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.