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Category Archives: Conservation

Raise the Sails!

The Nonsuch at the Manitoba Museum is the largest artefact (in size) in the collection. It is unique in that it is an artefact that visitors get to walk aboard, touch and literally step into a piece of history. Another interesting part is that the Nonsuch is a real life ship that was once sailed by a crew and it is because of this that the Conservators at TMM care…

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The Value of Professional Conferences

I went to the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC) this year, as I try to do every year. It is held in late spring in a different location in Canada, alternating between different regions of the country. It is not a large conference, with attendance ranging from 70 or so in the smaller cities, to about 150 or even 200 in larger cities such as Toronto….

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A Once Sticky Situation

When performing inventory and maintenance in the museum galleries, the collections and conservation staff sometimes discover things which are questionable museum practices. This month while working in The Sod House exhibit, we discovered some artefacts had a substance resembling adhesive on the bottom of them. After discussions with senior staff it was found that in the 1970s when the exhibit had originally been an open exhibit, not enclosed behind a…

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From Acquisition to Exhibit – One Artefact’s Journey

When the Museum receives an artefact or specimen, very often the donor asks or expects that the new acquisition will be put immediately on display. This, more than 90% of the time, is NOT the case. The reasons are various, but mostly it comes down to scarce resources – of staff, time and money. It takes resources to process the new donation; it takes resources to prepare it for exhibit;…

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Artefacts in strange places

Recently, Collections and Conservation staff spent some time in two of our more unusual storage locations, in order to improve the conditions of artefacts there. Due to overcrowding in TMM’s climate-controlled collection storage areas, there are artefacts located in less than ideal conditions. Staff worked on several artefacts in these areas, cataloguing, condition reporting, photographing and finally covering them up with polyethylene after a good vacuuming. The most important factors…

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Adventures of a Conservator in Training

As a requirement for the Collections Conservation and Management program at Fleming College in Peterborough Ontario, all students are required to participate in a 15 week internship at an institution of their choice. I was elated to learn that my request to carry out my internship at The Manitoba Museum was accepted. In September I arrived in Winnipeg eager to learn, and The Manitoba Museum did not disappoint. During my…

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Department staff ramp up gallery work

The Collections and Conservation Department conducts ongoing maintenance and inventory activities in the Museum Galleries. Most of this work is done during our winter season, when the Museum is closed on Mondays. Recently, we changed our procedures, amalgamating tasks that formerly were done separately. Now, when working on an exhibit area, all collections management and conservation tasks are completed at the same time: condition checks, cleaning, photography, cataloguing and inventory…

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How to disassemble an artefact

Recently, conservator Lisa May worked with the Museum’s Operational Services staff to smoothly disassemble an artefact so it could be moved out of a basement storage area. The artefact is a display case that came from a prominent Winnipeg business, Winnipeg Music Supply, which closed in 1984, at which time the display case was donated to the Manitoba Museum.  It was stored for many years at the Museum’s storage building…

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Door to door – a collecting trip

The Manitoba Museum recently acquired a number of objects that add to an existing collection. The Wilson family collection of bottles and crocks is an extensive one, with over 1600 artefacts.  The Wilsons contacted the Museum with an offer to donate a related collection of ceramic footwarmers and various Medalta ware. Curator Roland Sawatzky recommended we accept the offered items; the subject went to our Collection Committee, which approved it…

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Museum receives funding support for database upgrade

The Manitoba Museum uses a collections management database program called Cuadra STAR, licensed from Cuadra Associates, a California software company. The program is used for documenting the Museum’s permanent object collection.  The collections management work the Collections and Conservation Department does relies heavily on this database program. It is where we record all of our collection transactions, from the time an object is considered for acquisition to when it legally…

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