Almost two years ago, I was invited to join the Collections Management Committee (CMC) here at the Museum. Eager to help where I could, I happily accepted the invitation. After attending my first meeting, I wondered what I had gotten myself into!
I heard about ‘Individual Collections’, ‘Proper Archival Storage Materials’, ‘Digital Archive’, ‘Acquisition Decisions’, ‘Accessioning’, ‘Photo Process’, ‘Audio/Visual Items’… my head was swimming and I wondered at the time how I could contribute! “What exactly is Collections Management?” I asked myself.
Collections are the foundation of our Museum. Visitors judge our Museum based on the quality of our collections, so in order to maintain the integrity of our Museum’s ‘holdings’, our collections have to reflect the purposes of our Museum. With that in mind, we have three categories of collections:
- Permanent Collection: This consists of the majority of artefacts that are kept by our Museum for exhibition purposes.
- Archival Collection: This consists of certain documentary material kept primarily for research purposes (e.g. books, publications, records, maps, photographs…)
- Educational Collection: This consists of any artefacts kept for hands-on demonstrations, handling by the public, or similar functional roles in the operation of the Museum.
When people bring in donations, a form is completed, indicating information about the donation as well as the donor. Donations are set aside, ready to present to the Collections Management Committee at our regular meetings. This is called ‘Accessioning’ and there is always great conversation about each item; each item is celebrated as a donation and discussion centres around the importance of the history of the item as well as how it might best be used.
If you’ve followed my posts on Ernest Ivany or William Arthur Hammond, you might recall that the letters came to our Museum as donations. These letters have helped us understand life during the First and Second World Wars, at home and abroad. We’ve been able to share history with you and we’ve also been able to connect with their families. And we hope we’ve shared with you the importance of bringing donations into our Museum.
As for what I got myself into? A deeper, more appreciative understanding of the work our Museum does, along with a deeper, more appreciative understanding of our history!
Please come into our Museum and check us out! Let us help you gain a deeper, more appreciative understanding of our work and our shared history!