Friday, April 29, 2016

April 2016 Update

Evaluation Program
Things are getting exciting, if not frantic. May 6th is the firm deadline to submit Pre-evaluation Review documents and information. As I write this there have already been 13 museums submit their info - a combination of entirely volunteer and staffed sites, seasonal and year-round museums, the smallest to the biggest operations. It's really encouraging to see the work that has been put into the evaluation by everyone.
I am keeping my cell phone handy at all times, am checking email in evenings and on weekends, and am doing my utmost to help everyone as we get down to crunch time.

In site evaluation news, I released the schedule last week along with the evaluation teams so there will be no surprises. Evaluators are looking forward to their touring of all the museums, and we're about to turn into travel agency mode as we make all the arrangements for them. July is going to be a very, very busy month.

Meetings & CMA Conference
Given how busy we are at ANSM right now; just wrapped up CMA conference activities, on the cusp of launching our new website, and helping people with evaluation preparations; Anita and I tag-teamed on this month's regional meetings. I went to the Central one and she went to the Southwest one. Both meetings had good discussion and great ideas shared. If you don't currently connect with your peers at the regional level, it's really beneficial. If you aren't sure how to connect just be in touch and I can help you out.
There is one more regional meeting, scheduled the same day as the pre-evaluation deadline so I won't be able to go. May 6th at 10am, the Cape Breton Heritage Connection meeting is at Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.

Honouring Jim St. Clair
The CMA came to town for a week of conferencing and touring around the province. It was great to see so many of our colleagues from the other provincial & territorial associations and museums. A lot happened in one week, but some highlights for me were when Jim St. Clair was awarded the Museum Volunteer Award (our President Rodney Chiasson accepted it on his behalf), taking a break from keynote addresses to do a little dancing, and of course geeking out with a bunch of people about databases and what we're doing with CollectiveAccess and NovaMuse.

Collections Database Info
I mentioned last month that we were nearing the time to update to the latest version of CollectiveAccess. Well, unless something weird happens, we're doing it this weekend. I've been looking forward to this for a while now, as it means we get a few bug fixes and new features. As with any tech update, please be patient with us in the event of any disruptions in service or kinks that need to be ironed out.

Database activity continues to be steady; as I've been saying there's a lot of clean-up work being done that is extremely beneficial. Another 396 records and 968 images were added, giving us totals of 222,943 artifacts and 109,049 images.

Here's the regional breakdown:
Southwest - 120,729 artifacts, 49,891 images
Central - 42,847 artifacts, 26,523 images
Northeast - 31,052 artifacts, 21,804 images
Cape Breton - 28,315 artifacts, 10,831 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most records this month and to the Central region for adding the most images! Well done!

Letter of Introduction, dated 1881
For your image lesson of the month, I want to talk about letters. "Oh no, not 2-d scanning again" I can hear you saying. Yes, again. But in a different way, I promise. I've noticed that some museums only scan the first page of a letter rather than the whole thing. So this month I'm asking you to please scan the whole thing. We've been investigating ways to make NovaMuse interactive and one of the projects we're looking at would enable people to transcribe documents for us online. Cool right? Except that we can only do this if we have the entire document scanned. So please make sure you're getting front and back, and every single page when you're scanning letters.

Odds and Ends
The Fleming College project is now officially completed for another year. I've shared reports with the 10 museums that participated and have to say that when I read through them, I was amazed by some of the details the students dug up during their research. We've got 270 records that are in much better shape now than in January. We're really thrilled with the work of the students, and so are the museums. Here are a couple comments I got back from about the reports:
"This report is so helpful!! I can't wait to share it with the board. The recommendations will help us so much as we continue this project. I am so pleased that we were given this opportunity."
"I was especially interested in the amount of historical research that was undertaken to amplify a clear understanding of the subject matter. Kudos to the students and their well-honed research skills!"

Our next step with Fleming is to welcome an intern for the summer. We're lining up some nifty work for her so stay tuned for details.

Also don't forget about our Annual General Meeting coming up on May 20th. We're not having our own conference this year since CMA came to town, so will instead have a one-day Museums & Security Symposium paired with our AGM. It's going to a really interesting day filled with lots of great info. Hope to see you there!

All from me for now. Time to get back to evaluation work.