their artifacts on social media. It worked. And from what we're hearing, everyone saw a little boost in their online audience as a result. There's that strength in numbers principle popping up again. This was completely new territory for ANSM, and for a number of museums as well, but we definitely learned a lot and can say that so far it's been a success. Over 25,000 votes were cast for favourite artifacts, and we've just found out that our application for funding for the next phase has been approved. So stay tuned for more info, and let's hope the teachers union and province settle their dispute soon so we can get things rolling with the students.

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