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Hull Museums - the story so far Simon Wilson Collections Project Manager simon.wilson@hullcc.uk tel 01482 318732 PowerPoint Presentation
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Hull Museums - the story so far Simon Wilson Collections Project Manager simon.wilson@hullcc.gov.uk tel 01482 318732 background… 2001 – external consultant report into documentation at Hull found a number of problems and issues: lack of consistency across the museums

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slide1
Hull Museums -
  • the story so far
  • Simon Wilson
  • Collections Project Manager
  • simon.wilson@hullcc.gov.uk
  • tel 01482 318732
background
background…
  • 2001 – external consultant report into documentation at Hull found a number of problems and issues:
      • lack of consistency across the museums
      • huge amount of information held in paper form only
      • heavy reliance on staff knowledge of the collections
      • collections management system purchased but not brought into use due to lack of resources
      • estimated no of person days needed = 7009 (ie 31.8 years for 1 person)
  • 2005 – Accreditation Scheme used to secure £1.4m from the City
  • Council to create dedicated documentation team for 3 years
slide3

Ferens Art Gallery

Maritimeinc 2 vessels

Hull & East Riding

Guildhall

Wilberforce House

Streetlife

Hands on History

documentation project
documentation project…
  • 2005 – documentation team of 9 staff in place (Sep)
  • – documentation plan for Accreditation (Dec)
  • – start inventory using MS Access (Dec)
  • – team inherit just over 2000 records in electronic format
  • 2006 – inventory continues
  • – KE Emu selected (Jul) after thorough selection process
  • – data cleaning prior to submission to KE (Dec)
  • 2007 – inventory 63,000 records imported into CMS (Jan)
  • – data cleaning continues
  • – additional staff take team to 16 in total (Apr)
  • – website goes live (Nov)
  • 2008 – documentation project draws to close (Oct)
2 stage process
2 stage process…
  • Stage 1: basic inventory into MS Access
  • - easy to use, enabled quick start to project
  • - update procedural manual
  • - data easy to manipulate/export to chosen system
  • Stage 2: KE installed and data transferred across
  • - data cleaned, especially locations and parties
  • - update procedural manual
  • - inventory continues directly into KE
  • - reconciliation with existing documentation (mda cards)
  • - some data will be re-keyed (eg by volunteers) into Excel and then imported into KE
the benefits of this approach
the benefits of this approach…
  • - with no system in place were no real issues over legacy data
  • - existing staff all recognise the need to change the way they work
  • and the need for a single coherent system/strategy/policy
  • – dedicated team means we can work on all fronts at the same time
  • – dedicated project manager is a considerable advantage when
  • dealing with ICT / system developers - single contact point etc
  • – what we have now is already a significant improvement
  • - a single system for searching all collections
  • - creation of person “authorities”
the pitfalls of this approach
the pitfalls of this approach…
  • – with no system in place curatorial experience of using
  • collection management systems is from previous posts
  • – trying to blend different ways of working into a single coherent
  • system/strategy/policy
  • – necessary time spent on data cleaning means that some
  • momentum of the inventory stage has been lost
  • – documentation team don’t have the object knowledge that the
  • Keepers have
  • – trying to make a huge step in a very short period of time
lessons learnt
lessons learnt …
  • 1. put more effort into data cleaning at a much earlier stage
  • (everybody in the team will spend 1 day a week on checking and
  • cleaning the data rather than last minute panic before we go live!)
  • 2. foster a culture of shared ownership with existing staff
  • (created Collections Working Group to discuss KE issues & make
  • collective decisions - is in the Keeper’s interests to participate)
  • 3. start with accession register and then build on that
  • (get basic records about everything …)
the next six months
the next six months…
  • Batch import of images
  • – have thousands of images to import
  • – look to automate the process as much as possible
  • Object Locator
  • – gallery plans used across many sites already
  • – link to current location will be used (hopefully) to turn “virtual” visitors into real ones
the next six months11
the next six months…
  • Natural History
  • – start documenting this collection
  • DCF Decorative Arts project
  • – dedicated mini-site to promote this collection
  • – looking to develop content for touch-screen / kiosks
the next six months12
the next six months…
  • Website
  • – collections site designed and launched with 2 levels of use: “narratives” for browsers & database search for researchers
  • - thousands of images / hundreds of stories about the objects
      • cross-links between related stories / themes
      • people, places and events from the city and region with clear and explicit links to items in our collections
      • links to fact sheets, teachers resource packs & online learning resources
  • – also keen to investigate quizzes / object feedback forms (moderated) and other methods of interacting with users – inc users creating their own “virtual gallery” of our objects
partner s wanted
partner(s) wanted…
  • Museum just installed KE and looking to promote its
  • collections online, would like to meet similar, with keen
  • interest in developing new features and sharing costs.
  • Also looking for a relationship with an institution
  • experienced in cataloguing natural history collections.
  • (East Yorks but willing to travel)
  • Call 01482 318732 or
  • E-mail simon.wilson@hullcc.gov.uk