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!