Collections Management, for those following that are not aware of this museum role, is essentially the record keeping of all the artefacts and archives at Parkwood,and in my opinion one of the most important stewardship role of a museum. These are the records that hold artefact information like its height, length, description, provenance, artist or make information along with its condition and the changes to its condition over the years, based environmental exposure, physical damages, etc. When conservation work is completed the conservation report and treatment plan,along with treatment photos are also included.
Until now, the Parkwood Collections Management program has been paper based in binders in my office, and several attempts at various “homemade” databases over the years.
This grant, which Parkwood is matching in dollar and staffing support, enables the staff and volunteers to use a database which will hold all of the information, along with photographs of each and every artefact. Every salt shaker, every fork, every handkerchief, every comb within the collection, eventually.
Amanda and Cesar having been working hard completing the data entry portion, along with photographing the collection, assisted by the volunteer work of Vivienne, Cindy and Linda.
What is the most exciting aspect of this project is that a quick push of a keyboard button I will have all the necessary info on a single artefact at my fingertips, including its photograph, something Parkwood has never had before. Cesar has undertaken the feat of photographing the collection, well beginning too, and this database will enable museum staff to upload images to our new website ( in the works) along with other museum-related sites and publications, like Artefacts Canada.
One of the aspects of this new database is that we have been busy categorising the collection in themes in order to create some exciting web and programming content. An example of this would be Louis XV furniture styles at Parkwood, but would delve beyond the beauty shots of this very identifiable furniture style. Using the archival collection, we may have purchase receipts, understanding the history and where the items in the Drawing Room were purchased from, and how the interior decorator chose certain pieces to complement the “look” that they were trying to achieve. The other “technical” aspect of the database will even allow us to focus our themes of items of interest for the researcher, to items as specific as the sabots (gilt shoes on the feet of furniture) on the Louis XV furniture collection.