Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 2019 Update

There is a lot on the go right now. Between the Advisory Service, Museum Evaluation Program, Strategic Plan initiatives, MAP funding deliverables, and "other fun", it's never a dull moment at the ANSM office. If you want to hear about our latest dreams and schemes, be sure to attend a regional meeting. In the meantime, here are the highlights of this month's work.

Museum Evaluation Program
This was a very busy month for the MEP. On October 1st and 8th we had meetings with the Working Group, which mostly consisted of finalizing Accreditation details and reviewing questions for 2020. I've been spending a lot of time updating forms and resources for the coming year, which will hopefully all be ready by next week's orientation sessions. As documents are approved, they are being added to our website. If you are scheduled for evaluation in 2020 and haven't yet registered for an orientation session, click here.

On October 29th we announced Accreditation, and you can now read all about it on our website as well. Accreditation ties into your evaluation year, and the first deadline to apply is December 20th.

Regional Meetings
I hit the road last week for the Southwest Curator's Group meeting in Digby. It was hands-down the most entertaining regional meeting I've ever attended. The amount of laughter was amazing. If you don't participate in these, you should. So much information is shared - ideas, successes, struggles, frustrations. It's professional development and therapy rolled into one. Next month there will be meetings in the Northeast and Cape Breton, so if you are in those regions and haven't yet connected with your regional group, we can help you connect.

CollectiveAccess Updates
Sandi has been editing images from site visits this year and there are some fantastic shots! Thanks to everyone who helped with digitization efforts. The new images are gradually being added to NovaMuse. Keep an eye on the recently added section on the homepage. You may even spot an item you helped capture during hub training

Over the past month, 488 new records and 2,776 new images were added to the databases. This gives us grand totals of 307, 074 records and 212, 962 images. 

Regionally, here's the breakdown:
Southwest - 136, 757 artifacts, 81, 976 images
Central - 102, 744 artifacts, 61, 304 images
Northeast - 36, 458 artifacts, 52, 729 images
Cape Breton - 31, 115 artifacts, 16, 953 images

For the image of the month, we bring you a spooktacular postcard. If there is information written on the back of a postcard, don't forget to scan the back as well. This is a great example demonstrating that two-dimensional items need to be scanned (or photographed straight on if in poorer condition). The border at the top of the postcard is cut off slightly and could be improved if adjusted. Take the extra time to make sure your 2-dimensional items are positioned well in the scanner. Most scanners have a preview function that makes this assessment really easy.

We are working diligently to have the transcription tool test site ready soon. A few of our Advisory Service sites have volunteered to test out this new feature. It's a great time to have a closer look at your collection and think about what material you'd like transcribed. Once ready, you can invite staff and volunteers to explore your records. Why not give them a head start? In the meantime, we encourage you to explore two online transcription tools that we are drawing inspiration from offered by the Nova Scotia Archives and the Royal BC Museum. Stay tuned for more updates!

New Resources Online
Anita, Ayla and Karin locked themselves in a room and talked through various templates and resources. Some were older ones that have been on our website but needed to be updated, and others were brand new. Here's an overview of what got added/updated, and the links:
New section on Governance that includes a board profile worksheet, checklist of material for potential board members, and prospective board member referral form.  
Collections - updated incoming and outgoing loan agreement forms and temporary receipt.
Management - updated volunteer policy.

We are still working on several other new/updated templates, so stay tuned for more announcements like this. If you have a need for a template, let us know and we'll add it to our to do list.

NS Social Studies Teachers Conference
Sandi and Ayla attended the annual provincial conference "Cultural Connections" hosted by the Social Studies Teachers Association of Nova Scotia on Friday, Oct. 25th at Saint Mary's University. It was exciting to have the opportunity to meet 300+ educators from across the province and share information about NovaMuse. We asked teachers what they look for when exploring online educational resources and came back with a lot of helpful feedback. Thanks to everyone who dropped by our booth!

SME Updates
Ayla continues to work with a map expert in efforts to improve records on NovaMuse. Discussions with a ship portraits expert and military insignia expert are also on the horizon. More on this as the SME partnerships unfold. Sandi is editing video footage from her visits to museums with Joleen. New basket related content coming soon to NovaMuse!
We track all of this SME work and have just started to compile a wish list for future partnership projects. We got a great wishlist of SME work from the teachers we met. If you have items in your collection that you'd like to learn more about, please let us know and we'll add them to our list. Or, if you have local experts who you think would enjoy sharing their knowledge with museums, feel free to connect them with us.

Old Loans
This project has taken a lot longer than we thought it would, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our lawyer is reviewing the final draft and hopes to have it back to us by tomorrow. Ayla is making fantastic headway on the lender lists, and has completed 13 so far. Once we get the loan toolkit back from the lawyer we'll publish it on our website and circulate customized toolkits that include lender lists for Advisory Service sites that requested them. If you haven't requested a lender list, let us know. We'll add you to the list. Yes the toolkit represents some work, but the toolkit will guide you through every step of the process. As we've compiled the lender lists we've encountered numerous situations where a lender has passed away within the past 1-2 years, highlighting the importance of reconciling these old loans asap. 

Artefacts Canada
Last week we circulated a message about refreshing content on Artefacts Canada (AC). As we've mentioned in the past, CHIN is working on updating the website, but in the meantime our friends in New Brunswick have developed a tool to easily contribute through CollectiveAccess. We contributed to AC from 2006-2011, but stopped when we switched databases in 2011. Over the past 8 years we've all been doing a lot of work on collection records, so many of the early contributions to AC were outdated and missing images before we did our first refresh this Spring. It's great to be able to refresh these records and mirror what is being shared on NovaMuse in the 'national inventory' (an early term used to describe AC). If you haven't yet responded to last week's message seeing permission to do a biannual refresh of your information, please contact Sandi.

Time-Based Media
Ayla's research project is focusing on multimedia holdings in museum collections. This is something we've never investigated before, so thanks to everyone who responded to her survey about what you have in your collections. She's now writing up her report which will include a guide on how to address these items (digitization, preservation, etc.). This ties in nicely to some NovaMuse upgrades to better share audio and video content, as well as some new preservation tools underway for CollectiveAccess. Isn't it nice when the stars align?

Advisory Service Survey
It is also that time of year, when we check in with members about their likes and dislikes about the Advisory Service. Sandi circulated the annual survey last week, so please remember to complete it. We want to hear your ideas on improvements, what you like best, what is of the least interest, etc. Basically, we want your feedback. The deadline to complete the survey is November 15th.

Museum Moments

Do you have tips you'd like to share regarding collections management? What about an event or special project you'd like to highlight? We'd love to hear about and share your success story in a featured blog post. Check out our latest Museum Moment post to see what it's all about. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Museum Moments - Engage, Collaborate, and Share

It's important to keep things fresh in museums, offering new content and thinking about ways to engage, collaborate, and share our knowledge with each other. Temporary exhibits are a great opportunity for community engagement and to generate interest. The development of temporary exhibits that focus on local history and stories leads to new content, discussion, and memorable experience for visitors. A great example comes from the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame with the launch of a temporary exhibit featuring the work of Bruce MacKinnon in July this year.

“Sports Illustrated: The Nova Scotia Edition”--- Collection of Bruce MacKinnon originals to be exhibited at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame:

"His work has been a daily fixture in many Nova Scotians’ lives for decades-- Bruce MacKinnon brings humorous, witty and poignant commentary to the pages of The Chronicle Herald with his skillful editorial cartoons. The Hall of Fame will be unveiling a new temporary exhibit in summer 2019 that features a selection of MacKinnon’s greatest sport cartoons. We are very pleased to be able to work with MacKinnon, The Chronicle Herald, StFX and private lenders to share this incredible collection of original drawings. Expect to take a stroll down memory lane with familiar faces and newsworthy moments that are equally thought provoking and amusing. The exhibit opens in July."

The official launch on July 15th featured a Q&A with Bruce MacKinnon himself. This temporary exhibit demonstrates the power of community partnerships and the importance of working with others to showcase local history. This exhibit is running from July 2019 - 2020.

Another notable mention is the Halifax Sport Heritage Walking Tour, which encourage you to visit historic sporting sites in the city. The NSSHF took this one step further by creating a new gallery on NovaMuse highlighting items in their collection with ties to the stories featured in the walking tour. This same approach can be taken for temporary exhibits. Why not create a place for your exhibit to live on using NovaMuse? 

The Cumberland County Museum hosted a travelling exhibit from July 26th-October 6th: "Enemy Aliens: Internment in Canada, 1914-1920," by the Canadian War Museum in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation. According to an article by the The Chronicle Herald, "One of the largest camps was in Amherst, located between Park Street, Patterson Street and the rail line, and had a population of 853 men. It closed in September 1919." It's important to look for connections to local history when considering temporary exhibits and this is a great example of this approach.

Past "What is it?" Cabinet -
West Hants Historical Society 
Looking to make an exhibit more interactive? Why not consider building a 'What is it?' and 'Who am I?' temporary exhibit, which encourages visitors to fill in the gaps. Don't know an object's history of use? when it was made? who made it? Ask your visitors. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised by what you learn during this process, it is another opportunity for participation. Many of our Advisory Service sites see positive results when they ask the public to help identify unknown items or individuals in photographs. This can be done both onsite and online.

Remember to include a link to the record on NovaMuse in your social media posts! This directs your audience to the online record, which often contains more detailed information. Crowd-sourcing information is a fantastic way to encourage the public to contribute their own knowledge and invest in your collections.