Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 2008 Update

Site Visits
The busy pace of site visits slowed this month, but I still got out to 8 museums. It has been very encouraging to see all of the work that people have accomplished over the summer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting and hanging out with everyone. It will take some getting used to being back in the office.

Made in Nova Scotia – Phase III
The Made in NS enrichment team has finished conducting site visits and are now working on researching your selected artifacts. To date, they’ve finished researching 157 records, and have captured thousands of digital images. In order to complete our CHIN deliverables, we must have 450 records enriched (researched & photographed).
As you know, each site was asked to pick out 20 records for enriching, and to date, only 7 sites have come up with 20. While we have until January to have these online, our research assistants will only be on staff until mid-November. They are also currently running out of records, so if you haven’t sent in any records yet, please do so by Monday, October 6th.
Given the investment that CHIN has made in funding this project, it is extremely important that each member site help us to complete our deliverables. We don’t want to risk future partnerships &/or funding opportunities with CHIN. We also need these records online for the upcoming Made in NS Marketing Campaign, and wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on that exciting endeavour.

Artefacts Canada Tally
As I mentioned in the last email that I sent out, I’m keeping track of the number of records online by region. So let’s have a little friendly competition to see which region can have the biggest online profile. Here are the current standings:
Northeast: 11,246
Southwest: 8,501
Cape Breton: 747
Central: 315

If anyone needs help with the uploading process please call the office and ask for Lynn, Jen, Peter or Karin. We’d be happy to help you boost your region’s standing.

Data Cleaning
Lynn has just started to work on data cleaning, which means that we will be increasing the rate of this work. We've now cleaned over 99,500 records from member sites. As a reminder, we are uploading cleaned databases when we are finished with them, so if you need to talk with your board about this, now is the time to do it.

The Importance of Back-ups
I want to remind everyone about the importance of backing up your databases, images, and other important files. Recently, one of our members lost not only their database, but also several years’ worth of important files. This is obviously a huge blow to the museum, both in terms of practicality and morale. While I do take a backup copy of your collections database when I visit, it is your responsibility to back up your system. We obviously don’t want to hear about any other sites having such a terrible thing happen. Therefore, here are a few simply steps to follow to make sure your information stays safe:
Once a week, burn onto cd the Collections, Cemetery, and Volunteer Tracking folder from the C drive. Also include any pertinent documents or other files that are important to the museum or society. This cd should not be left at the museum, but should be taken home with the curator (or equivalent), or kept at some other location away from the museum. If you use a re-writeable cd, it can be used each week and the old backup files simply replaced.
If anyone wants help with this, or has questions about what they should be backing up, feel free to call us at the office.

CCI Workshop Summary
Deborah Stewart and Julie Stevenson of the Canadian Conservation Institute were in Truro on Friday at the Colchester Historical Museum to deliver a workshop on Preservation Management for Seasonal Museums. While there were a number of Passage sites in attendance, Jen has written up the following summary for those couldn’t make it.

Recognize and minimize the agents of deterioration:
1. Light
2. Water
3. Incorrect/fluctuating temperature
4. Use the off season to inspect your buildings and collections; set aside staff time and budget for repairs annually. With buildings, look for structural problems in walls, roofs, and foundations as well as potential entry points for rodents and insects. Indoors, look for signs of pests and mould and ensure the building systems (e.g. security, fire, plumbing, electricity) are operating properly.

Minimize the agents of deterioration over the winter.
1. Remove sensitive artefacts from light and cover or board up windows.
2. Watch for moisture – relocate items that are sensitive to changes in humidity.
3. Consider dehumidifiers or humidistatically controlled heating.
4. Rodents are more problematic in the winter – remove attractants (like food) and store items in pest proof containers.
5. Store objects off the ground, away from exterior walls, and off of top shelves/ cabinets to prevent condensation and water damage.
6. Support objects in storage to reduce strain.
7. Provide contact information for the RCMP/ police/ fire department and let them know that the site is closed.

Create policies, practices, and procedures to establish what tasks need to be done when and by whom.
Contact CCI Client Services at 1-886-998-3721 (toll free)

I have two spare copies of a guidebook that accompanied this workshop if anyone would like one.

CCI Artifact Treatments
CCI is now accepting applications for treatment of artifacts for the April 2009 – March 2010 fiscal year. Canadian museum clients are invited to apply for conservation treatment services for furniture, objects (including industrial, ethnographic, and historical objects), photographic materials, and works of art on paper or paper-based archival documents. Treatment requests must be received before October 15, 2008, using the Conservation and Restoration Treatments Request Form available in the e-Services section of their Web site.
All you have to do is pay for shipping; the treatment is free.