Friday, October 30, 2020

October 2020 Update

Museum Studies Program
The Museums & Communities course only has a couple weeks left. It's been great to learn from Candace and to hear about the very cool initiatives happening around the province. Once this course is completed we'll be rolling into the next one - Management & Governance. It will start on November 19th and be facilitated by Virginia Stephen, who has a longstanding career in the field and will be familiar to some of you as an evaluator for the Museum Evaluation Program. You can read more about the course and register online via our website. Spots are filling up fast, so don't miss out on this opportunity. This course won't be presented again until 2023.

Museum Evaluation Program
Next week Anita and I will be delivering an orientation refresher via Zoom. If you're new to evaluation, or if you'd just like to chat with us about your prep work now that summer is over, please feel free to join us. To register, click here.
Monthly Deep Dives continue, with the next one looking at Marketing & Revenue Generation on November 13th at 130pm. If you'd like to register for it or any others, click here. And don't forget that we have recordings of all the previous Deep Dives, so feel free to request any of them.
For those being evaluated in the coming year, you will notice an increase in Q&A emails as more museums are submitting questions and uploading files. As I've said before, it's so great to see so many museums being proactive and getting ahead of the game. If you're up for evaluation and haven't yet started uploading, joining next week's refresher session would be a great way to learn more about that process.

CollectiveAccess Updates
There are now an impressive 317,964 artifacts and 251,159 associated images documented in CollectiveAccess. For perspective, when we launched NovaMuse in 2012, there were 140,000 artifacts and 40,000 images. Kudos to everyone for continuing to add new info and improve existing content. Over the past month, 760 new records and 3,604 new images were added to the databases. As I said...pretty impressive.

Regionally, here is how things stand:
Southwest: 141,574 artifacts, 92,732 images
Central: 103,992 artifacts, 79,316 images
Northeast: 41,166 artifacts, 59,067 images
Cape Breton: 31,232 artifacts, 20,044 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most new records this month, and to the Central region for adding the most images! 

click here for help
As much as we like to celebrate all of these new entries and images, we are still seeing issues in how information is being entered and artefacts are being photographed. Remember that the info you enter, and the photos you take, will be out there for all the world to see. Your museum's reputation is on the line. So if you're new to cataloguing, digitization or databases, ask for help. Use the help tools, including the help menu in the database, and the little 'i' button at the right hand side of each field that will explain how the field should be used. 

Now let's look at artifact photography. Again, keep in mind that this is your museum's reputation - you are broadcasting your views on quality of work when you digitize an artifact. If you don't have it handy already, you might want to download our Artefact Photography Tips, print it and keep it with your digitization supplies. Photographing large items is difficult, even if you have a backdrop or studio space. So remember these key rules:
1. Isolate the object - either move it to a space with a neutral background, or if it's too heavy to move, remove all the stuff that's around it. In this case, the hay rake is light enough to easily move.
2. Crop out dead space - this rake is long and thin, so there's a lot of dead space on either side that could be cropped out. When photographing large items this works to your benefit since it will potentially remove distractions that can't be moved, like wall trim.

IMAC met again this month and continues to make plans for the Advisory Service. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and shared their ideas on how to move forward. So many wonderful ideas! Our next steps are to re-jig the Member Services Coordinator's job description and prioritize the survey input. We've actually already started to use your input. Our MAP grant application for 2021 is completed and being submitted on Monday, and includes your priorities for support and a cool idea for a new training tool.

Educational Partnerships
Cheryl is making great progress on NovaMuseEd efforts and really enjoying working with Advisory Service museums. As of now, we have 70 resources ready to release and several more in draft. It's really interesting to see the range of subjects included in the activities - advertising, bagpipes, fishing buoys, flight, quilts, tartans...the list goes on and on. As I've noted in the past, we're trying to build up a stockpile of ideas and existing schools programs so that we can continue with this work. If you have ideas or info to share, please be in touch. As we prepare to launch NovaMuseEd we will also be reaching out to those museums that are not yet involved to make sure that no one gets left behind.
Our teacher survey ends tomorrow and we've had 270+ responses with some really great feedback and suggestions, as well as a lot of thank you messages. Teachers are so excited to work more with museums. 

The paperwork has been signed and work plan developed for our winter intern from Algonquin College. It's been a long time since we've had an intern from Algonquin, so it's nice to re-establish this relationship and we look forward to the fresh ideas and perspectives that Devlin will bring. As a heads up, one of his tasks will be to work with a geology SME (spoiler alert, it's our friend Ken Adams) to review geological specimens in museum collections and try to improve their records. So if you have any geospecimens or fossils that haven't been photographed yet and would let to be included in this initiative, feel free to start taking some photos and attaching them to CollectiveAccess. Remember that this work won't start until January at the earliest, so there is plenty of time for photo shoots.

And looking even further ahead, I've also begun talks with Fleming about our annual winter project and the potential for a summer intern. Preparations for the winter project will happen in late November or early December, when I'll circulate emails to the museums that are next in line. The class is a lot smaller this year so we won't be able to include as many museums as usual, but we're already keen to see what the students will uncover about our collections.

Keeping Fresh
I hope that talking about how ANSM staff are making professional develop a priority, that you are being inspired to seek out opportunities for workers in your organization. This month I've been sitting in on our Museums and Communities course. I attended it when it was first delivered...a number of years ago now...but wow it is really making me think a lot about ANSM's work and my volunteer efforts in my community. 
I am also actively working on enhancing my evaluation knowledge. This month I participated in a Canadian Evaluation Society info session on how to become a credentialed evaluator. I am also working through a Tamarack Institute course on Participatory Evaluation.
I'll be honest; sometimes it feels hard to fit this into my busy schedule, but it is always worth it. I can identify nuggets of gained knowledge from everything I participate in, both large and small. I hope you can say the same.