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 becomes Museum property; through its life here, any use for loan, exhibit, conservation or research. Any information that we have about an object is contained in its STAR database record. There are more than 530,000 records to date.
Over the past year, The Manitoba Museum received grant funding from both The Winnipeg Foundation and the City of Winnipeg Museums Board to perform a technical upgrade to the program. The project focused on our inventory location system. First, our location descriptions were standardized, following discussion with and input from Curatorial staff. We were fortunate in having a summer student, partially funded by Young Canada Works, to complete the vast majority of work designing, printing and applying new labels in all our collection storage areas. She made almost 5000 labels!
In the meantime, consultation was underway with Cuadra Associates to determine required changes to the database. It took many months for the work to be completed. Collection Database Administrator Betty-Ann Penner liaised with Cuadra Associates staff to ensure a smooth process and minimize errors. The final product was delivered in March, and now our collection inventory location system is much improved.
The Museum’s collection database is vitally important to our mission and the work we do. It was a bit nerve-wracking during the upgrade; we had to work through glitches, but it is such a relief to have the improved system. We continue to examine our processes and look for more ways to improve our use of the database program.
The Manitoba Museum is extremely grateful for, and wishes to acknowledge the support it received from The Winnipeg Foundation Community Grants Program, and the City of Winnipeg Museums Board Special Project Grant Program. Without this funding assistance the work would not have been possible.