The last presentation of the Outreach to Allies Session at the AIC Annual Meeting 2012 was an interactive session organized by the Collection Care Network. The leadership team of the network designed it as a way to identify priorities and projects for the network. Imagine nine groups of 7 to 9 people sitting around tables discussing the content of nine different short videos. Each video presented a collection care challenge or question. The discussion aimed to suggest projects the Collection Care Network could develop that would provide tools to overcome the challenge or answer the question. Now imagine people engaged in conversation. This post covers some of the conversation at Table 3. Look for the other 8 posts if you would like to review all the discussions.
Table Three: The discussion at the table focused on how to provide more access to collection care information delivered in an efficient and effective way. As a professional beginning in the field I was interested in learning about the many resources and approaches that already exist and what my colleagues found best suited to the needs of the audience.
The video: Emma Westling, Touring Exhibits Coordinator for the Museum of Science, Boston outlined her duties at the Museum and her work touring exhibits to various venues. She wished to have access to previously developed training materials to educate and provide professional development for institutions that may not have dedicated collections professionals. She pointed out that staff could improve collection care for their own collections as well as for loaned objects in their care.
The discussion: Although we began by considering loan shows to institutions with staff that may have a limited knowledge about a particular type of object or material, the discussions moved to discussing the intended audience. From diverse backgrounds, they bring a range of expertise to preservation. They meet the daily challenges of finding sufficient time, money, and staff hours to carry out their work. In time are conversation transitioned into what were some of the best ways to engage and to meet the needs of this audience. We talked about how training for its own sake was a worthy goal, but when faced with the numerous demands competing for time and resources, a more strategic approach is required. Those who had developed on-line resources and presented programs and seminars found that successful programming hinges on delivering information at the moment individuals are looking for it. The challenge is using methods that get the right information to the intended audience at the right time.
The ideas for Collection Care Network projects:
- Create a free and searchable on-line resource that organizes the collection care information and training available to the preservation community.
- Develop a knowledge base on specialized topics with content provided by experts in that area.
- Build a forum to foster interactivity.
The contributors: Moderator – Gretchen Guidess; Note Taker: Patti Dambaugh; Table participants: Kathy Francis, Kristen Laise, Chris McAfee, Kay Söderlund, Sarah Stauderman