Tuesday, August 2, 2022

July 2022 Update

 TRACK Updates

A few more museums registered for TRACK this month which means we're approaching the 100 mark! If your museum hasn't yet registered, there's no time like the present. Upcoming offerings include an EDI webinar on August 17th, accessibility webinar on September 14th, and a more in depth EDI workshop on September 28th. 

The final draft of the assessment document is almost ready for release. Feedback has continued to come in from friends and colleagues and we look forward to testing it out with our pilot museums. 
Visit our website to learn more about TRACK.

Unlocking Museum Collections 

It's hard to believe how much has happened since the June update. We delivered our orientation session for museums and have held four community sessions. We won't lie; some of these have included some difficult conversations. But this is all part of relationship building and recognizing the legacy of museums and history in general. We are learning so much. 

We have pages and pages of notes and completed survey forms, and are seeing some consensus in the ideas and feedback. and we're only halfway through the consultations. This week we will be in Millbrook and Cherry Brook, and then we'll have a little break before heading to Antigonish on August 22nd.

Thank you to all of the museums that have been coming out to these sessions. Your presence is noticed and appreciated by the community. If you are a member of ANSM's Advisory Service and haven't yet registered for a session, visit our website to find one nearby.

CollectiveAccess Updates

Rather than focus on how much progress has been made since last month, I wanted to talk about something a bit different in this update. The Unlocking Collections work has revealed a number of things that are important for us all to be aware of and keep in mind during our work:

1. Collections work is never done. Even though the Advisory Service has been around for 20 years now (!!!), we have much to learn, and much to improve. Whether it's catching up on a backlog of data entry, researching items in the collection, digitizing, or doing an inventory, every museum has work to do. And that's okay. As we eat the elephant one bite at a time, we are making very steady improvements.

2. We have to do better at training & monitoring the work of staff and volunteers. While steady improvements are being made, we are also seeing a lot of situations where a student or volunteer has been "handed the keys" to the database, given very basic instructions, and then left alone. The problem with this is that without proper training or monitoring, they end up making a lot of extra work for the museum. This means not being able to find items easily, items being misidentified, and poor quality records being entered into the museum's permanent and public record. No one wants this. So let's give our people the support and confidence they need to give the museum's collection a big boost. 

3. We have to do better at sharing where/how community members can access collections information. As we've worked with partners to host these community conversations, we've met people who don't know about NovaMuse, Artefacts Canada, or other websites that host museum collections. What a missed opportunity! Since we hold these collections in public trust, we need to make sure people are aware of these websites. 

4. We need to work with our entire communities to preserve our shared history. This means not just the physical objects, but also the songs, stories, customs, traditions, and so much more. Imagine how powerful your museum's collection and interpretation would be with this kind of richness. 

Educational Partnerships

Our intrepid interns continue to work through a variety of tasks with us. It's hard to believe how quickly their placements are passing. Similarly, the SMU course will soon be drawing to a close as those students wrap up their research projects and job shadows. We always love the enthusiasm and perspectives that students bring to the table. 

Interpretation Canada Conference

Have you heard that a national conference is coming our way? October 3-7 will be a time to talk all things interpretation with colleagues from across the country. We recognize that it isn't every day this happens, so we are very pleased to be offering a few bursaries to help offset the cost of registration. Visit our website to learn more about this conference.