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Category Archives: Collections Management

Joe Maruca’s “Secret” Notebook

At some time or another, we have all experienced a really satisfying day at work, or perhaps more often, a day that left us wanting to vent our frustrations. Today we might use social media to voice these emotions. In the days before Facebook or Twitter, Joe Maruca documented his working life in a ‘Secret’ notebook filled with amusing cartoon sketches. Recently, I processed a fascinating collection of family items…

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Christmas in the Collections

A few weeks ago, as my family was setting up our Christmas tree, I hesitated putting up a small number of glass balls, passed down to me from my grandma many years ago, remnants of my dad’s childhood in Winnipeg’s North End. These ornaments have been a staple on my tree for a decade since striking out on my own –the delicate painted glass balancing out my beloved childhood favourite,…

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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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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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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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Focus on cataloguing: an interesting artefact

    Part of a Collections Assistant’s work in the Museum’s History Department is to fully catalogue artefacts which have been acquired for the permanent collections. This involves assigning a unique museum number to the object, writing a description, explaining how it was used and by whom, and researching how it relates to Manitoba’s history.  When researching artefacts, the Museum has an excellent Reference Library, where staff can check out books…

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“Paperwork is my life”:department staff offers Collections Management training for Association of Manitoba Museums

The Manitoba Museum is home to over 2.6 million artefacts and specimens. One role of the Collections and Conservation staff is to maintain records for each item from the time it is offered to the museum, accepted into the collection and then accessed for research and exhibits or loaned to other institutions. While the numbers may be smaller, the same Collections Management practices are used in community museums throughout the…

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Hands on: practising emergency response

The 37th annual Canadian Association for Conservation conference was held in Winnipeg in May 2010. Conservator Lisa May attended a two-day pre-conference workshop entitled “Advanced Issues in Emergency Preparedness and Response”. As part of this workshop, Jane Dalley from Heritage Conservation Service (Winnipeg, MB), instructed a hands-on component. Workshop participants experienced how to handle, stabilize and clean water damaged items. This was just one part of the workshop. Lectures and…

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