Thank you to everyone who has sent in their membership renewal already. We will be sending our reminder notices before too long, but would love it if everyone could help us save some email time and postage. So if you haven't yet renewed your membership, please do so asap. If you want to avoid the paperwork, you can easily & quickly renew online.
Museum Evaluation Program
|Team 2 at Highland Village|
Last month I shared that we were wrapping up the briefing notes, and this month I can say that we are hip-deep in writing reports - 26 are in process! We are in good shape to have these reports out to the museums before the end of the summer. After that we switch gears and start working on the big final report, where we analyze the scores, run statistics, and identify trends and common issues. I've already got 2 pages of notes to incorporate into this report, so I think we will again have a lot to say about this year's evaluations.
If you want to learn more about the Museum Evaluation Program, or want to read last year's report, check out our website.
From Sandi's desk:
I can't believe we are now entering the month of August. I have been busy on the road this summer,
|Digitization training in Whitney Pier|
To sum up what I've been saying for the past few months - train your students, monitor progress, use the help text and YouTube tutorials, and call us or email when you need help! We are here for you! I was very disappointed today to run the monthly numbers and see some really dirty data going into some of the systems. Remember that these are your permanent records and your public face - enter it cleanly from the start and you can do amazing things, but enter a bunch of dirty data and you'll have headaches for a long time to come.
Now let's focus on the positive. We're seeing really great progress in digitization, especially from people who participated in the hub training sessions. Lots of fantastic images are going into the databases. By lots, I mean that 4,260 new images were uploaded this month, along with 677 new records. Those are huge numbers! Overall, we have 287,933 artifacts documented with 143,811 associated images. Wow.
Southwest - 125,766 artifacts, 59,417 images
Central - 99,725 artifacts, 41,445 images
Northeast - 32,998 artifacts, 28,865 images
Cape Breton - 29,444 artifacts, 14,084 images
The second image was taken by Sandi during a site visit, and is one of several of this same object. She took a primary image with the scale, and then did a few secondary
I know we love to see the big numbers and feel like we're making lots of progress in our digitization work, but I think these two images say it all - we've got to take the time to get really good photographs or we're just wasting our time and making ourselves look bad.
Advisory Service Training Survey
We will be closing the survey on August 7th, and the analysis of the results will provide the framework for redeveloping Advisory Service delivery. From site visits to partnerships to online resources, everything is up for discussion. If you haven't weighed in yet, now is the time. Let us know what is important to you, what we can improve (and how), and we will swing into action to make the Advisory Service better than ever.
The redesign is powering along. We have greatly improved search functionality and how artifact records display, and are now working on some of the background text. In very exciting news, we are also working on a new section for teachers, which will include sample lesson plans and resources so they can easily use NovaMuse in the classroom. Huge thanks to our friends at Whirl-i-gig for all their hard work, and for reading through so many long emails with lists of questions and ideas. You will notice that we have updated our Facebook and Twitter accounts with new background banners, a sort of sneak peek to the redesign that we hope will pique your interest. And here's another sneak peek :)
Made in Nova Scotia
As you can tell, we're a bit swamped right now, so we're taking a break from working on enhancements to the Made in NS database. Sandi is still stockpiling resources though, so if she has yet to visit you, please be ready to share your local info with us. We want to make sure each community's creative and industrial heritage is represented in the database and on NovaMuse. The other side of this that we haven't mentioned lately is linking artifacts to these profiles. Kassandra made some gigantic headway in this respect. She linked 524 artifacts to their creators' profiles! Wow! So remember that when you are cataloguing something made locally, use the Made in Nova Scotia field to link the object to its creator.
SME WorkKassandra has been working with two subject matter experts - Gary and Terry - to review military and agricultural objects, and this Wednesday she'll be meeting with a couple marine experts to talk all things water transportation & accessories. So far 130 artifact records have been reviewed & improved!
Someone asked us via the training survey why they can't pick out objects to include in this work, so here's a quick overview of the process. When a subject matter expert (who we affectionately call a SME (pronounced smee like the character in Peter Pan) agrees to work with us, we talk to them about their area of expertise and what kinds of items they would like to review. They are volunteering their time and knowledge and we want them to enjoy the process. Sometimes they want to look at things in a really broad way (like agriculture) and other times they want to focus really tightly (like military badges). Once we have the subject matter set, we run a search in the back-end of NovaMuse and create a spreadsheet of all applicable items, from all the museums. Then we go through the spreadsheet with the SME, discussing as many of the items as possible. Sometimes we hit the jackpot and they have lots to say about an object, and other times they can't say anything about an object. So you'll see why museums submitting specific objects for review just isn't feasible. There are no guarantees in this work. Having said that, the more you digitize (high-quality, multiple images), the higher the likelihood that a SME can tell you more about an artifact.
Exciting things are happening! We are putting the final touches on the Touchstones virtual exhibit and it is looking great. The Canadian History 11 students have done a fantasic job selecting artifacts to showcase Nova Scotia's rich history throughout the years. It has been an honour celebrating 150 years of confederation with such an enthusiastic bunch. Stay tuned for the official launch date. An announcement will take place on both Facebook and Twitter.
We are also busy planning for phase three. We are working with Alexis Milligan and Nick Bottomley to create an interactive performance piece that will showcase the top 150 artifacts selected. Harry Bruce's Illustrated History of Nova Scotia will inform the narrative and the artifacts will be digitally represented in a fun and creative way. In the Fall, we will visit four museums and three high schools to share the Touchstones performance. We held a lottery for the museum hosts and the results are in: Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum, Chestico Museum, Cole Harbour Heritage Farm, and Queens County Museum have won the spots! Stay tuned for more information.