Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014 Update

Well, apparently Shubenacadie Sam was wrong on Groundhog Day because the snow continues. As does the cold season. Team ANSM is officially down for the count. As I write this I'm drinking my medicine and snuggled up in fleece. Spring's coming soon right? RIGHT?!

ANSM Workshops
Speaking of spring, we are really excited about how quickly our workshops have been filling up. We definitely feel the love and look forward to making some new friends. Both the CCI storage reorganization & my Museums 101 workshops are full with waiting lists. Next up will be Museum Management & Governance. This one is geared more towards the business side of operating a museum and includes very important info such as the responsibilities of board members. If you manage a museum, you should go to this. If you have new board members, they should go to this. If you've been working in the field for awhile but neither you nor your board members have ever taken this kind of training, you should go to this. Registration will be opening very soon, so for now, save the dates of May 22-23rd for a trip to Bridgewater.

We've had a few interesting meetings this month. My counterpart at the the Council of Nova Scotia Archives, the lovely Jamie, and I have instituted a monthly working lunch date. We share so many members and have such similar jobs that we figure we should probably hang out and talk more.
We also had a few meetings with people and groups to talk about our work with the manufacturers database. At this stage of the game, those talks are really about keeping the lines of communication open and figuring out potential partnership opportunities. So we met with the Industrial Heritage Society of Nova Scotia, a registrar who conducted a lot of research in the 1990s, and two curators who know a lot about shipbuilding in the province. At every turn we're reminded that this is a massive ongoing project, but in true ANSM fashion we just keep chipping away at it.

New Resources
Unfortunately since I'm home sick today I wasn't able to add our latest resource to our website. But I promise it will be up next week. We have finally finished the Loan Reconciliation Package. This is a guide to reviewing those old loans kicking around in the collection, and walks you through approaching the lenders (or their estate) and addressing these items. As I've mentioned in the past, we have far too many long-term loans in our museums and the longer we ignore the issue, the worse it becomes.
The other resource we have up is a lot more fun. It started as a joke in our office since we are known for our cake days and always ensuring there is cake at our committee meetings. So we starting talking about criteria for cake days and tracking which cakes were our favourites. As you can imagine, this evolved into a great team and morale-building exercise, the development of a cake policy.

vintage valentines
NovaMuse Statistics & Social Media
I mentioned last month that we have expanded our social media horizons and are now on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Well, I'm really pleased to say that these efforts are already paying off. We've seen a 47% increase in traffic to the site which has included a number of comments that have helped us learn more about our collections. This is exciting! So to all you museums online, share links! Spread the word! Rather than uploading images to Facebook (which gives Facebook the rights to said images), share a link and tell your crowd that when they leave comments on this new info may become part of the artifact's permanent record. Encourage people to explore the site, looking for family connections and fun stuff.

Fleming College Assignment
So the Fleming students are working away at reviewing 350 records. We've set up a Facebook group where they can ask questions and let me tell you, these guys are thorough. They are spending between 15 minutes to an hour looking at just one record, and that doesn't include any research time.

Collections Database Info
We tackled two pretty big databases this month. Truth be told we are still wrapping up georeferencing in the second one, but since we're almost done I'm going to include it in this month's count. We went through 28,502 records in total, even more impressive than January, and around 20,000 more than our goal. Yes we are overachievers.
As for the artifacts tally, we saw another 189 artifacts and 387 images added to the databases this month. This gives us new total of 197,391 artifacts and 82,979 images in the system. Is anyone else excited that we're inching towards the 200k mark?

Here's the regional tally:
Southwest - 101,693 artifacts, 37,060 images
Central - 39,947 artifacts, 17,291 images
Northeast - 29,560 artifacts, 19,173 images
Cape Breton - 26,191 artifacts, 9,455 images

Congrats again to the Central Region for adding the most records and to the Southwest Region for adding the most images this month!

Manufacturers' Database
As we review database records we're also continuing work on our industries database system. We've now linked over 200 artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers to more than 2000 artifact records. We're putting the finishing touches on the update required for these to appear on NovaMuse, which means that by next month's update this info will finally be live. It's been a long time coming.

All for now. Have a great weekend everyone, and avoid this nasty cold bug!