Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 Update

Alexis & Nick
St. Mary's Bay Academy

We finished the last two performances at St. Mary's Bay Academy and Macdonald Museum late this month. What a fantastic tour it has been! Touchstones was an interactive experience that encouraged the audience to ponder questions about confederation and Nova Scotia's role in the development of Canada. Team building activities enhanced the performance and created a fun learning environment for all. Together, we celebrated the last 150 years and the stories of artifacts from museums across the province. The audience learned more about who inhabited the land throughout the years and the impact of things like: politics, industry, manufacturing, transportation, and sport & how each of these factors shaped the province. We want to thank Harry Bruce for his text, "An Illustrated History of Nova Scotia." It provided wonderful context for the narrative.

And, finally, the audience was asked to consider the impact that their own lives have on the cultural framework of Nova Scotia. They are currently shaping the next 150 years! What will the future hold? Follow us on InstagramFacebook, & Twitter for images & video footage of the show!

Thanks to the following museums and schools for hosting the performance:
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum
Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy
Chestico Museum
Pugwash District High School
St. Mary's Bay Academy
Macdonald Museum 

A special thanks to our talented performers Alexis Milligan of Transitus & Nick Bottomley. As well as, Sean Skerry - graphic design, Lara Lewis - acknowledgment consultant, & Aaron Collier - sound design. And support from the 150 Forward Fund. This project would not have happened without your support and contributions.

Do you wish to view the top 150 artifacts that inspired the performance? Click here.


All SME reports have been sent out to sites outlining changes to marine artifacts, agricultural tools, and military insignia - check your inboxes!

There is now  289,471 artifacts documented with 151,745 associated images, which means that 185 new records and 2631 images have been added to CollectiveAccess this month - great work!

Here's what the numbers look like at the regional level:
Southwest -   126736 artifacts, 61406 images     
Central -  100146 artifacts, 42600 images      
Northeast -  33115 artifacts, 33016 images          
Cape Breton -  29474 artifacts, 14723 images

Congratulations to the Northeast region for adding 2061 images this month!

Tip of the Month

Sled (X.229) - Whitney Pier Historical
 Society Museum
Unsure how to photograph large, bulky items? Have you considered borrowing the photo kit? Lighting and backdrops included! Perfect for textiles, furniture, and more. Clear a work space in your museum to document larger items. Closed for the winter? Consider using space in your exhibit room if it offers more space and better lighting. Be creative! Slots for the photo kit are starting to fill up - reach out to me for availability! The photo kit is available for a three week period and must be picked up and dropped off at the ANSM office.

Contributor Galleries 
Exciting news! The myNovaMuse gallery feature is ready for Advisory Service sites on NovaMuse! Please check your emails for usernames and passwords. Want to learn how to create your first gallery of artifacts? - click here.

It's easy! 1) choose a theme for your gallery 2) name your gallery 3) add a description 4) add related items to your gallery

Example topics:
1) are there unknown individuals in photographs in your collection? Group them together in a gallery & ask the public to help identify unfamiliar faces
2) celebrate local manufacturing - group together artifacts from your area that are linked to the Made In Nova Scotia database
3) holiday coming up? Why not create a festive gallery! Check out the NovaMuse 'Tis the Season gallery for inspiration.

Your picks will show in Contributor Galleries under Featured Galleries on NovaMuse. The name of your museum will also be listed. Have fun creating and sharing content! The winter months are a perfect time to build an online presence for your museum. Share the link to the Featured Galleries page once you begin to add content. Use your social media platforms to let your audience know about your work!

We encourage you to leave comments & explore other galleries as well.

Spread the word! Do you have friends that would like to participate? They can register as a general user and create User Galleries.


Museum Management & Governance
The Museum Management and Governance Course was offered on November 2nd-3rd at Scott Manor House. Thanks to our presenters Barbara Richman & Leah Hamilton.

We partnered with CCI for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Cultural Institutions on November 8th-9th at the Nova Scotia Archives. Thanks to our presenters Irene Karsten & Alicia Ghadban.
Emergency & Disaster Preparedness
for Cultural Institutions

In Other News:

The ANSM Office will be closed for the holidays from December 18th-January 2nd.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review - Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place

Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place
By: Dan Shilling

The tourism industry is ever-changing and experts are realizing that there is more to business than just sales. Shilling notes that the "tourism product increasingly is crafted from a region's 'sense of place' - that is the very thing people call home" (17).  I agree with this statement. It is this sense of place that makes a community unique. It can be used to draw crowds when used correctly in tourism planning. Shilling encourages the reader to 1) rethink economics 2) connect to the public and 3) invest in the story (17). It is important to remember that museums play a key role in local tourism. Museums are responsible for educating the public about local history so it is crucial that museum staff communicate with those in charge of local tourism planning to ensure the museum is well-represented.

Shilling talks about place-based tourism and the importance of establishing pride in place:
"The more the people know the story of a place, the more likely they are to take pride in and be stewards of that place. Consequently, fostering a responsible place-based tourism ethic is made more practicable when you create additional opportunities to educate the public, including employees in the hospitality sector, about local history and culture. Innovative tourism training programs are doing just that - partnering with schools and heritage institutions to instill a sense of community pride in front-line staff, the people guests usually meet first. Museums can supplement these efforts by hosting open houses and receptions for travel industry employees, and they can lure in the public by thinking beyond their walls. For instance, to reach new residents museums might sponsor an updated version of Welcome Wagon, that instead of a fruit basket provides a video or book about local history - a way of saying, "Welcome, this is why we care." (45)

Think about what makes you unique and how you can share your stories with not only visitors but also potential partners. Who shares your vision for educating the public about local history and culture in your community? Who can help you reach a larger audience? Who can you connect with? How can you make these connections?  What can you do as an organization to invite the public into your space? 

Shilling talks about developing a sense of belonging by offering an insider's perspective through local tourism efforts. I too believe in the importance of this because it gives visitors the opportunity to invest in the local experience. It allows them to develop an attachment to the stories that are deeply rooted in this sense of place. I think it's important that everyone in the heritage community considers Shilling's "Invest in the Story": Conversation Starters:

Place Making: What institutions in your region focus on the preservation and improvement of cultural, natural, and social ingredients of place? 
Place Finding: If people and organizations in your community talk about "sense of place," are they primarily referring to a built notion, a natural one, or a historic sense of place? Or perhaps a combination? Do the agencies that represent these different characteristics of place have a history of working together? 
Place Funding: Have there been recent attempts in your community to develop a capacity-building and funding scheme to assist museums, Main Street programs, archaeological sites, and other heritage institutions, beyond the usual funding programs? (76).

Although, these questions were directed more towards those who work directly in the tourism sector, I think they are still valid in museums. One of the challenges that many museums face is comparing their organization to larger institutions. Shilling makes a great point about comparing a township to a city and comparing Disney World to a local attraction. There simply should be no comparison. It is important to focus on your town's assets and what the town can offer. It is important that you do not get overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Think about partnering with other organizations who share the same vision, who too are striving to create a cultural destination. It should be "encouraged to mature organically, that is humbly, in a manner appropriate to and consistent with a region's heritage, and ecologically, that is, reciprocally, in true partnership with other community players, the hospitality industry has the potential to transform towns" (22).

Now, do some digging. Is there already a history of tourism development in your town? Who are the stakeholders? Are there road blocks in the way? How are ideas communicated? When are meetings held? How can your museum be more involved in this discussion?

And finally, consider the cultural landscape of your community. Think about how cultural heritage, historic preservation, and nature overlap (105). Where does your museum fit into all of this? How can individuals and organizations from each area work together to create a stronger sense of place in your community?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October 2017 Update

Touchstones Update 

Preparing for the Touchstones performance has kept us busy this month! We have been working alongside our friends at Transitus on this project. The performance was created and designed by Nick Bottomley and Alexis Milligan, sound design by Aaron Collier, and graphics by Sean Skerry. Please follow us on social media for project updates: NovaMuse - Facebook / NovaMuse - Twitter / ANSM - Facebook
Exciting news! NovaMuse is now on Instagram and SnapChat. Follow us to get a glimpse of the performance as the tour continues!

Alexis & Nick at Touchstones performance

Yesterday, the 1st performance took place at Cole Harbour Heritage Farm! We are excited to continue to bring the performance to museums and high schools across the province throughout the month of November. The high schools we will visit include: St. Mary's Bay Academy, Pugwash District High School, and Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy.


Have you explored the new NovaMuse yet? Click here to view artifacts from our partnering museums across Nova Scotia. The website features more streamlined search options and exciting new features!

Did you know that we now have a 'For Teachers' Section on NovaMuse? Check out this resource and incorporate ideas into your own lesson plans!


We have been busy enriching agricultural tool records and military insignia records in CollectiveAccess this month. All agriculture enrichment reports and military enrichment reports have been sent out to the museums - check your email! We will continue to plug away at enriching marine artifact records - reports to follow.

There is now 289,286 artifacts documented with 149,114 associated images, which means that 217 new records and 1113 images have been added to CollectiveAccess this month - great work!

Here's what the numbers look like at the regional level:
Southwest -  126620 artifacts, 61110 images
Central -  100102 artifacts, 42362 images
Northeast -  33093 artifacts, 30955 images
Cape Breton -  29471 artifacts, 14687 images

The Northeast region took the lead with the highest number of images added this month - 629. Good job!

Tip of the Month

While working with our SMEs, we uncovered a number of artifacts that only had one image in CollectiveAccess. More often than not, items have marks and labels. Remember, these marks and labels often uncover manufacturer names, model numbers, dates, and more. This information will help you enrich your records. Remind staff and volunteers to look at the artifact from every angle so that this information is not missed. Remember to photograph these details and also transcribe it in the 'Marks and Labels' field in CollectiveAccess.
178 - Antigonish Heritage Museum

This practice should be applied to every artifact in your collection. For instance, this stereoscope has specific information about the patent date and location engraved in the wood. This would have been missed if the item was not turned over during the digitization process.

Planning for the Future

The Fall/Winter months is a great time to evaluate where you stand with collections management and forming partnerships in your community. Why not partner with a SME this Fall? Have you visited our Resources section on the ANSM website? Lots of great resources available to help you along:

-Working with Subject Matter Experts
-Working with Military Museum Collections Tip Sheet
-Managing Your NovaMuse Presence
-Collections Seasonal Work Calendar

NovaMuse Pinterest
In other news:
-Orientation sessions for next year's evaluations have started this month as we prepare for next year's cycle
-the Southwest Curator Meeting took place on Friday, October 20th
-NovaMuse can also be found on Pinterest! Check out our Halloween page for costume ideas for next year.