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Mondays at the Museum – A look at Collections

How we process an artifact

What happens to an artifact once it is received?  We take several steps to ensure that each item is recorded and identified. Currently, we have volunteers who assist Angela (our Cultural Manager) with this work.  The process is outlined in our Collection Management Policy and is based on procedures followed by most museums.  It ensures that items owned by museum are documented and photographed in the same way.  It also allows museums to loan and borrow pieces from each other for use in exhibits or educational programs.

One of our recent gifts includes a book of piano music.  We will use this book to follow along as it is accessed.  When our book was received, it was assigned a number. This numbering system is used by most museums, and includes the year it was received, the gift for the year, and the item in the gift. This particular book was part of a gift that included 65 items. When placed in our online registry, the number for the “National Song Book” is 2020.04.64.  In this case, the number was written in pencil in the inside of the cover.  The number location is usually placed in a location that is easily found but doesn’t interfere with information about the item. 

Research then begins on our music book. The book is then catalogued according to use. We use the “Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging” to match cataloging terms which can include up to five levels of classification, each one going from a broad term to a more exact description of our book.  The book is then researched for age, or in this case, publishing date, the publisher, location of the publisher (city, province, country), use of the item, and when possible, a value.  The book is then described in detail with colour of the book and ink, type of manufacturing, and material used in the manufacturing. The book is then measured and added to a worksheet with the information that has been obtained.  The worksheet is than saved into an online file, and the printed to be filed.  Our items are then photographed, or in the case of our book, each page was scanned and saved into our online filing system.

We will look at some of the variety of items that we received in 2020 in the next few blogs.

Even though our Museum is closed for tours, work continues, and so do expenses. If you are able to contribute financially by purchasing a Tyrconnell Heritage Society Membership or making a donation in any amount your support would be greatly appreciated.  Memberships – Individual $30; Couple $35; Family $40; Organization $45; Business $75; Individual Lifetime $250  Here is the link to our page at CanadaHelps