Saturday, May 30, 2020

May 2020 Update

We have another month of isolation under our belts, and lots more experience in creative problem solving and thinking outside the box. We've seen a number of museums make decisions about opening or remaining closed for the season. We are receiving questions about this on a daily basis. I know museums are eager for information, and we are working on this. Conversations are happening, and there will be news soon. In the meantime, feel free to check out the various resources being compiled by the CMA & the COVID-19 related resources that we have been made aware of on our website.

As a reminder, last month we developed a guide on supporting seasonal staff during COVID-19 with our friends at some other museum associations. And great news! Our friends in New Brunswick took on the translation of this resource, so it will soon be available in French as well. To complement the staffing guide, we wrote another one on social media during COVID-19. We are continuing our weekly chats with our colleagues, and the regular sharing of information and resources is really refreshing.

Our COVID-19 impact and response survey is now open! We are seeking to collect up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19 to Nova Scotia’s museums and we are asking for your help in gathering this information. We also want you to share the creative and inspiring ways that you have responded to the crisis - how you've helped your community, how you've provided services and resources online, how you've adjusting staffing and fundraising, etc etc. It should only take you a few minutes. Click here to fill out the survey. June 8th at 11:59pm is the deadline to contribute your information. Results will be anonymous but used for advocacy and learning purposes.

Museum Evaluation Program
We held the first Deep Dive this month, looking at Governance issues. It was very well attended and we are hoping to see even more people for the next one on June 11th. We'll be talking about community engagement and evaluation. Deep Dives are taking place every 2nd Thursday of the month, at 130pm, and are free for everyone. If you'd like to register for this session, or any of the others, click here.

Even with the new evaluation timeline, 13 museums have been actively uploading files for review, and regular questions are being submitted as museums prepare for evaluation. Documentation Review dispatches were circulated yesterday.

We also continue to look ahead to future years, and had another meeting with NSM staff to plan for 2022 evaluations. My toddler thought this was great fun and enjoyed sharing her agreement and input in our Zoom chat. The joys of working from home :)

We were very excited to announce the first Accredited Museums in Nova Scotia this month, in conjunction with International Museums Day. Congratulations to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, Avon River Heritage Museum, DesBrisay Museum, and Northumberland Fisheries Museum for receiving this designation! It felt great to share some good news with the world, and we look forward to making Accreditation announcements on an annual basis to celebrate the amazing heritage work being done around the province.

CollectiveAccess Updates
This month we added 622 new records and 1,986 new images were added to the databases. Good work everyone! That brings the total to 311,003 artifacts and 227,605 images overall. Don't forget to make these records and images accessible to the public, and to share NovaMuse links and updates on your work via your social media channels!

Here are the regional stats:
Southwest -  138,058 artifacts, 87,298 images
Central -  103,481 artifacts, 68,931 images
Northeast - 38,247 artifacts, 54,058 images
Cape Breton - 31,217 artifacts, 17,318 images

With summer staff starting, we thought it would be a good time to return to some image lessons every month. This month we are looking at clothing. Yes we've looked at it in the past, but we're still seeing the same issues over and over again. This adorable little nightgown really loses its cuteness when it is photographed like a 2-dimensional item. Rather than laying it flat, it should have been put on a child-sized mannequin to demonstrate how it would be worn, how the fabric would flow and fall over the body. The wrinkles from prolonged folded storage definitely don't help either. While you don't want to iron out your textile collection, dressing a mannequin and gently positioning the garment can help to lessen the wrinkle distraction. The scale should always be put in the lower left corner. This is a consistency thing and moving it from place to place in your different photographs can make the museum look less professional.

Sandi has taken over Webinar Wednesdays and is delivering a summer-long series on
CollectiveAccess and NovaMuse features, with a couple other subjects added from your requests. The next session (June 3rd) will focus on NovaMuse Transcribe. Looking to share your records for transcription using this new feature? Don't miss out on this session! Sandi will guide you through the process to set up records in CollectiveAccess and demonstrate how to use the tool on NovaMuse. These are free for Advisory Service members, and for others we have set up registration by donation. Any donations received will be put towards future training initiatives.

Our friends at CHIN were also busy this month processing all the updated records that we submitted in April. They added and/or refreshed 3,083 records from across the province, another big boost for Nova Scotian content on Artefacts Canada. Our next refresh will take place in October.

Educational Partnerships
Our annual Fleming College partnership project finally wrapped up this month, and I circulated the students' reports to the 11 participant museums. We say this every year, but the students were able to dig up some great new info and make some great edits and additions to collections documentation.

In other news, we will be welcoming three interns on Monday who will be working with us remotely. That's right, we're doubling our workforce. The interns will be tackling a variety of tasks for us, all relating to developing collections-based resources for educators and the public. So stay tuned for introductions, and if you're part of the Advisory Service, watch your inbox! You'll be hearing from us very soon.

We will also be working with a Teachers Advisory Group (TAG) in the upcoming months to review Nova Scotia curriculum tie-ins and resource development opportunities for NovaMuse. Our first discussion is scheduled to take place early next month. We look forward to this collaboration and sharing ideas with educators from across the province! We are excited to receive their input throughout this process. Stay tuned for updates.

Call for ANSM Award Nominations
Each year, ANSM presents the Award for Excellence in Museum Practices Individual Contribution to a museum employee or volunteer who has gone above and beyond to make a significant contribution to the museum field. Recipients of this award have made remarkable efforts to increase knowledge about Nova Scotia’s history through exemplary museum practices. Would you like to nominate someone? Click here to learn more.

Keeping Fresh
Sandi's participated in loads of great webinars this month, and hopefully you've found some helpful ones too. A tip that she learned for an easy, yet effective way to engage with visitors in-person while wearing a mask: add a photo of the staff and/or volunteer smiling on their name tag. I managed to sneak in one from Statistics Canada on their Canadian Statistical Geospacial Explorer. It's a pretty neat tool that lets you look at StatsCan data geographically. I was especially interested in their web design and filtering setup.