For museums, historic sites, and cultural organizations to move toward becoming learning organizations, they must learn to value people as their most critical resource and help them develop their knowledge and skills.
—Candace Tangorra Matelic, New Roles for Small Museums
One of our core strategies is engaging your community with lively, hands-on workshops to train community members in the documentation and preservation of historic sites and artifacts. These sessions, a Collections Care Workshop and a Documentation Workshop, traditionally last for half a day each and are ideally taken together. Along with the community Artifact Clinic they’re a terrific way to educate and engage your staff, volunteers and other supporters including potential artifact donors.
Please contact us to arrange for a clinic or workshop in your area. We’re also interested in attending fairs and festivals where we can promote our services and offer free consultations to small museums and historic sites in your region.
The Province of Ontario’s Standards for Community Museums refer continually to the need for training policy and regular training programs to ensure that all employees have the “necessary” and “appropriate” skills in many areas including documentation, installation, interpretation, education, artifact handling, collections care and emergency preparedness.
Staff training is a major emphasis in Ontario’s Human Resources Standard, which requires that a portion of every museum’s annual budget be allocated for development of in-house training and “staff access to professional development (seminars, workshops, conferences).”
Our workshops are designed to provide you with expert, affordable, and up-to-date training to keep all of your staff in step with the latest knowledge and standards.
Collections Care Workshop
Our Collections Care Workshop is a half-day session offering training in the proper storage, display, handling, cleaning and surface treatment of objects. It is normally offered in conjunction with the Documentation Workshop (described below).
Workshops are tailored to the needs of your collection and institution. Discussions surrounding safe handling, simple cleaning, and materials increases understanding of the needs of artifacts and the best care for them.
Workshops geared to private and family collections are also available. Helping the members of your community to care for family artifacts and personal archives is a positive way to engage visitors in your preservation strategy. We can provide an overview of private collections care, as well as workshops focused on specific artifact groups, such as heirloom textiles and metals, family photographs, and works of art.
The Documentation Workshop is a half-day session offering training in cataloguing and historical research, including artifact measurement, labelling, photography, genealogy and provenance. We also cover sharing of information about collections and events on social media, including institutional web sites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Normally offered in conjunction with the Collections Care Workshop (described above).
As Literary Tourist Nigel Beale points out, cultural tourism is a lucrative and rapidly-growing industry, with visitors spending billions of dollars a year in Ontario alone. If your museum or historic site isn’t profiting fully from this trend then it may be time for a rethink. In this participatory workshop we will team up with cultural and community organizations in your region to explore innovative ways for turning your institution into a dynamic cultural destination with a broad visitor base. We will discuss integrated branding and communications including effective use of social media; the importance of effectively engaging your community including young audiences; and advocacy with local and regional business and tourist agencies.
An artifact clinic is an Antiques Road Show style event, where members of your community bring us artifacts for advice on their value and how to care for them. Although we are not in the business of providing monetary appraisals, we will give you our best indication of value based on factors such as condition, rarity and provenance—meaning we like objects with local stories! If the object and story are good enough we can advise on care, or on donating to a small museum in exchange for a tax receipt and a well-preserved legacy.