Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 2021 Update

Training Opportunities
Our year of online training continues, and today we are launching Museums 101 with a very full and diverse class. It's great to see new board members, staff and volunteers sign up for professional development. Since the pandemic started, we have seen a big shift in who is participating in training opportunities and we hope that this trend continues for the long-term. There is an increase in engagement that is definitely resulting in stronger museums across the province. 

Next up in online learning is Interpretation I: Public Programming. Registration opens next week so be sure to check out the info sheet and talk with your colleagues about this opportunity and who might want to participate. This course is only offered once every three years.

Museum Evaluation Program
The site evaluation schedule is next up on the MEP agenda. With so much on the go and so many moving parts, it is taking a little bit longer than the previous few years, but it will be ready for release soon. We will also be releasing the evaluation teams and biographies at the same time. So if you are being evaluated this year, you'll know when your team will be on-site and who your team will be. 

Deep Dives continue, the next one being a tutorial on using the FTP site to upload files for Documentation Review. This takes place on April 8th at 1:30pm. Click here to see all the Deep Dives on offer, and to register.

Ever moving forward, we have been investigating options for a new file submission platform and found a great solution that is fresher, easier, and more flexible. So this year will be the last year that we use the current ftp site. The new platform will be up and running for next year's evaluations.

Nomenclature News
There is some pretty big news in the cataloguing world. has moved away from the primary term, qualifying term format (e.g. Chair, Rocking) to a natural word order format (e.g. Rocking Chair). This obviously has a big impact on our work, on our databases, and on NovaMuse. IMAC (the info management and access committee) will be meeting next week and this is going to be a big point of discussion. With 330,000 artifacts in the databases, this represents A LOT of work. Stay tuned...

CollectiveAccess Updates
Impressive database work continues. This month 944 records and 4,102 images were added, collectively bringing us to 329,439 artefacts and 276,479 images. Regionally, this breaks down as follows:
Southwest: 142,875 artifacts, 97,093 images
Central: 104,621 artifacts, 87,243 images
Northeast: 49,429 artifacts, 68,752 images
Cape Breton: 32,514 artifacts, 23,391 images

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

We have a couple new tools to tell you about this month. First, in your database there is a new search function called "Search Builder". This is a new tool that lets you easily search by various fields in complex ways. We will do up a little video tutorial on the new feature, but in the meantime here are the basic steps. Go to Find - Objects - Search Builder. 
Using the dropdown list, select which field you want to search for, and then what kind of info you want to be included (you can use
qualifiers such as text begins with, ends with, contains, is empty or not empty, etc.) Clicking on the AND button means that each of the elements you included in the search must be part of a record. Using the OR button means that any of the elements you included could be part of the record, but the elements do not have to be found in the same record. In my screenshot example, I have built a search looking for chairs that were made in Nova Scotia. 

We have also worked with the CollectiveAccess in Canada group and Seth at Whirl-i-gig to create a new CollectiveAccess in Canada support forum. This does not replace your ANSM support. We are still here and happy to help you whenever you need anything. But since there are so many users in Canada now, it was decided that a place for everyone to chat might be beneficial. You will need to sign up for the forum in order to contribute to discussions. 

Educational Partnerships
Devlin's internship is nearing its end and he is working hard to wrap up various projects. It's amazing how quickly the time has passed. We are also pleased to share that we'll be hosting an intern over the summer as well. We always enjoy these experiences, both in meeting emerging professionals and in working on varied projects with them. We often feel like we do our coolest projects when we are hosting interns.

Our annual Fleming College project is wrapping up and I will be circulating the students' reports within the next two weeks. Thanks again to all the museums for participating and for giving the students to chance to work with your collections. 

Made in Nova Scotia
Devlin has wrapped up the stockpile of Made in NS resources, adding/editing info for 150 makers, predominantly from Cumberland, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties. As we start to think about summer site visits, if anyone has info on local makers we'd love to see what it is and make sure the info is included in this database. And be sure to remind staff and volunteers about how to link items to their maker!

We released three new resources this month - a learning activity on Printing Technology and Creative Writing, Geology Crossword and Geology Word Search. The latter two relate to Devlin's SME work (more on that below), and he's now putting the final touches on a geology-related learning activity as well. Cheryl is also putting some finishing touches on a learning activity with the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, focusing on oral history and Helen Creighton's work and legacy. We were musing again this morning about how incredibly different each of these resources are. The creativity of the museums that have been working with us on this initiative is really inspiring. 

In other fun news, we had a great meeting with a local marketing company that will be helping us to develop a marketing plan for NovaMuseEd. The plan is to have this ready by the end of the summer so that more and more educators will be aware of the site and able to integrate it into their teaching plans. 

As ever, if anyone hasn't yet partnered with us on this and is interested in learning more, reach out any time. 

SME Work
Ken Adams continues to meet with Devlin to work through geospecimen records. They are going to try and meet one more time, after which Devlin will be updating the last few records in databases and circulating mini reports to all the museums whose collections are impacted by the work. So far they've worked through 100+ records so this is yet another example of the importance of working with subject matter experts. It takes a bit of time but you can learn so much. Important corrections and additions can be made, and we look forward to sharing the results of this work with the museums. Having said that, this project once again highlighted the need for high quality images from multiple angles. 

Keeping Fresh
It feels like the work pace is increasing these days, but we are still trying to take advantage of virtual learning when we can. This month was no exception. First up for me was a webinar from Wild Apricot - The 6 Legal Challenges of Taking your Nonprofit Virtual. This was a really interesting look at how nonprofits have been shifting to online delivery and things to think about. 

My evaluation training of the month was from the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Evaluation Society - Building Evaluation Capacity of an Organization in Times of Turbulence. My biggest takeaway from this lunchtime session was the potential for evaluation to be more proactive and future-focused; to ask questions about how those being evaluated can accomplish their stated goals or move forward in a positive way. 

The final training of the month was an Indigenous Collections Symposium hosted our friends at the Ontario Museums Association. Hearing elders and speakers from across the entire country speak about ancestor objects, the colonial legacy of museums, reconciliation, community ownership, and much more, was fascinating to say the least. It was encouraging to hear about the movement that has been made, but there is so much farther to go, so many relationships to build, and so much more to learn.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Introducing Ms. Lang

Hi! I’m Emma Lang, the new Membership Services Coordinator. My first experience working in a museum was in the summer of 2000 as a 14 year old hoop-skirt-wearing house museum volunteer in Concord Massachusetts. From that moment on, I was hooked. Since then I’ve worked in museums as varied as the Shetland Museum and Archive, National Museum of American History, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Los Angeles Maritime Museum (where I was Curator), Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic (Assistant Curator and Registrar), and worked as a freelance exhibit developer and interpretive planner in Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years, I’ve done everything from collections management, exhibit and interpretive development to programming, and like many of us, I’ve also worked in gift shops, manned the front desk, and helped with building maintenance--ask me about what to do when sea lions decide to move into your museum’s wharf!

I have an MA in Museum Studies from George Washington University (2010) and will have completed an MA Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland this spring. Born and raised in Massachusetts I love discovering the similarities and differences between New England and Atlantic Canada and exploring the history, culture and amazing natural beauty of the region. 

I’m excited to put my years of experience in the museum world to use supporting ANSM members and I look forward to getting to know all of you.  Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or give me a call if there’s any way that I can help.