My first few weeks at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

So my internship at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum is in full swing- and I am loving it! Most of it anyways.My job consists of four main components: 1. Collections Management 2. Cataloging 3. Social Media 4.Museum Monitoring. I have to say, the social media and outreach area is definitely my favourite but the other two areas are fun too and I’m getting some great hands-on experience about what it means to work in a museum.  This will be a quick post, just to fill my readers in on what’s involved!

Collections Management

When the current curator came to The RCR Museum, there was a severe backlog of archiving and objects management in that there was a lack of proper storage systems and cleaning of the objects themselves.  My job will be to work on this! So far, I’ve been working with a collection of scrapbooks of The RCR Museum that include newspaper clippings, photographs and magazine articles.  I clean them off using a collection of special tools (gloves, mask, brushes, glue, clothes and tissue paper), separate the individual pages, remove the unfortunate duct tape that was placed on them where possible, place them in acid-free folders in acid-free boxes and begin to store them.  I record what is in each box and where each box is placed.  Eventually I will be coming up with a numbering system for these but I am still working on that.

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Ready to get my hands dirty in collections management!

Cataloging

In the short time that I’ve worked at The RCR Museum, I have learned a new cataloging software called Past Perfect.  Using this, I describe donated items, assign them an accession number, report on their condition and take note of the contact information of the donor.  As best I can, I try to date the items as well.  This has proved trickier than I thought! For example, who knew describing a simple military uniform could be so difficult? One has to take into consideration numbers of buttons, badges, flash badges, numbers, material etc. Each uniform has a different name! Summer Service Dress No. 5 anyone?  Additionally, I label each item which has included printing, tagging, and sewing so far.

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A label I sewed into a scarf that a soldier in Afghanistan brought back with him and donated to the museum

Social Media

I have also taken over the Facebook and Twitter accounts for The RCR Museum.  This is fairly self-explanatory but it’s also super fun! We have gained a bunch of new followers and started some cool campaigns.  Throwback Thursday uses the hashtag #tbt to showcase old photos of the museum and the regiment every Thursday.  I also post about all the goings-on at the museum and will be taking part in a marketing campaign this coming summer in correlation with four other London museums (keep posted, it’s under-wraps for now).  Additionally, I am attempting to connect with more members of The RCR in order to create a more engaged Facebook fan base.  Finally, I have started to create a Twitter campaign that follows The RCR during World War I for the anniversary this summer.  I have logged these into Hoote Suite to tweet live on the day it was happening during World War I.  I took this idea from a class project I had this year that followed what was happening in London Ontario during World War I.  I thought tailoring it to the regiment would be a cool way to engage our followers! By putting them into Hoote Suite, the tweet will continue after I’ve left the museum.

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This is the photo I used to kick off our Throwback Thursday campaign. It is an image of Prince Philip cutting the ribbon at the museum’s opening ceremonies in 1983.

Museum Monitoring

Museum monitoring is something I do on a weekly basis to help ensure that the conditions of the museum are ideal for the objects that are on display and in storage.  Using a hand-held measuring tool, I take note of Lux (lighting strength), relative humidity and temperature in multiple places in each room.  Additionally, the museum has six thermo hygrographs that graph relative humidity and temperature.  I change the sheets on these on a weekly basis.  Finally, I put this information into an excel spreadsheet where it can be graphed so that the curator and I can access changes over time and adjust accordingly.  This is for the most part fun and it’s great to see that the museum monitors the goings-on so frequently.  The only part I don’t like is being in the basement alone near the old jail cells!

Overall

I’ve been able to participate and watch a number of really cool events for the museum- and photograph them all for the Facebook and Twitter accounts! I’ve seen a Paratrooper Memorial Parade, The Afghanistan National Day of Honour downtown and have been on Rogers London to discuss the history of The Memorial Cup! I’m hopeful there is lots more excitement to come- stay tuned!

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Paratrooper Memorial Service
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National Day of Honor in downtown London to celebrate the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan
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Paratrooper Memorial Service

On a side note, if you could follow us on Twitter (@RCRMuseum) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RCRMuseum) that would be very nice!

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