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?

Friday, April 9, 2021

Adios from Devlin

It is hard to believe that I started this internship at ANSM 12 weeks ago already and that it is already coming to a close.  I have learned so much in my time here and am so glad that in these pandemic days I was able to come out to Halifax and experience some of the city and culture of the east coast.  I had the opportunity to work on many different projects while I was here and contribute to the museum community in, I hope, a meaningful way.

Museums that I helped
with data improvements
My biggest project involved learning the ins and outs of the CollectiveAccess database, in which I spent a ton of time data cleaning entities for a number of museums, working on the imports for Northumberland Fisheries Museum, and learning the process for database migration into CollectiveAccess.  I also got the opportunity to develop a geology based learning activity, word search and crossword for NovaMuseEd, and work with a geologist to enhance the geospecimen entries of a number of museums throughout NS.  I also spent time working with the collections at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the HRM warehouse getting some hands on time with some local collections.

This has been a great experience for me and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to intern here at ANSM, I look forward to taking the skills I have learned into future collections.

Have a great rest of 2021; I look forward to coming back to Nova Scotia!

See you later,