Thursday, January 6, 2022

December 2021 Update

Museum Evaluation Program
As a reminder, for any museums eligible and interested in applying for Accreditation, the deadline was extended to January 14th. This is a firm deadline though. The Accreditation Panel will be meeting shortly thereafter to review applications. 

Some strong preliminary work has been done on revisions to the program, and we're feeling excited about the new and shifting directions. ANSM staff meet with Culture and Heritage Division (CCTH) on Thursday and the MEPWG is meeting Monday to continue these discussions. More info will be shared very soon. 

Collective Access Updates
Our members across the province have continued to improve the database over the month of December with an additional 1252 artifact records and 2039 media files being added to CollectiveAccess. Overall, there is a total of 345,147 artifact records and 311,048 associated media files in our members' databases. Great work everyone. Let's keep that progress rolling into the new year! 

Here's a breakdown of the numbers by region:

Northeast: 57,561 artifacts, 78,605 images
Southwest: 147,526 artifacts, 105,490 images
Cape Breton: 33,017 artifacts, 25,563 images
Central: 107,043 artifacts, 101,390 images

Artifact Lesson of the Month 
One of the things that can sometimes happen working with collections is that we rush to get something done from entering information onto the database to taking a photograph. What we should remind ourselves is that it's okay to take our time to produce a top quality database record. It's okay to take the time to do things like research the markings on the bottom of a plate and it's okay to spend time preparing to capture a high quality photograph.

Museum artifact - Orange tin of elastoplast extension plaster. Photograph taken at angle preventing easy reading of label.
This is an example of a photograph that could have used a bit more time to prepare. When we're photographing our artifacts remember that they aren't just for our eyes only but can be seen by individuals all over the world. If you didn't know we even link related artifacts to learning resources on NovaMuseEd which means that our member's artifacts are on occasion used in classrooms across the province. 

Let's dissect this photo a bit shall we? We can start with a huge positive here - can you guess what it is? If you said it was that nice clean background then I would give you a slice of cake. What we like to see in photographs is a nice solid, neutral background that is free from debris, from wrinkles, etc. and one that contrasts and lets the artifact stand out. Now let's discuss the things that could have been done a bit differently to give it that 'wow' factor. What we wanted here was a nice 45° angle where we have a 3D object - even though that would mean showing only one side of the tin, the photographer could have simply repeated the process to document the entire artifact. The positioning of the scale is also a bit wonky. We want to place it next to the object (we recommend the lower left corner so everything on NovaMuse is consistent) without obscuring any part of the artifact. We also want the entire scale in the photograph as it helps us to gauge the size of the object itself. The clarity of the photograph could have also been a touch better so that the lettering was a bit less blurry - this could have been improved with the use of a tripod.

Don't forget that ANSM has a photo kit that can be borrowed free of charge at any time of the year. If you're interested in taking this opportunity please get in touch with me at services[at]

Two women (Cheyenne and Karin) with a blue cake
NovaMuseEd saw a flourishing of activity this month as five new learning resources were published, including two new resources in French. Over the course of the month NovaMuseEd saw 210 resource downloads - which is a 56% increase over December 2020. While there was a wide variety of resources downloaded over the course of December, the most popular was the colouring page "Lighthouse - Halifax Harbour" with 10 downloads. This month we also said goodbye to our MSVU intern, Cheyenne Hardy. Over the course of her time with ANSM Cheyenne did a tremendous amount of work from helping to complete 10 new learning resources and presenting at the 2021 SSTA (Social Studies Teachers Association) Virtual Conference to creating a Teacher Questionnaire. While we celebrated with cake and high fives we want to once again thank Cheyenne for all of her hard work and wish her the best moving forward.

Educational Partnerships
We are preparing to launch our annual Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship partnership project on January 18th, when students will adopt a museum and do some review and research work of database records. This is a favourite project of ours and we are excited to see what the students discover this year. Thanks to the eight participating museums for opening the door to this wonderful learning opportunity.

Goodbye 2021!
It's been quite a year, with highs, lows, and plenty of changes. Kudos to everyone for navigating life in a pandemic and for working with us to server the many and varied communities of Nova Scotia. Your dedication is inspiring.

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