It is great to hear how museums are continuing to serve their communities this summer. For those that are open, we are hearing that visitation is low but that relationships with the local community are being strengthened as people stick close to home. For those that are closed and working behind the scenes, collections management efforts and evaluation preparations are yielding really impressive results. I've said it before, but it's so cool to see how museums are thinking outside of the box right now, and each one is coming up with a creative and productive solution that works for them and their community.
If you haven't yet applied for the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Heritage Organizations, there is still time. The deadline has been extended to September 11th. For those that have applied, we've heard that announcements are now trickling out, so keep your eye on your inbox.
Museum Evaluation Program
We held our fourth Deep Dive this month, looking at the Facility section. It was a little bit shorter than the others, which was expected since so much of this section deals with the physical reality of the buildings during the site evaluation, but it was still great to talk about some of the big, overarching issues around facility management. If you missed the session, feel free to request the recording (or any other Deep Dive recordings). On September 10th at 130pm we'll be tackling my personal favourite, the Collections section. If you haven't registered for it yet and are interested in participating, click here.
967 new records and 3,954 new images were added to the databases. Great work! Don't forget to make those records and images accessible to the public using the access fields on the Basic and Media Representations tabs. Right now, 124,551 objects are inaccessible to the public. That's actually 1/3 of the records catalogued in our databases...a lot of info to be holding back. Let's try to fix that.
Here's how the numbers look at a regional level:
Southwest: 140,304 artifacts, 90,591 images
Central: 103,846 artifacts, 76,320 images
Northeast: 40,485 artifacts, 57,126 images
Cape Breton: 30,928 artifacts, 18,835 images
Keep in mind that as we connect with more teachers and offer formal and casual educational resources, this means your records and images will be reviewed more closely. Teachers are looking for real, in depth records relating to our material culture, as well as formal resources. Let's make sure that we take the time to capture excellent images from a variety of angles, and proofread our documentation to showcase our museums at their best.
As part of our "consolidation year" efforts to get ourselves a bit more organized, we've developed a long-term data cleaning plan for the Advisory Service. This will take us years to work through, but we're very pleased to say that Camilo got through step 1 (reconciling entities) for 13 museums. We're going to roll this into internship work plans and have it as a rainy day project, so we can keep picking away at it.
Advisory Service Training
It has been a very busy month! Thanks to everyone who joined Sandi for in-person and virtual training. It was great to see you and work together again this summer. We hosted two types of hub training, the first focused on digitizing watercolours, which we are looking forward to sharing on NovaMuse and The Watercolour World. The second focused on educational resource development, as we prepare to launch a new teacher resource section on NovaMuse. A big thank you to our host sites who made this all possible! We know the last few months have been a big adjustment and have come with new challenges but everyone's commitment to collections work really showed. Great work! Follow us on the NovaMuse Facebook page to see all of the photos from this year's training.
Watercolour images will be edited and uploaded this Fall, so keep a close eye on the What's New section on NovaMuse. Thinking about the educational resource work, the deeper we delve into it, the more it feels like a renewed purpose for NovaMuse. We just released a teacher survey to ask about wants and needs, and are getting a great response from across the province. If you haven't yet, please share our Facebook post, Tweet, and the link to the survey with teachers in your area. We're already hearing that teachers are excited and appreciative of any and all new resources that we can offer them. If you are in the process of creating a learning activity, feel free to reach out at any time for help, and don't forget to send your drafts to Sandi via Dropbox. If you weren't able to participate in any of the webinars but would like to work with us to develop some offerings for schools, we would love to have you join in. Reach out and we will help you get the ball rolling.
Webinar Wednesdays have wrapped up, but we have recordings for all of the sessions. If you missed any, just let us know and we will send along the link so you can review the sessions at your leisure.
On Friday we said thank you and goodbye to Camilo, who first joined us in June for his University of Toronto internship. During his exit interview we were musing over the various projects he tackled, and how everything really tied back to educational resource development even though that was the item in his work plan that had the least amount of focus...or so we thought! The various puzzles and colouring pages that he developed, and developed tip sheets for, are exactly what teachers are asking for now! Isn't it great when everything comes together so well at the end of a project? Huge thanks to Camilo for all that he accomplished over the summer, and best wishes as he heads back to school to learn even more about museum work.
As we mentioned in a separate message to Advisory Service members, we are also really excited to continue our partnership with MSVU and welcome a fall intern from their Child and Youth Studies program. Stay tuned for the announcement of her arrival, but consider this a heads up that we'll have someone ready and willing to help you develop new offerings for teachers, or rework current or old school programs for online access.
Webinars are decreasing in frequency now, but I managed to take in two that were quite helpful. The first was from the BCMA on succession planning, and the second was from the Cuseum on Supporting Schools and Educators as a Cultural Organization. Since ANSM is working on both of these things right now, they were a good fit to my work plan and gave some good nuggets of info. Have I mentioned we're really excited about how the new teacher resource section of NovaMuse is shaping up?
And as a final reminder, don't forget to keep the museum fresh! We had multiple calls and emails this month from museums that discovered major and minor mould problems in their collections storage. If you ever find yourself in this situation, give us a call! We will help you develop a plan of action and put you in contact with the right people if the problem can't be handled in-house. Remember to keep air flowing, keep humidity levels below 60%, and include regular walkthroughs and spot checks of storage to make sure you catch any problems right away. For other tips on prevention and recovery, check out CCI's technical bulletin.