Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums
The Collections Trust is an organisation that works with museums and archives to help improve collections management and collections use, offering a wide range of resources and workshops to achieve this.
The Trust held it’s annual conference on 22 September, and while on a smaller scale than the usual two day ‘openculture’ event, it was still an incredibly interesting and thought provoking day.
The speakers were witty, which helped to grab and keep people’s attention, whilst the main themes covered were documentation and related standards, and collecting in general. There were two sessions on SPECTRUM, the collections management standard in museums, including the launch of a consultation for SPECTRUM 5.0. The consultation will run over the next couple of months, with the intention of publishing the fifth edition in the first half of 2017. This session involved a lot of discussion, as many attendees had ideas and improvements that they thought could be made, and the assistant on stage was writing as fast as she could in order to get all of these recorded!
While, for the most part, all these sessions are relevant to my role, there were two in particular that I found useful. These were the ones focusing on digital media management, and how documentation processes/procedures can be more efficient. Though the latter may be difficult to implement as the ideas require a lot of time and support to be able to carry them out. Another insightful talk was about building links with communities by working with them to create temporary exhibitions, which is needful when the museum concerned is located outside of a tourist area and heavily dependent on repeat visitors.
The final event was the Collections Trust Awards, in which four museums were recognised as outstanding examples of excellence in collections management.
Also present were a number of exhibitors, offering services relating to collections management. I spent a fair amount of time talking to the company Extensis, who are the suppliers of our DAMs (digital asset management system) which will hopefully be ready to use sometime next year. This was a great opportunity as I had yet to see the system in use and knew little about it, and I left the demonstration/conversation feeling that I had a greater idea of how it would work and how useful it will be. I was also quite happy with the pen, notepad, and dancing wind up robot they provided me with.
As with all such events, it gave me a good chance to network with people from other museums and heritage organisations. I met a number of people working in a range of roles, and it was interesting to hear about these, their organisation, and the challenges they are facing. I hadn’t even known that a River and Rowing Museum (Henley) existed, and I learned about Jersey Heritage. I was also able to interact with the few attendees I had met before (pretty much the entire office from one of my previous roles was present), and I did encounter familiar faces, who I may one day speak to at future events.
Daryl Tappin, Documentation Assistant, Fitzwilliam Museum