In case you missed it, we've decided to continue with virtual training this year. We've just kicked this off with a 3-part webinar series called How to be an Ally: Museum version. Traditional knowledge keeper Jeff Ward is leading the discussions, and we're happy to say that because it sold out so quickly, we'll be doing a second series with Jeff in the Spring. So if you missed this round, keep your eye out for another announcement. This is a good one folks...you don't want to miss out.
In February we'll be hosting a CCI workshop/webinar on the Care of Textiles. If you have textiles in your collection, this is a great chance for you to learn from the experts.
We are in year 2 of our Museum Studies Program rotation and that means Museums 101, Collections Management & Curatorship, and Interpretation I: Public Programming are on offer this year. We are still settling on dates but there will be two in the spring and one in the fall. If you need to obtain board approval to participate, now is a good time to start conversations around your training budget and priorities.
The best way to hear about upcoming training opportunities is to subscribe to the Beacon and/or follow us on Facebook. Even with webinars we have limited spaces available and they are filling up very quickly.
Museum Evaluation Program
As I mentioned before the holidays, we are seeing an increase in uploading which is really encouraging. I'm reviewing these submissions as they come in, but as you can imagine it takes a bit of time to read through all the files and information. So if you are waiting for feedback, please be patient, but also feel free to check in if you're wondering where you're at in the queue.
Deep Dives continue on the 2nd Thursdays of the month. The next session takes place on February 11th will take a look at the appeals process - both for evaluation and accreditation. This session will pick up on some information that was referenced in the last session on using your evaluation report but get into the nuts and bolts of ensuring that your evaluation results are accurate and your report will serve your museum well. Click here to learn more about Deep Dives, including how to register.
We opened the call for site evaluators this month, and the deadline to apply is February 12th. If you or someone you know has been working in/with museums for 10 years or more, you might want to consider working with us in this capacity. It's a great learning and giving opportunity. You can download the job description and application from from our website.
The biggest news here is that we have a new contributor to NovaMuse! Devlin put in a lot of hours this month on preparing the Northumberland Fisheries Museum's database for online sharing. It was a great way for him to learn how CollectiveAccess works, and he's a born collections manager so it was a perfect task for him.
The number of new records and images, not to mention all the editing of existing records, continues to be really impressive. This month 1,351 new records and 6,568 new images were added. It's amazing to see all the image placeholders be filled with actual images of the artifacts - congrats to everyone for the great work in this. Collectively, Advisory Service members now have 326,669 artifacts documented with 266,976 of these records having images attached.
Regionally, here's how these numbers play out:
Southwest: 142,400 artifacts, 95,047 images
Central: 104,303 artifacts, 84,359 images
Northeast: 47,859 artifacts, 65,163 images
Cape Breton: 32,107 artifacts, 22,407 images
In case you missed it, Devlin Lemoine has joined us from Algonquin College for his internship. Thanks to everyone who welcomed him via Facebook and blog comments. We've set an ambitious work plan but as we've seen with the Northumberland Fisheries Museum database, he's already proving that he's up to the many tasks.
Made in Nova Scotia
With some extra help around we're again picking up on our Made in Nova Scotia work. The Nova Scotia Museum has partnered with us to share George MacLaren's curatorial files on cabinetmakers, which are proving to be a treasure trove of new info. Devlin is reconciling these files with our Made in NS dataset, and then searching for and linking related artifacts from NovaMuse. As you can imagine, the scope of this work is so enormous that it will never be done. There will also be new information and links to make...just like collections management work.
This is a good time to remind everyone to use the Made in Nova Scotia field in your database. This is the lookup field that links your object's record to the profile of the manufacturer or maker. Taking this extra step is so important because it makes the content on NovaMuse much richer, helps you to see connections with other museums, and helps to bring makers' works back together. And you can browse on the Made in NS links within your own system, so is a very useful research or exhibit development flag.
We've slowed down a bit of learning activity development, but are still adding more resources to NovaMuseEd. For anyone who's been around for a few years, you might remember our QR code project. We created and repurposed a lot of multimedia content about local stories and artifacts for that project, and now we're adding that content to NovaMuseEd for teachers since they asked for multimedia content and oral histories. We are on the cusp of adding our 100th resource and laying the groundwork for many more. If you haven't yet, reach out to your local schools and let them know about this new, free resource. And ask what resources would be most helpful to the teachers and students. Let's make sure that this initiative continues to be truly collaborative.
Devlin is preparing for a new SME partnership that will look at geological specimens, fossils, and stone tools...basically looking at the rocks in collections. Ken Adams, retired geologist and curator of the Fundy Geological Museum, will be working with Devlin on this project. We've never looked at geospecimens before so it will be really interesting to hear Ken's insights and advice on improving our documentation practices. As with all our SME work, we'll reach out to any museum whose information can be updated, so stay tuned and watch your inboxes.
One of my goals for this year is to branch out and participate in a wide variety of learning - evaluation methods, non-profit issues, collections management and databases, etc. In addition to our first How to be an Ally webinar, I participated in Propel Nonprofits' Leadership Transitions webinar which was quite interesting, partially because I don't think museums follow the transition timeline and practices that were discussed. It's no secret that museums struggle with succession planning. This webinar showed me that we need to completely shift how we think about our institutional leaders.
Another way that I've been trying to keep fresh (another work plan goal) is to share more about what we do. So this month I submitted two conference session proposals (fingers crossed they get accepted). And we've had two articles released about our work - one talking about NovaMuse and our Advisory Service and the other focusing on our recent Watercolour World partnership.