Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 2017 Update

New Arrival 

August has been an eventful month for us at the office. We welcomed a new addition to the ANSM family on August 16th - Alyson Jane Fletcher. Congratulations to both Karin and Ryan on their bundle of joy!

While Karin is away on maternity leave, I will be answering your Advisory Service questions and Cathy Blackbourn will be available to help with the Evaluation Program.

Site Visits 
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Colchester Historeum

The summer has flown by! It's hard to believe that we have wrapped up the annual site visits for another year. During this time, I met with 145 staff and volunteers from approximately 50 of our partnering museums. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busiest months to meet with me. We decided to try something new this year and offer group digitization training sessions at six of our partnering museums: Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, Yarmouth County Museum, Whitney Pier Historical Society Museum, Colchester Historeum, Chestico Museum, and Kings County Museum. These sessions were a fantastic opportunity for networking and collaborative learning. Participants had a ball helping each other capture the "perfect" shot of their artifact of choice. Many of them used the handheld scanner for the first time - a nifty tool for digitizing! Keep an eye on the NovaMuse Facebook and Twitter page where we will continue to share images from the sessions. We digitized roughly 400 artifacts and captured 1200 images. A special thanks to everyone who filled out the Advisory Service survey, we appreciate the feedback and are currently in the process of compiling the results!

DesBrisay Museum
Randall House Museum
I was very happy to see a great number of temporary displays for Canada 150 while traveling. Temporary displays highlight items that may otherwise remain tucked away in storage. The public enjoys seeing new content. It shows that your museum is actively working on your collections and is excited to share the story behind different artifacts.


One of our goals this summer was to increase the number of entities in the manufacturer database. Thanks to everyone who provided resources while I was on the road. There are now over 8000 entities for you to choose from in the 'Made In Nova Scotia' field. Exciting stuff! This number will continue to climb as I work through the resources I collected from you. Thanks for sharing! Found more information? Not a problem! I am still accepting resources by email.

A few friendly reminders - It is important that everyone is using their own account in CollectiveAccess. There are different access levels depending on your position at the museum. For instance, you can delete records in curator level accounts. Students and volunteers should never have access to this function. You have the ability to track changes to records on your Dashboard, under 'recently created' and 'recent changes.' This allows you to identify problems in your database, such as "dirty data" that needs to be cleaned up and who has been entering it. You can then let your staff know about the error and how to proceed with data entry going forward. If you require new accounts, please email me directly. Also, please wear gloves when handling artifacts. It is important to protect your artifacts during digitization. Tuck them in your back pocket for safe keeping!

In positive news, there was a steady increase in entries this month. Thanks for plugging away at your records behind the scenes. I have also been busy editing photographs from the sessions, more will be uploaded shortly. With your help, 687 new records and 2473 new images were entered this month, which means we now collectively have 288620 artifacts documented with 146284 associated images. These are fantastic numbers. Well done!

Here's what the numbers look like at the regional level:
Southwest - 126325 artifacts, 60618 images
Central - 99835 artifacts, 41693 images
Northeast - 33004 artifacts, 29588 images
Cape Breton - 29456 artifacts, 14385 images

Image of the Month: This beautiful embroidered bag that we photographed during the digitization session at Colchester Historeum has lots of fine detail. When the bag is not positioned fully upright those details are lost. We found a bit more stuffing to fill out the bag and propped it up with rolled cotton batting. This made the world of difference. It created enough support so that the object could rest in an upright position, which means no white gloves in the shot! It is important that the cotton batting is not visible. If it peaks out from the inside of the bag or from behind, it's the first thing you see. Please also capture a close-up shot of the embroidery, the scale is not needed for this. 

SME Work and NovaMuse Redesign

In other news, Kassandra has finished her internship with us. She did a fantastic job working on a variety of different projects. She led the way with the Subject Matter Expert work this summer. We were ambitious and worked with four individuals to enrich museum records. Thanks to Gary, Terry, David, and Marven for all of their hard work.If your records have been enriched, you will receive a full report shortly. Kassandra also worked closely with our friends at Whirl-i-gig on the NovaMuse redesign project. Thanks to everyone who filled out the Contributor Survey and User Survey. We took your comments into consideration when redesigning the website. Stay tuned for a launch date!

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Kassandra, Marven and David 
A common problem we hear about quite often is that there is just not enough time or resources needed to stay on top of collections management. Good news! Kassandra has created new resources that will help you plan ahead and tackle collections management head on. These resources are now available under Collections & Access Resources on the ANSM website.
  • Working with Subject Matter Experts Tip Sheet
  • Working with Military Museum Collections Tip Sheet
  • Collections Seasonal Work Calendar
  • Managing your NovaMuse Presence
You can also find the Distaster Plan for the Public here. We want to thank Kassandra for her contributions this summer and we wish her all the best!

Touchstones Update

Have you seen the Touchstones virtual exhibit? We invite you to view the artifacts and read the students comments. Please share the results with your summer staff before they depart. We look forward to visiting the schools and museums set to host the presentation piece this fall. We will visit the Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum, Chestico Museum, Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum, and Queens County Museum. Schedule to be released soon!

NovaMuse Birthday Bash!

On September 13th, NovaMuse will celebrate its 5th birthday! We have a fun contest planned for our Facebook audience so please watch the space. Are you an Advisory Service member? Please check your email for a sneak peek. 

That is all for now. Keep up the great work! I highly recommend utilizing the Collections Seasonal Work Calendar as you transition from the summer to fall months in your museums.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A note from Kassandra!

Wow this summer has flown by! It seems like just yesterday we were eating my welcome cake. I am so grateful to have had a wonderful summer at ANSM, and sad that it has come to a close. From the very first day I felt like a part of the team, and it has been such a pleasure learning from and working with this wonderful group of ladies. I also appreciate having had the chance to meet and correspond with so many fellow museum folk from across this province, be it through committee meetings, site visits, or SME work. Thank you to everyone who made my Nova Scotian experience so wonderful. 

Of course my biggest project was helping redesign NovaMuse. It is truly a privilege to help make the requests and visions of visitors and contributors alike a reality. While I was able to work behind the scenes collecting survey results and liaising with our web developers, I cannot stress enough how much this website belongs to everyone. The content comes from across the province, and is enjoyed by people across Canada and beyond. This is our history, and I hope I played a small part in allowing the stories to shine through. Keep an eye out for the NovaMuse relaunch (you cannot get rid of me quite yet)! 

-Kassandra, ANSM Intern

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's here! The Touchstones Virtual Exhibit has Launched

Top 150 Artifacts
The #150Touchstones virtual exhibit has launched on NovaMuse! Canadian History 11 students across the province curated 150 artifacts in celebration of 150 years of confederation. We are happy to report that the 150 featured artifacts are from museums across Nova Scotia.

It has been a wonderful experience celebrating #Canada150 with students who are passionate about local history and culture. ANSM looks forward to continuing this partnership as we explore future Touchstones initiatives.

The students took great interest in artifacts tied to public service, industry, transportation, sport, and everyday life. We are happy to report that items produced by Nova Scotian manufacturers also made the top 150! For instance, this stove made by the Brule Foundry was chosen.

Brule Foundry Stove - ST.2009.341.01A-J

"This cookstove is dated between 1860-1911. This black cast iron stove would have been in a family home. This stove was a wood heated stove. The use of this stove would be difficult because it would be hard to maintain the temperature. This shows how times have changed and the technology advancements. This stove would have been the main source of cooking at this time."

Learn more about this item here.

Anti-confederation banner - 488.5; 73.26

The students were also interested in items from the 1860s, such as the popular Anti-confederation banner from phase one. It was great to see students feature items chosen by the public. For instance, the top 10 artifacts from phase one have made the top 150. We are happy to report that students were also adventurous, exploring the depths of NovaMuse to highlight new items.

We invite you to view the 150 artifacts by clicking here!

Looking ahead! We are currently working with Alexis Milligan and Nick Bottomley to create a fantastic interactive performance piece that will showcase the top 150 artifacts from phase two. 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 piece. We held a lottery for the museum hosts and the results are in! The four museums are: Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum, Chestico Museum, Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum, and Queens County Museum. Stay tuned for more information.