Monday, September 30, 2019

September 2019 Update

Museum Evaluation Program
Reports were mailed out on September 6th. It felt great to meet this deadline, and huge thanks go to the evaluation team leaders who did reviewing and proofreading for us before reports went in the mail. If you haven't already, please let me know that you received your report.

As soon as I write this blog post and answer a few more emails, I'll be circulating the announcement about 2020 evaluations. If your museum is scheduled for an evaluation next year, watch your inbox. The announcement will include orientation session dates and registration information.

We had hoped to launch Accreditation at our annual conference, but it was decided that the MEP Working Group needed to review and talk through a few more things before we launched. They have two meetings scheduled for the coming weeks, so stay tuned because information about Accreditation is coming really, really soon. The MEPWG will also be finalizing adjustments to the evaluation forms, so again, stay tuned and we'll let you know when that info is available on our website.

To wrap up 2019 evaluations, this Friday is the deadline to submit questions or comments about evaluation reports. After that we set the scores in stone and work on the statistical analysis for the big overarching report. If you were evaluated this year, don't forget to complete the post-evaluation survey. The feedback we get is very valuable in improving the program and process.

CollectiveAccess Updates
Tomorrow is Sandi's final site visit of the season, and it's been another great one for digitization and hub training. It's also easy to tell by this month's numbers that the cavalry (aka summer staff) have dispersed. Over the past month, 624 new records and 2,144 new images were added to the databases. This gives us grand totals of 306,586 records and 210,186 images.
Regionally, here's the breakdown:
Southwest - 136,701 artifacts, 80,169 images
Central - 102,460 artifacts, 60,527 images
Northeast - 36,351 artifacts, 52,598 images
Cape Breton - 31,074 artifacts, 16,892 images

Don't forget to set your records and images to be accessible to the public so people can see them on NovaMuse. We've got a big gap between the number of records in the collections and what is actually being shared.

It's been a long time since we've done an image of the month lesson, so let's get back to that shall we? Here we have an interesting print of a child with some dogs. The child appears to be dressed for a hunt, and the dogs are eager for the chase. Lots of interpretive potential. Unfortunately, the photograph doesn't do the artifact justice. First and foremost, artifacts should not be directly on the floor, even if it's just for photographing purposes. The wide 'leftover' space on the right and left are very distracting, with different colours, a door frame, tiled floor, and moulding all distracting us from the artwork we are supposed to be focusing on. The camera should have been oriented vertically instead of horizontally so more of the item was captured, and the print should have been photographed head on instead of at an angle. Fabric or other light blockers should have been used to avoid glare and reflections in the glass of the frame, giving us a better view of the print's details. The scale is also directly against the frame, obscuring some of those details. As we've seen in the past, this is an instance where taking a few extra minutes to do a proper set up would have resulted in a much better image that we would be proud to show off to the world.

SME Updates
Sandi has had fun working with SMEs this summer, and now Ayla is stepping into this job for the fall. Right now she is busy reviewing maps in museum collections and will be reviewing these with a new SME friend over the next couple of months. This is a new area for us to investigate, and we're excited to learn more about the maps in museum collections and see how we can improve their documentation. If Ayla and David are able to tell you more about a map in your collection, she will be in touch.
If you have items in your collection you'd like to learn more about, please contact Sandi or Karin. We would like to come up with a prioritized list of SME needs, so knowing what you're interested in learning about would be very helpful.

Multimedia Survey
Ayla's big internship project is to assess and develop a plan for dealing with multimedia in museum collections. This could be old vhs tapes of home movies, audiocassettes of oral histories, and much more. If you haven't yet completed her survey, please do so. We want this plan to capture all the kinds of media in collections and help us prioritize future special initiatives, and we can't do that without your input. It will take a bit of work if you need to check what's on shelves or in boxes, but we think it will be worth the effort. Links to the survey were sent out in early September and again last Friday, so check your inbox for those messages. If you can't find the link and need it to be resent, contact Sandi, Karin or Ayla.

Old Loans
The loan reconciliation toolkit has been updated, and is now being reviewed before it is released. There is a lot of good legal information in it, and it takes a very practice, step-by-step approach to addressing old loans in collections. No matter your size or shape, the steps are the same and we hope you will find it helpful. We will announce when it gets posted to our website. Lender lists continue to be developed. If you haven't yet requested yours, contact Sandi or Karin.

ANSM Annual Conference
In case you missed it, we spent a couple days in Sherbrooke Village recently. While it was a little chilly, it was nice to be in such a beautiful part of the province and enjoy talking and learning about visitor experiences and fundamental museum practices. People are still sending in photos of their conference experience, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for a photo album to appear shortly. In the meantime, here's a photo I took during one of my experiences - the art of the travel journal was a session that looked at how to get people to slow down, put down their phones, and enjoy making some art in a beautiful location. The lemonade and cookies didn't hurt either. This was one of four sessions that used a hands on experience to get people thinking about what simple experiences they can create for their own museum.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Introducing Ms. McKay

Hello! My name is Ayla, and I will be interning with the Association of Nova Scotia Museums for the next fifteen weeks as my final requirement to graduate from Fleming College's Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management (CHCM) program. I am looking forward to the work I will be doing here.

Originally from Saskatchewan, I have called Halifax my home for the last twelve years. I graduated from Dalhousie University in 2012 with a B.A.(Hon.) in Social Anthropology, and spent the next six years exploring my options before I discovered the Conservation program at Fleming. After spending two years at NSCC completing a diploma in print production and four years working in a variety of environments, I hope to bring the best of my varied experience forward into my work.

I am very pleased to be back in Halifax for my internship, as I've grown to love it and its rich history and heritage in the time that I've lived here. I am excited for the growth and learning opportunities that this internship will provide to me, and will strive to offer the best of my abilities in return!