Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Farewell from Cheyenne

 And just like that, my internship with ANSM has come to a close. It’s hard to believe that 3 months have come and gone! I have had such an incredible time working with Karin, Krystal and Maggie, and I hope that I can work with them again some day. This placement may have been done remotely, but they were so kind and still helped me create bonds that I will forever be grateful for.

During my time with ANSM I have updated some learning activities to better connect them artifacts in the NovaMuse database, worked with Krystal to create an updated teacher survey, helped create and present a slideshow at the Social Studies Teacher’s Association Conference, and most notably, made learning activities of my very own! My biggest project of the term was inspired by chocolate box artifacts on NovaMuse, which helped me create an activity that guides learners to design their own candy box and follow a recipe to put homemade candy inside! I practiced following the recipe myself…and the candy was quite good! I also made a number of activities that were requested by museums, where I converted some of their in-person activities into online ones so learners from all over the province can access them.

This internship has been so rewarding. I have loved being able to scroll through the different artifacts in the

database to learn more about this province and the museums in it. I’m passionate about teaching others so it makes my heart happy knowing that the activities I’ve made will be viewed by educators, parents and students so they can learn about Nova Scotia history and its museums too! The experience in activity making will be something that I will carry with me through my future careers, and the knowledge I’ve gained about artifacts and their history is something I will always cherish in my personal life.

Thank you so much to Karin, Krystal and Maggie for your guidance during my time here. You encouraged my ideas and helped me make them grow into final products, and I am blessed to have worked with such a supportive group. 

I hope you all have a very happy holiday season! Remember to stay safe and to be kind to one another,


November 2021 Update

Museum Evaluation Program
It has been great to have so many responses and queries to the 2021 evaluation reports. In order to give these the adequate response they require, it has taken longer than previous years to respond however the last of these are being addressed this week. Thank you to everyone for your more patience. To accommodate this delay, the deadline to apply for accreditation until January 14. 

We can't mention the Museum Evaluation Program without also mentioning the changes being discussed for 2022. As shared recently through the Beacon, and at regional meetings, the program funder (Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage) has requested this program be reviewed. The timeline to review this program is short but we are certain that it is going to be a positive step forward for museums as we look to incorporate and help build capacity in areas like accessibility, EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion), responding to climate change, and being responsive to community needs. We will be sharing more information in the new year as we work through the process of reviewing the program.

Education and Training Working Group
ANSM has been adapting and constantly adding to the training it offers. Over the pandemic we pivoted to move the Museum Studies Program online, held our conference online with LAMNS, and started gathering at "the village well" for more informal conversations. ANSM is hopeful that our future learning opportunities will not all need to be online (although we hear many of you saying you prefer this method). As we reestablish how our education and training is offered, this is a great time to look at all the offerings and get more input on it. ANSM is excited to be bringing back the Education and Training Working Group (formally taskforce) and we are looking for members. More information will be coming out soon in the Beacon, but if you have an interest in helping guide ANSM on its professional development initiatives we might have a piece of cake with your name on it. 
CollectiveAccess Updates
While things might be a little quieter inside our museum walls as our students have said goodbye and staff tasks turn towards grant writing and planning for the next season, we still had 1129 new artifact records and 3410 media files that were added to CollectiveAccess since our last update in October. Overall there is a total of 343,895 artifact records and 309,009 associated media files in our members' databases. 

Let's have a look at the numbers by region:
Southwest: 147,323 artifacts, 105,308 images
Central: 106,776 artifacts, 99,369 images
Cape Breton: 33,017 artifacts, 25,563 images
Northeast: 56,779 artifacts, 77,769 images

This photo is your image lesson of the month. If you guessed that this very narrow image was a photograph of three glass bottles you would have guessed correctly. It's pretty difficult however, to make out any sort of detail wouldn't you say? What we want to have before we upload any image to the CollectiveAccess database is a clear photograph where details of the artifact are evident. We don't want to leave the viewer questioning what they are looking at. Remember from last month's post that the background color that we choose for artifact photography is important. Ideally we want a neutral colored background that is smooth and free from any distractions. It's fine that the bottles were all photographed together however (because they were part of the same lot), however, the image should have included all three of the bottles in full - not just bits and pieces of each. Older technology very obviously presents many challenges in producing high quality images for our database however, even smart phone technology nowadays is able to produce images that can be uploaded to the database. Another tip is that a tripod could have been used to help the photographer capture the artifacts at a 45 degree angle instead of straight on and it would have also helped to ensure that the photograph wouldn't come out blurry. To help reduce those light reflections the photographer could have also experimented with using a light box or they could have hung or held a dark sheet up behind the camera when taking the photograph. 

Reconciling Entities 
We've also had some behind the scenes work going on in CollectiveAccess with our new volunteer, Katie Worthen. Katie is a recent graduate of Fleming College's Museum Management & Curatorship program and is currently working at MuseumNext in Kingston, ON. Working under Krystal's supervision for the last couple of months, Katie has been busy helping to clean up the database by doing a thorough review of each site's database and reconciling their entities.

Educational Partnerships & NoveMuseEd
Cheyenne continues to create new resources for NovaMuseEd including the newly published learning activity on the history of candy making in Atlantic Canada (conveniently published just in time for the holidays so hopefully you'll find some homemade candy in your stocking). Cheyenne has been hard at work creating a couple of French resources and a revised Teacher's Questionnaire before her internship with ANSM finishes up on December 7th. NovaMuseEd saw another month of impressive use with 558 resource downloads! The most popular, with 12 downloads, was the learning activity Martian Museum. It's great to see such a wide variety of the resources being used in the classroom. A note that you can always send us your school program information or share your thoughts and ideas for additional resources by sending them to project[at]

Fleming College Partnership - Data Enrichment
We are excited to announce that we will once again partner with Fleming College to participate in the data enrichment assignment with the Museum Management & Curatorship class this winter. This will be the 10th year for this assignment where students gain invaluable database experience. As a refresher - students will be working in groups of 2 - 3 with each student reviewing 10 artifact records while enhancing one of those records further. That will mean that for each participating site (8 of them in total) that 20 - 30 records will be reviewed on their databases.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Meet Maggie MacIntyre, ANSM's Executive Director

It is hard to believe its been 1.5 months since I started with ANSM. The last six weeks have been so much more than I ever imagined they would be – both good and bad. But isn’t that always the way it is with museum work? We imagine one thing, in the process of getting there find both challenges and opportunities we never expected, and then end with something better and yet different than we first envisioned. 

Since starting, I’ve had the chance to meet many of you virtually – at the LAMNS conference, at regional meetings, and in working group meetings. I look forward to meeting more of you virtually at more of these meetings. These virtual meetings are great for getting work done but don’t provide the same opportunity to chat and really get to know each other. So, until we can meet in person, let this blog be my informal introduction to you.

First, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee. I’m a tea drinker, being the daughter of Cape Bretoners. I have been learning to love a coffee though due to some passionate coffee drinkers I’ve been privileged to work with, plus the need for quick caffeine as I try to keep up with my nearly 2-year-old daughter.

I always tell people I’m a museum nerd. As a child I had two major goals in life. First, to live in Nova Scotia. Secondly, to live in a museum. I later changed that to work in a museum. I’ve been lucky. I’ve accomplished these two goals. I grew up in Northern Alberta (Peace River) – in the heartland of oil, farming, and pulp mills. But nearly every summer my parents took us “home” to Cape Breton. When I graduated high school, I moved to Antigonish in pursuit of my treasured x-ring. My mother was sad to see me go so far away to go to university. I told her it was her fault – I grew up thinking of Nova Scotia as home. I was coming home. She understood. 

But a desire to make Nova Scotia home wasn’t enough. I wanted a career that embedded me in the culture, people, history, and landscapes of Nova Scotia. So, I got the ever so practical Bachelor of Arts in Celtic Studies, picking up “beagan” (a small amount) Gaelic, in the process, to add to my French. Then, off to Ontario for a year to attend Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship program, before coming back to intern at the Nova Scotia Museum.

My career in museums hasn’t been boring. Definitely not the quiet, peaceful, serene existence younger me envisioned. I’ve worked seasonal, rural sites where I’ve had to track down hundreds of gourds during a pumpkin shortage. I’ve driven a cargo van around the province with boxes of school loans. I’ve worked March Break in the city, talking to hundreds of visitors a day while holding a 5-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus Rex rib bone reproduction. I've completed condition reports on Darth Vader's costume and Luke Skywalker's lightsaber and severed hand. I’ve helped move thousands of artifacts in a three day move, only dropping one lobster trap on my foot (ouch!). I’ve taken part of interpretive planning meetings that turned into singing circles. I even survived the CMA conference study tour to Cape Breton in a May snowstorm. And I’ve worked with so many of you in meetings, working groups, conferences, projects, exhibits, and informal conversations over a good drink, tea or something more appropriate to the situation. It’s all been good (well maybe not dropping the lobster trap on my foot). It’s shown me an amazing, passionate, dedicated field of people who are all doing their best to make museums in Nova Scotia the best they can be.

Despite this positive museum career, I am worried. Museums are at a crossroads. The last few years have shown it to us time after time after time. Museums are traditionally colonial institutions with biases embedded in all their practices that have prioritize the privileged. We need to change. Many museums are seen as great tourist attractions and educational institutions but struggle to become of everyday service to their communities. We need to change. Many museums know they need to address important issues like climate change but just don’t see how that fits into their mandate. We need to change. And so many museums, and museum workers, and museum volunteers, and even museum visitors, are thinking “We are tired – just let us get through Covid-19 and get our feet under us before asking us to do more.” But… we need to change. Now. 

These aren’t problems unique to Nova Scotia. Museums around the world are standing at this crossroads together. Museums are Not Neutral. Museums Change Lives. The Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice. Museums as Sites of Social Action. Museum Activism. These aren’t just words. These are real movements. ANSM and museums in Nova Scotia are talking about these movements. We are ready to be a part of them. I hear you say you are ready too when I hear you speak at the recent LAMNS conference, at regional meetings, in working groups, and in informal chats. I hope that in my time at ANSM we can all work together to be this change. Together we will challenge each other and help each other through the rough parts. We will make space for others to join us, and we will listen and learn. And we do it together so that instead of this being one more thing that makes us tired, it is something that makes us stronger, more sustainable, and more representative of Nova Scotia, of home.

Well now my tea is cold. I’ve talked too much. And yet I’ve said so little. That’s why these conversations are better over a cold beverage. I hope you feel you know me a bit better. More than that, I hope you trust me a bit more as ANSM is a great responsibility. It is a members-based organization, and I am here to listen to you and be inspired by you. You know where to find me if you want to chat – email, phone, Zoom, ANSM office. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter @MaggiesMuseum where I’m regularly inspired by museums around the world leading the change and looking at cat pictures. 


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Museums and Remembrance Day - 2021 Edition

 Since 2010 I've been writing a contemplative post for Remembrance Day. Hard to believe it has been so long. This year what has struck me as the day grew closer and closer is just how much art and creativity is born out of hardship - the inspiration of grief. 

I have been seeing poems, drawings, and songs pop up in a variety of places and from a variety of sources. All of these artworks give insight into the creators' experiences, political and social opinions, family lives, and so much more. The art is the door to understanding other perspectives. 

Museum collections contain the photos and stories of those have served at home and abroad, with a special reverence towards our servicemen and women. It is common to see portraits and read interpretive text about these individuals, and to see a few items that relate to their wartime experiences. When we include their artworks, the complexities of conflict and grief come to light in incredibly personal ways. A quick search of NovaMuse shows that we have many and varied options. 

People grieve differently, and navigate the stages of grief in their own time. Adding the elements of conflict, separation from family, unknown timelines and daily uncertainties make grief even more difficult to process. But for certain people, these issues and emotions are processed through a creative outlet. Their creations give us so many opportunities to interpret war and conflict. From a poem that sheds light on tensions between conscripted and enlisted soldiers to depictions of battlefields to trench art that turned deadly ammunition into household decorations, sharing these artworks can be a powerful invitation to our communities to explore human nature. It can also be an opportunity for people to explore their own grief by connecting with the personal stories and creativity of others. 

Providing people with opportunities to reflect and process their grief, and channel this grief in creative ways is an amazing public service. When this grief is intergenerational, giving space for people to share family stories and create art inspired by these stories can be incredibly healing. It honours those that came before us and gives people a chance to process thoughts and feelings that have been passed down from previous generations.

Museums offer these learning and healing opportunities in many different ways, but in my experience we don't always recognize their healing potential. Hosting a First World War song night, asking people to share photos and biographies of their family members who served, inviting a reenactment group to host an encampment on-site, partnering with the local school to display students' Remembrance Day poetry and art projects...all of these activities offer opportunities to better understand and connect with history and process grief. One of the opportunities we offer is through NovaMuseEd, where educators can use a learning activity about trench art to encourage students to ponder the intersection of conflict and culture. 

The inspiration of grief is evident throughout our collections, especially when we look at items linked to war and conflict. The individuality and uniqueness of these creative items served a purpose when they were made, and they continue to serve a purpose now. All that we need to do is look to them for our own inspiration.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 2021 Updates

Reopening Fund for Heritage Organizations 
Has your museum applied for this year's emergency support funding yet? If not, now is the time to do it! This is similar to last year's emergency funding so it is not an onerous process and can be a great boost to your museum's operations. November 29th is the deadline to apply

Museum Evaluation Program
It has been quite a month for the MEP. We had a number of queries about reports, and as I was working through them I got called away to be with my Mom. Her passing and some other issues have kept me from finishing ANSM's responses to these queries. I'm hopeful that things will settle soon so that I can wrap up this work. 

Learning Opportunities
Last week Karin started teaching our Collections Management & Curatorship course online. Since we shifted this year's courses to Zoom, they are being delivered in two hour sessions over five weeks. It's a full class yet again, and we have had some questions about when this course will be offered again, so this seems like a good time to remind how the Museum Studies Program works. We offer 8 courses over 3 years. Museums 101 is offered two of the three years, but all of the other courses are only offered once every three years. When registration opens the courses fill up quickly, usually within a week. So if you are interested in taking part, be sure to plan ahead. Next year we'll be offering Facilities Management, Interpretation II: Exhibitions, and Marketing & Revenue Generation. 

CollectiveAccess Updates
It has been a relatively busy month even as many sites make preparations to close for the winter season. With 1028 new records and 2255 media files being added since our last update in September that brings us to an overall total of 342,766 artifact records and 305,599 associated media files in our members' databases. Here's how things stand regionally:

Southwest: 147,000 artifacts, 104,574 images
Central: 106,378 artifacts, 98,522 images
Northeast: 56,371 artifacts, 76,940 images
Cape Breton: 33,017 artifacts, 25,563 images

Your image lesson of the month is this miniature teapot. There are a few things going on in this photograph that we can learn from to help create a high quality and professional image for the database. You want to make sure to only have your artifact in the frame of the photograph and for that artifact to fill as much of the photograph as possible. Even for larger and/or heavier objects that can't be easily moved for photographing a backdrop can be still be used to help eliminate any background noise or it can be done in any post photographic editing. 

The contrasting background color that we choose for artifact photography is incredibly important! In this photograph we have two different background colors happening. Ideally you want a contrasting backdrop that is neutral in color (black, white, or gray). We also want a smooth background and one that is free from patterns, wrinkles, debris, etc. 

Unless you are taking closeup shots of an artifact, scales are important to help demonstrate the size of an object. If your artifact has multiple components (like a teapot and lid for example) you will want to use a scale for each component when photographing the artifact. Remember to be consistent with the placement of the scale!

Educational Partnerships & NovaMuseEd
We also had an exciting month for NovaMuseEd efforts. Cheyenne and Krystal presented at the Social Studies Teachers Conference, sharing this new resource with about 50 teachers and getting their feedback. And Karin presented NovaMuse at the LAMNS conference. We seem to have been successful in spreading the word and garnering new interest. This month visitors accessed NovaMuseEd resources 1,139 times! That's almost double our previous monthly record. 
Cheyenne has just finished drafting a new learning activity on candy making (yum!) so that will be online soon, and next up she'll be working through some museum resources to translate them to online use. If you haven't yet sent us your school program info or shared your thoughts and ideas for additional resources, feel free to reach out to Cheyenne at project[at] 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Introducing Krystal Tanner!

Oh hey there! My name is Krystal Tanner and I am happy to announce that I am serving as the new Member Services Coordinator. I’ll be filling in for Emma while she is away on parental leave for the next few months.

I’ve been enjoying working in the museum field in a variety of capacities since graduating from Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship program in 2015. My main role has been as the Curator/Manager of Randall House Museum in Wolfville where I started off as the Heritage Interpreter & Guide in 2014. 

My favourite part of any museum job that I’ve had is working with the collection – from digitizing and entering information onto a database to allowing artifacts to tell stories. My favourite memory of museum life would have to be from three years ago when a couple was visiting Randall House and I had a pair of sock stretchers sitting on the table waiting to be photographed. I will always remember how the wife tearfully shared with me a story about her mother-in-law who used to knit wool socks for her husband before she developed dementia. I'd for a lot of years been connecting visitors with objects that belonged to their family members from long, long ago but I’d never once had someone be that overcome with emotion before!

I think about that moment often and I remember why it is that I love what I do. I love all of those personal connections I get to make (I still snail mail with visitors from 5 years ago), I love knowing that when I hold an object that it, at one time, meant something to someone, I love sharing spooky ghost stories, and the list goes on and on. I am very excited to embark on this new journey with ANSM and to find new things that I love about this museum life that I live. I'm looking forward to learning, to growing professionally, to making new connections and most especially I’m excited to eat cake!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Lessons from Mom

"There is a strange moment in time, after something horrible happens, when you know it's true, but you haven't told anyone yet." ~Barbara Kingsolver

There is usually a line between the personal and professional worlds, not to be crossed. But one of the things that I love about the museum sector is how relational it is. When we thrive, it is because of the relationships we form, the collaborations we develop, and the genuine way that we care about each other and our work. It feels personal. So here I am, walking through that invisible barrier that screams DO NOT CROSS. 

Last weekend my Mom died. She's had Alzheimer's for years now and so our grief is not that of a sudden, unexpected passing. It has been long and ongoing and is now paired with a strange and uncomfortable sense of relief that she is finally at peace. This does not make it easier to let her go.  

To quote Archer Wallace, "truly great [people] are humble; they think, not of themselves, but of the good they can accomplish." What has struck me over the past week is the breadth and depth of Mom's impact. Whether in her family circle, or as a teacher, tutor or volunteer, she loved and inspired everyone she met by her faith, kindness, patience, and gentle spirit. She lived her life by always asking how the world would be a better place because she was in it. And now, the memories and stories being shared are a testament to the power of this question and her desire to help others. These stories cover her childhood in Hill Grove, Digby County, her studies at Acadia University, her teaching days in southern New Brunswick, and the countless hours she spent on children's programs through Kingston Baptist Church. 

In addition to the therapy of writing and explanation this provides for my recent absence, Mom has a lot of lessons for museums. She was incredibly organized and could create detailed program plans that ensured success. She even wrote how-to manuals so that others could see and learn from the formulas she developed. If she was at the helm she made everyone else feel like their role was important and their contributions valued. If she was teaching or tutoring, she made sure those children felt safe and seen and supported. No matter what she was doing, she approached it with humility and a desire to serve. 

Likewise, great museums are not attention-seeking or self-serving. They look for ways to serve their communities, are attentive and good listeners and sincerely work to understand needs. Not only that, but they seek to understand the underlying causes and reasons for those needs so that they can provide healing and nurturing in deeper, richer ways. They work for positive change and aren't afraid to talk about the pain or issues that have brought communities to their current reality. When museums do this, word spreads and great reputations are built. Their relevance and value are understood and seen. Their humility becomes the great strength of sincerity.

My childhood is filled with memories of community service with Mom; quiet activities that helped those in need. She was adept at reading between the lines, hearing words not spoken, and seeing information not shared. She also rarely said no when asked to help with a cause. Individuals, families, and organizations benefited. How powerful could our museums be if we collectively sought to do the same? To be such attentive listeners that any time a need is voiced or concern expressed that we come together and ask how the museum can help? 

As I navigate my grief and a world without Mom, I can't help but think that I need to be more like her. I need to be attuned to the needs I am seeing and hearing, and listen to the little voice in my head that picks up on words not spoken. And I need to do this in both my personal and professional life. Museums exist to serve our communities. We too should be asking ourselves how the world will be a better place because we are in it.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

September 2021 Update

Changes at ANSM
Last Friday was a big day for ANSM. We held our AGM and said farewell to our long-time Executive Director Anita Price. This week we welcomed Maggie MacIntyre to the helm, who will be with us for a two-year secondment. 
At the beginning of the month we also welcomed Krystal Tanner to ANSM, who will be our Member Services Coordinator over the winter while Emma is out on parental leave. And mid-month we were joined by Cheyenne Hardy who is doing her MSVU work plan with us (more on that later!). We are also talking with a potential volunteer about some data improvement work which would be very mutually beneficial.

Yes this is a lot of change, very quickly, and we're excited for the days and months ahead. And yes, we have been eating a lot of cake. 

COVID-19 - Proof of Vaccine Policy
With the modified Phase 5 just around the corner on October 4th, CCH hosted a virtual session on the Proof of Vaccination policy and its impact on museums. Here are some quick highlights. Each individual who enters the museum needs to show proof of vaccination, which museum personnel confirm with a piece of government identification such as a driver's license. The exception to this is if someone only wants to access the gift shop. Staff do not have to show proof of vaccination, but volunteers do. Groups visiting the museum must each provide this proof; you cannot ask for blanket proof to be provided by a tour operator or group organizer. If anyone refuses to show proof of vaccination, they should be denied entry. If serious conflict arises, local law enforcement should be contacted.
For groups that are renting or using the space, they need to provide proof as well, for each individual the space. To make this easier on the museum, it is recommended that this requirement be added to any rental or use agreements with partners. 
Very few people cannot be vaccinated and will be eligible for a medical exemption. While it is not being released publicly, there is an official template that is used for this and it will be readily apparent that an individual has such an exemption. 
There are privacy concerns around showing these proofs, and so government is working on a new proof of vaccination card that will include a QR code. They are also working on an app that will scan the QR code or reveal either a green check mark or red X. Green means fully vaccinated and red means not fully vaccinated. It is hoped that this work will be ready by November. 
A poster can be printed and posted in the museum. It can be downloaded here.

Museum Evaluation Program
This is the reason I missed writing an August update. Tabulation and report compilation took all of my time and attention, and reports were mailed out on September 10th as planned. Museums now have until October 8th to submit queries about their reports, after which we will shift into statistical analysis and more report writing for the overarching annual report. 

If you're wondering when your museum is next scheduled to be evaluated, check out the schedule on our website. Announcements about 2022 evaluations will be coming soon!

Training Opportunities
Our next Museum Studies Program course begins on October 27th as an online, 5-week series on Collections Management & Curatorship. The response has been fantastic and we currently have one spot left. This course is only offered every three years, so if you haven't yet registered and are interested in learning more about this aspect of museology, check out the website and snag that last spot. 

CollectiveAccess Updates
Work continues on the improved condition reporting feature, and we look forward to testing out the beta version soon. We've also been talking to our counterparts in other provinces, territories and states about different features that they are using in CollectiveAccess. Being able to share ideas and build on each other's work is such a great benefit of using an open-source system. 

As we've seen since the pandemic began, there is a lot of database activity right now. I know people are tired of hearing it, but it is so important for supervisors to be reviewing the work of staff and volunteers, and to reach out with any questions. We are still seeing dirty data being entered into the systems and this is resulting in inaccurate searches and frustrations for both museum users and NovaMuse users. 

Collectively, there are 341,738 artifact records and 303,344 associated media files in our members' databases. It is exciting to see the gap between records and images close, but again we need to remember that quality matters more than quantity. Here's how things stand regionally:
Southwest: 146,842 artifacts, 104,145 images
Central: 106,171 artifacts, 97,272 images
Northeast: 55,708 artifacts, 76,362 images
Cape Breton: 33,017 artifacts, 25,565 images

Your image lesson of the month is this African Nova Scotian gathering basket. This is a great example of the importance of taking your time setting up the photo, and also doing some post-photography editing. First and foremost, remember that you want the artifact to fill the frame as much as possible, while leaving a small and even frame of backdrop on each side. This photo not only has a lot of dead space on each side, but you can see the edges of the backdrop fabric and even some other objects at the edges of the frame. Not good. The placement of the basket is pretty good otherwise. The slight angle lets you see multiple sides and even a little bit into the basket. To improve the placement even more, I would have shot from a slightly higher angle to get a better glimpse inside. The colouring is also pretty good, but the placement of the lights has resulted in some heavy shadows, especially on the left side of the shot. Play around with the placement of your umbrella or other lights to minimize these shadows. The backdrop fabric (or paper depending on what you're using) should be free of wrinkles, so in this case the centre top of the fabric should have been pulled taut to remove the slouching wrinkles on the right and left sides. And finally, tuck that scale a bit closer to the lower left corner (also be consistent in placing it in the lower left!). You don't want it to be so close that it looks like it is touching the artifact, but it should be tucked close. Making all of these adjustments will result in a much more professional and high quality image.

Educational Partnerships & NovaMuseEd
In case you missed it, Sarah wrapped up a very successful summer internship in August. She wrote a lovely post to say "so long" and is now back in school. And as I mentioned above, this month we welcomed Cheyenne to ANSM. Cheyenne is a student at MSVU and has joined us to work on NovaMuseEd initiatives. She is teeming with ideas of her own, but is also very keen to partner with museums. She'll be working through our little stockpile so if you've shared files with us already, keep an eye on your inbox. If you haven't yet shared your school program ideas or files with us, now is a great time to get on board with NovaMuseEd. Teachers are actively using the resources and we'll be promoting NovaMuseEd at the October Social Studies Teachers Association conference. This is a great chance to highlight museums, collections, and what we have to offer. Cheyenne can be reached at our project[at] email account if you want to reach out and talk. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Introducing Cheyenne!

Hello everyone! My name is Cheyenne Hardy, and I am a 3rd year student taking Child and Youth Studies with a minor in psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University! I’ll be completing my practicum with ANSM for the next 10 weeks and I am so excited to get started! This will be my second practicum out of four. I completed my first placement this past summer at the Dartmouth Child Development Center.

I love volunteering and working with children. I do not have a background in museum work, but I sure enjoy visiting them. Working with the museums to create activities for young minds seems like the perfect combination to me!

I have already started exploring the NovaMuse website and I am eager to learn about the museums and their artifacts around my province. I have lived in Dartmouth my entire life and I absolutely love it, but I’m sure there are many gems in Nova Scotia that I’ve yet to discover. Through the NovaMuse website I’m not only learning about museums that are new to me, but I am excited to visit them someday! For now I’m looking forward to working with them during my placement.

At the Mount, I am very active member of our Student’s Union, our recruitment office, and I am the volunteer coordinator for the university’s soup kitchen and food bank. Outside of school, I’m a Guest Services Representative at the mall in Dartmouth, and I also work in a consignment shop in Fisherman’s Cove called Shore Things! In my free time, I love to travel, volunteer, play musical instruments and eat new foods. 

Thank you so much to the ANSM team for giving me such a warm welcome. I am positive it’s going to be a great couple of months working with everyone!

Friday, August 6, 2021

So long from Sarah!

Who knew 3 months would fly by so quickly! It is remarkable to look back at everything I was able to accomplish during my time with ANSM. I’m glad that some of my projects will leave an impression on the Nova Scotian museum community, since you have definitely had an impact on me and my learning! 

During my internship, I worked on a wide variety of projects. I created three new NovaMuseEd activities about domestic textiles – quilts, hooked rugs, and samplers, to be specific – and an extra activity about the Canadian Census. I was even able to translate one of my textile activities into French to connect to the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial curriculum! I also frequently worked with CollectiveAccess in a number of ways. First, I reviewed the CollectiveAccess manual and tutorial videos to identify where the materials should be updated. After becoming familiar with the system and its training materials, I created two new training modules for sites to use when training new staff or looking for a refresher. I also spent a lot of time cleaning data. By the end of my internship, I worked through 20 sites’ databases to review over 12,000 entities!

red = SME work
blue = entity clean-up
Besides this, I have been working with Karin to develop a new condition reporting feature on CollectiveAccess. Based on what our survey respondents said, hopefully the new condition reporting tab will be helpful! Throughout the last month of my internship, I have been working with SMEs to enrich domestic textile records on NovaMuse. In the end, with the help of my two SMEs, Scott Robson and Anita Price, I was able to enrich around 90 object records!

I learned so many things that will be helpful during my future career in museums – from how to answer tricky questions during site visits, to being able to write Facebook posts highlighting your collections. I worked on projects that made what I learned in class make so much sense, and I also learned things I never could have in a classroom. I look forward to using everything I learned and accomplished during my time with ANSM as I continue learning about and working in museums. I am so grateful to the ANSM team and to everyone who has supported my learning during my time “in” Nova Scotia. Now I know how many great museums there are to visit once I finally make it out to Nova Scotia! 

Friday, July 30, 2021

July 2021 Update

Marven and Barry evaluating
underground at the Cape
Breton Miners Museum
Museum Evaluation Program
Site Evaluations are done! Phew, what a ride. We had beautiful weather until the very last day, andreally enjoyed getting out and reconnecting with everyone in person. Evaluators said it was very noticeable when museums saw COVID as an opportunity, and that this year most museums were really prepared for their evaluation. I also noticed a lot of really great initiatives, interpretive elements, and other ideas that just had to be shared, so check out our Facebook album of this year's evaluations. You never know, you might pick up an idea or two for your own museum. Each image has a brief description so you'll know what caught our attention.

The next part of the evaluation process is to tabulate the results and compile them into reports for each of the 27 museums participating this year. Since this is a formal program, we will mail the reports out on September 10th, and when they are received you can request a pdf copy. 

Shannon from Dartmouth Heritage
Museum photographs a large rug
during a hub training session
Site Visits and Hub Training
It's been a very busy month of travels for Emma. She has now visited with staff and volunteers at 48 Advisory Service sites from Cape North to Yarmouth. Of these, 30 of them were in person and 18 were virtual. The final site visits will be completed in the next few weeks. While on the road she's digitized a wide range of domestic textiles, including many larger items - quilts, curtains, and large hooked rugs. We have one final hub training session on how to digitize domestic textiles taking place on Tuesday, August 3rd at 10am. It is 2 hours long and taking place via Zoom. If you are interested please register asap by clicking here.

CollectiveAccess Updates
Thanks to everyone who completed our survey on condition reporting. We got some great info. Sarah and Karin are now working with Seth at Whirl-i-gig to come up with a development plan for the condition reporting feature, and we hope to start the mock-up within the next few weeks. 

As we mentioned last month, with so much work happening in the databases over the summer, it is incredibly important to have good training and quality assurance measures in place. While most museums are doing well with this, today we found five that are not. Please please please keep an eye on the work of your staff and volunteers. It is so frustrating to not be able to find something in your database, and to have to spend time correcting work rather than moving forward. If you or they have questions, reach out to us any time. We are happy to help. 

Here is how things stand across the province:
Southwest: 144,187 artifacts, 99,715 images
Central: 105,767 artifacts, 93,379 images
Northeast: 54,350 artifacts, 73,820 images
Cape Breton: 32,788 artifacts, 24,765 images

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

Your image lesson of the month is a musical one. Here we have an accordion, an object that can be a bit tricky to photograph. So let's review our basic rules:
1 - Ensure your backdrop is smooth and clean. Wrinkles and creases are visible and detract from the overall image quality, so before you start your photography session be sure to iron the fabric and remove any lint, dust or dirt. 
2 - Photograph the object in its natural position. In this case, you would want to rotate the accordion so the handles/ends are on the left and right sides rather than top and bottom.
3 - The scale should not obscure the object nor the object the scale. The way this photo was set up, parts of the scale are hiding underneath the accordion. The scale should be pulled out from underneath so that it is included in the frame of the photo.
4 - Centre the object in the frame. Do you notice how your eye sort of drags to the right because the object isn't in the centre of the image? Be sure to include a small and even backdrop frame for the object. The scale gets incorporated into this frame. 
5 - Take additional photos as appropriate. In this case, If the accordion were still in good, flexible, playable condition (no I am not encouraging you to play the instruments in your collection), I would open it a bit to take a second shot that demonstrates how the bellows look while being played, curving it slightly as players do. There are also some nice decorative details in the bellows, so taking a close-up detail shot of the design would be worthwhile. And as usually, a front, back, and side view is a good idea for 3-dimensional objects.

As we mentioned last month, the end of the school year has resulted in a drop in NovaMuseEd use, but it is still very active. This month we added another learning activity, Storytelling Through Folk Art, which is proving to be quite popular. And Emma has been gathering a lot of school program files during her travels so we are well-positioned to keep adding to this resource. 

In publicity news, our two proposals to share NovaMuse at fall conferences have been approved! And oddly enough, they're on the same day! In October we will be presenting at both the Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers Conference and our joint conference with Museums, Archives and Libraries. We're really looking forward to getting the word out there and celebrating your and our hard work. 

SME enrichment of domestic textiles
Educational Partnerships
It's hard to believe how quickly the summer is flying by. Sarah's time with us is soon coming to a close, but she's still hard at work. This month she worked with two SMEs on blanket and hooked rug records and will be sending reports out to museums whose information was enriched. So far 28 records have been enriched from 11 museums. Keep in mind that when we do our SME work we simply follow the artifacts, so this is another reason to make sure that you have good records and good images in your database. 

Sarah has also continued with her entity reconciliation work and we've now completed 40 of 56 museums' databases! We're amazed by how much Sarah has accomplished this summer and to be honest we don't want her to leave! But we are always looking ahead, and next week will be setting up interviews for a fall intern from MSVU. Yes that's right, this means this student will be focusing their efforts on NovaMuseEd. With our stockpile of resources, ideas, and requests from teachers, there is no shortage of work for them to tackle. 

That's all for this month folks! Keep up the great work, stay tuned for more announcements and news, and stay dry out there. What a rainy Friday!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

June 2021 Update

Museum Evaluation Program
Hard to believe but next week we'll be hitting the road for site evaluations! Preparations have kept us very busy and as a result Karin has been struggling to stay on top of email messages. She's doing her best to catch up, but it is going to take some time. Thanks to everyone for their patience. 

Now that our year-long Deep Dive series is finished, we are looking forward to getting the recordings catalogued and added to our reference library. In the meantime, feel free to request any of the recordings and we'll send them along. You can see the full list here.

MAP Funding News - Input Needed!
We are very excited to share that our MAP grant application was approved and we are now ready to launch into the work. Emma has gotten a head start on the domestic textile digitization training, and Sarah is working with a fantastic SME on enriching domestic textile records. One of the other key aspects of the grant is to improve the condition report feature in CollectiveAccess. Some of you will know that this has bugged Karin for years, so it's very exciting to finally be able to address the serious limitations and turn it into a useful and helpful tool. This is where our users come in. Please complete this very brief survey to let us know your condition reporting needs. The survey will only be open until July 11th. 

Site Visits & Hub Training
Emma has been on the road a lot this month for site visits and the first hub training. We're looking forward to seeing all the new photos of domestic textiles. If you are a member of the Advisory Service and haven't yet signed up for textile digitization hub training, there are three more opportunities - Yarmouth, Dartmouth, and a virtual session. You can register here. Keep in mind that spots are limited due to COVID restrictions, so make sure to confirm your place asap. 

CollectiveAccess Updates
Now that summer staff are on deck, please be sure to provide them with the training they need to work in the database. They might be comfortable with the tech, but they probably don't know museum documentation standards and so need your help with this. Be sure to monitor their work as well. We've seen many situations where students end up making more work for the museum by entering really dirty data that requires an intense amount of cleanup and/or causes confusion when you run searches. Don't put yourself in those situations. Check in often, ask if they have questions, and review their work. As we said last month, we want to promote quality work over quantity.

Here's the monthly tally at the regional level:
Southwest: 142,011 artifacts, 97,015 images  
Central: 105,149 artifacts, 91,127 images  
Northeast: 54,153 artifacts, 72,821 images  
Cape Breton: 32,676 artifacts, 24,445 images  

On the NovaMuse front, we have finally resolved the daily synchronization issues and are happy (ecstatic?) to report that your new and updated records and media attachments are being added on a daily basis. This makes it even more important for you to train and monitor your summer staff's work. Your online presence is your professional reputation. 

Your image lesson of the month is an example of someone not checking their work. This wasn't my mistake in including the photo; someone uploaded a sideways image to the database. This is obviously something that should be seen and corrected immediately, so keep your eye on your images. Certain photo editing software rotates images when you transfer from the camera to the computer so be sure to keep your eye on this and adjust accordingly. The other issue with this photo is that it is an artwork and should be photographed straight-on. My preference is to do this once with the scale and once without the scale. The image without the scale becomes the primary image for NovaMuse and the one with the scale is your quick size reference.

We've passed a milestone with NovaMuseEd use; 2000+ downloads. This is amazing. We are starting to see a bit of a drop off in downloads which is to be expected. Schools are out for the summer, and teachers/users don't need to download the same resources multiple times. We continue to work on new learning activities with partner museums, with Cheryl and Sarah being our ANSM leads on this. We currently have 9 activities in draft form and look forward to announcing their release. 

Thanks to everyone who has been sharing their educational program info with Emma during her travels. We are stockpiling this info in our office so that we can continue to build this amazing resource. If you haven't yet jumped on the NovaMuseEd bandwagon, it's not too late. Just email Emma and let her know you're interested and we'll take it from there.

Looking ahead, we have submitted a proposal to deliver a virtual workshop on NovaMuseEd at the Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers Conference in October. Keep your fingers crossed - this would be a great way to get the word out even more. 

Educational Partnerships
Sarah is tackling an impressive amount of work this summer. Entity reconciliation cleaning is going very quickly, with 32 museum databases done. She's also helping with site visit and evaluation preparations, and has just started working with our textile SME to review hooked rug records. And she'll be taking the lead on our condition report feature work for the next month while evaluations take place. 

We have also begun preliminary talks about hosting a fall intern. We love the fresh perspectives and ideas that interns bring to ANSM, and love helping them to gain experience as they prepare for their careers. So again, fingers crossed that this all works out. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

May 2021 Update

Learning Opportunities
Interpretation I: Public Programming is almost done, and then we'll be taking a break from museum studies program courses until the Fall. As a reminder, I'll be delivering Collections Management and Curatorship in October/November following the same online, five-week format that we've been using for other courses. If you need to talk to your board about registering, now is a great time to start. 

Emma has contacted Advisory Service members about this summer's hub training sessions on domestic textile digitization. Due to restrictions two of these sessions will be virtual and three will be in person. If you haven't yet signed up, please do it asap. If you have any questions, contact Emma. Thanks for your understanding as we've had to change our original plans.

Museum Evaluation Program
May 7th was the deadline for Documentation Review submissions and it was great to see how organized and complete everyone's files were. The review and scoring process is going to take some time, but is coming along well. Briefing notes have also been started, which will help site evaluators get to know the museums before they arrive. With the release of the province's reopening plan we are looking forward to finally visiting all the museums we had hoped to visit last summer. 

There will be one more Deep Dive on June 10th, part two of our series on the Site Evaluation. Whether you're being evaluated this year or another year, this is a great chance to learn more about the site evaluation and the questions and issues relating to it. 

Site Visits
Emma is excited to get out on the road and meet you all! She has most arrangements settled by now, and has already been actively visiting virtually with some museums. As usual, these visits include a variety of subjects. We're still looking to build stockpiles of "Made in NS" resources (info on local artists, manufacturers etc.) and school programs (old or current program documents, ideas, interesting artefacts etc.) for NovaMuseEd. We're also hoping to have some time to digitize a few domestic textiles and will be in touch beforehand to talk more about the discussion agenda. 

CollectiveAccess Updates
We migrated a museum's old database into CollectiveAccess this month, which is where the bulk of new records come from in our monthly tally. This month 4,677 new records and 1,956 new images were added across the province, giving us totals of 332,492 records and 279,723 images. As we mentioned last month, with summer students being hired, and museums using a combination of work-from-home and socially distanced work, be sure to promote quality work over quantity.

Here's how things stand regionally:
Southwest: 141,438 artefacts, 96,419 images
Central: 104,862 artefacts, 88,817 images
Northeast: 53,580 artefacts, 70,349 images
Cape Breton: 32,612 artefacts, 24,138 images

Congrats to the Northeast region for adding the most artefact records this month, and to the Central region for adding the most images.

Your image lesson of the month is another look at domestic textiles. Here's an adorable doily that is a perfect example of someone chasing quantity rather than quality. Let's look at the setup. Even with the dark background fabric, I can see wrinkles and tell that the photographer didn't take the time to flatten the fabric. Before you start photographing, make sure that your backdrop is free of wrinkles, lint, dirt, etc. For the scale, remember that it should be in the lower left corner of the frame, and that it needs to be straight in alignment. Do not move it around to different corners. Being consistent is a demonstration of your professionalism. Turning our attention to the doily, the id tag should have been removed as this is not part of the object itself. Most often the accession number will not be visible because it will be on the back of an object, but when tags like this are used, if the tag cannot be hidden from view, remove it and then reattach it after you take the photo. Once the tag is removed, place the item in its natural position. In this case, flat on the backdrop. You can tell from the uneven edges that this circular doily is not flat. It might not look bad to your eye, but in the photo it is very noticeable. Moving to the camera, frame the doily so that it is the centre of the photo and your scale is part of the frame rather than the focus. And finally, crop out any dead space so that you have an equal frame on all sides of the object. Trust me, it will be well worth the extra two minutes of work.

As I mentioned above, we are keen to continue our NovaMuseEd work. Sarah has already completed a draft learning activity relating to the census. Cheryl is still volunteering with us and is working on a folk art activity. And we have plans to develop at least one activity related to domestic textiles later this summer. The variety in these resources continues to amaze and amuse me. And as we can see in this graph, teachers are using these resources more and more all the time. So whether you've got a successful school program already or if you're new to the idea of sharing resources online, we want to work with you on this. Museums have been saying for years that help is needed to connect with schools in new ways and we're hearing from teachers how very helpful these resources are to them, especially during a pandemic. So let's keep building on this momentum. If you are interested in working with us on this, let Emma know.

Educational Partnerships
In case you missed it, at the beginning of the month we welcomed Sarah to team ANSM. Sarah is tackling a variety of work and sitting in on some virtual visits since she's working remotely from Ontario. From data cleaning to learning activities, she has hit the ground running. One of the tasks that she's preparing to launch into is...

SME Work
That's right! We love pairing interns with SMEs, and this summer is no exception. Since our digitization focus is on domestic textiles, we have been talking with a textile SME about reviewing and improving related content in everyone's databases. We are still hammering our details, but stay tuned for more announcements because this is gonna be good. There are so many beautiful textiles out there and we look forward to beautifying their records. 

Keeping Fresh
My evaluation course continues and my notes about MEP improvements are getting a little longer every week. 

This week will be the last session in the Burnout Resiliency series and let me tell you, museum workers are not alone in feeling burnt out. The sessions still feel like weekly therapy, and I am hopeful that I can not only apply the lessons I've learned into ANSM's  operational reality, but share some lessons with our members as well. 

I also took part in a Decolonization webinar series that feels especially powerful now as we mourn the loss/discovery of 215 children in BC. As museums, we have a responsibility to document and share the past, including horrors like this. We must be actively looking at how we can contribute to reconciliation and healing. One of webinars spoke about how to take action. If you're feeling compelled to do something and don't know where to begin, check out this website.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Introducing Sarah!

Hello! I’m Sarah, and I will be joining ANSM over the next 12 weeks as an intern. I’m a graduate student at the University of Toronto completing the Master of Museum Studies program. Participating in an internship during the summer between my two years of study was one of the major draws of this program, so I am really looking forward to working with ANSM this summer!

Before starting the Master of Museum Studies program, I earned my Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto with a double major in French Linguistics and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and a minor in English (if you think it’s a mouthful to read, you can only imagine how challenging it was to say out loud!). I decided to join the museum world after volunteering at the Royal Ontario Museum and discovering it was the perfect environment to combine my love of learning, teaching, and caring for objects. I am so excited to learn more about collections management and educational/public programming from the ANSM staff and its member museums this summer.

I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area for my whole life, and I will be completing my internship virtually from the Toronto area during the summer. While I’ll miss the opportunity to explore a new province, my remote internship will give me an even better reason to visit Nova Scotia once I can! I am so excited to get started with ANSM!



Friday, April 30, 2021

April 2021 Update

Learning Opportunities
We wrapped up Museums 101 this week, and while it was a great group with great engagement, to be honest it made me miss our in-person courses. I missed all the casual chats, networking during breaks, and the flexibility to shift gears and spend more time on topics of interest without having a two hour limit to our time. But we made it work. Thanks to everyone who joined me!

Next up is Interpretation I: Public Programming, facilitated by Virginia Stephen. This course will be delivered over five weeks, in two hour sessions held on Wednesday afternoons. Registration closes on Monday, so now is the time to sign up. To learn more and to register, click here.

We've also had some questions about fall course offerings. I will be facilitating our Collections Management and Curatorship course following the same online, five-week format this fall, but dates are not yet set. Stay tuned to the Beacon and our Facebook page for more info, where we also share other learning opportunities that cross our desks.

For those museums that receive funding from CMAP, you should have received a letter about this year's funding. It also mentioned that there is a new interim program officer and he is holding virtual office hours on Monday to get to know you, answer your questions, and share info. And this new officer is no other than ANSM's former Administrative Assistant Ian Mullan. Ian worked with us about 10 years ago and is excited to be in this new role. If you need help connecting with him let us know and we will help you out.

Museum Evaluation Program
Given the current lockdown, we have extended the deadline for Documentation Review submissions by one week - now due May 14th at 1159pm. Most of the museums have already submitted their files for review, but we felt like this was something we could do to alleviate some stress and pressure from those that now find themselves wrapping things up under lockdown. 

We have two Deep Dives left, both looking at the Site Evaluation. We also have recordings of all the previous sessions, so if you missed one, just say the word and we will send along the link. To see the full list of Deep Dives and register for the final two, click here.

Site Visits
Emma is in the midst of finalizing in person site visits for this summer. If you receive an email asking to confirm a date, please respond promptly. You all know what a juggling act this is, so the sooner we can settle the dates/times the better. Her goal is to visit half of the Advisory Service museums in person and meet with the other half virtually. This approach allows for better support to all sites over the course of the summer season, especially during this crazy times. Those who received virtual visits last year will be top priority for in-person visits this year. The lockdown has meant that there is less time for visits, and we know that changes may occur suddenly, but she will give as much warning as possible if the schedule needs to change. We really appreciate your understanding and encourage you to reach out to Emma with any questions at any time.

Hub Training
We have not yet heard about our MAP grant application, but are hoping positive news arrives soon. The plan this year is to provide training and support on the digitization and enrichment of domestic textiles (textiles used in the home). We hope to deliver five in-person training sessions and one virtual. The lockdown threw us for a bit of a curve, but details will be announced shortly so stay tuned!

CollectiveAccess Updates
We saw some ups and downs in database work this month. Remember that deaccessioned items should not be deleted from the database. You want to be able to pull up that info at the drop of a hat. This is also a good time to remind everyone of the importance of training and reviewing summer students' work. We have a number of training tools you can use to support your internal orientation, so please don't hesitate to reach out to Emma for help.
We currently have 327,815 artifacts and 277,767 images in our collective databases. That's a lot of items and a lot of content. There are ample opportunities for data clean up, research, and enrichment so let's all commit to the tortoise's approach of slow and steady winning the race. Let's take our time and get things done. Here are the regional numbers:
Southwest: 140,905 artifacts, 96,251 images
Central: 104,731 artifacts, 88,086 images
Northeast: 49,645 artifacts, 69,860 images
Cape Breton: 32,534 artifacts, 23,570 images

Your image lesson of the month is a sneak peek at domestic textiles. We talk a lot about photographing things in their natural position, and so here's a look at a nifty hooked rug. The image is clear and the scale is positioned well, but photographing a 2-dimensional rug as if it is a 3-dimensional item doesn't do justice to the artistry here. We can also tell from the dogs that there is a top and bottom of the rug, but it was photographed from a side instead. If I were to retake this photo, I would shoot it straight on with the middle dog standing in its natural position. It is basically the same approach as photographing a painting. Get above the object and shoot down. Can't wait to see all the great images from this summer's work.

We continue to see a very positive uptake on NovaMuseEd. So far this year we've had 1,164 downloads of the resources, with an increasing number every single month. This new service is proving especially helpful now as schools are teaching virtually. In Wednesday's final Museums 101 session I highlighted the power of this program. While a single museum may have a small number of resources to offer teachers, joining forces on this initiative means that teachers have a wide variety of resources to use, from a wide variety of communities and museums. This is fantastic. As I've said in the past, it gives us a renewed sense of purpose for our collections database work, and for NovaMuse. Emma will be highlighting this initiative during her site visits. In the meantime, I would encourage you all to think about what ideas or programs (old or current) you have that could work with NovaMuseEd. Let's keep offering up more services and resources to our educators.

Artefacts Canada Refresh
It is that time of year again, when we refresh our records on Artefacts Canada. I am gradually running these exports, so all of your work of the past six months will soon be ready to send up to CHIN's team. If anyone hasn't yet given us permission to run these refreshes for you, feel free to do so. We're happy to take this off your plate.

Educational Partnerships
This month we said goodbye to Devlin (yes he got cake and a rock-based parting gift) and mused over the amazing amount of work he accomplished while with us. As we mentioned last month, we will also be hosting an intern over the summer. Unfortunately this latest outbreak has meant that we have shifted her internship to a virtual one, but we are looking at involving her in a wide variety of tasks and projects so that you'll still be able to interact with her and she'll get to know you and your museums. Keep an eye out for her during virtual site visits and hub training. Sarah starts on Monday, so stay tuned for her introduction!

Keeping Fresh
This month I started a 10 week course on essential evaluation skills, facilitated by the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Evaluation Society. It's a lot of work but so far I'm enjoying it and ideas are swirling in my head about our Museum Evaluation Program. 

This week I started a six week series on Burnout Resiliency from the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia. We know this is a major issue in our field, and I don't mind saying that the first session really felt like therapy. I think it's going to be excellent learning for professionally and personally. Who isn't feeling a little burnt out right now?