RE-ORG: Canada (West)

Towards a museum storage reorganization network.

Training announcement

Application deadline:
September 11 2017
Training dates:
September 2017 to November 2018
Language of instruction:
English
Eligibility:
Small to medium-sized museums in British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon (see Who should apply?)
Delivery:
Distance mentoring, face-to-face training, online learning
Facilitator:
Simon Lambert, Preservation Development Advisor, Canadian Conservation Institute
Registration fee:
CAN$1,500 per museum team (two participants)
© Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 128843-0004
Figure 1. Storage area before reorganization.
© Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 128843-0009
Figure 2. Storage area after reorganization.

Background

Dealing with storage is an important challenge for most museums. When storage is disorganized, collections are no longer accessible and their potential benefit to the public is limited. The RE-ORG method for reorganizing storage in small museums, which was developed in 2011 by ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and UNESCO, will be the main tool used in this training. Since 2014, as part of this program, 14 RE-ORG projects have been successfully implemented by participating museums in Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Training description

With RE-ORG: Canada, CCI seeks to inspire a new generation of leaders in storage reorganization. Storage reorganization focuses on improving existing storage areas, not on planning and building new facilities. The fourth edition of RE-ORG: Canada targets museums from the Western region (British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon). Only museums from this region may apply.

Throughout the 14-month program, which includes individual work, a face-to-face practical training workshop and various online learning opportunities, up to six museums (two participants per museum) will prepare a condition report to identify the key issues affecting access and the overall preservation of their collection. They will then prepare a reorganization project and implement it. If your museum is selected, you will receive ongoing personalized support from CCI and you will be in contact (mainly virtually through teleconferencing) with the other participating museums throughout the program.

CCI has partnered with ICCROM to provide the didactic tools for this training. Note that as part of the RE-ORG International program, groups from other countries will also be taking part in RE-ORG training at the same time as RE-ORG West.

Objectives

As part of this training, your museum will:

  • Implement a storage reorganization project from start to finish
  • Advise other museums on how to plan a storage reorganization project
  • Organize a public outreach activity to showcase the benefits of well-organized storage areas to your community
  • Organize a dissemination activity for other professionals in your network

Registration fee

CAN$1,500 per museum team (includes two participants). This fee includes:

  • access to all learning materials and tools
  • access to the collective experience of past RE-ORG participants in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec through the closed RE-ORG: Canada Facebook group
  • ongoing coaching support from CCI throughout the program
  • one half-day visit from CCI at the “Condition Report” stage of the project
  • a four-day advanced seminar:
    • Dates: March 6–9, 2018
    • Location: To be determined (chosen location will be central to allow participants from across the region to attend)
    • Description: This seminar has two parts:
      • Days 1-3: Practical workshop reserved to RE-ORG: Canada (West) participating museums in which participants will work together to reorganize a storage area (view the videos of the hands-on workshops for RE-ORG: Canada (Ontario), RE-ORG: Canada (Atlantic) and RE-ORG: Canada (Quebec) to see what is accomplished during the three-day workshop). Some light lifting and work in a slightly dusty environment may be required. Personal protective equipment will be provided.
      • Day 4: Conference open to a wider audience, where RE-ORG participants will present their respective projects and guest speakers from the region will be invited to share their experiences in various storage upgrade projects. Conference registration for non-RE-ORG participants opens in January 2018.
    • Costs: Participating museums will be responsible for all travel costs associated with their participation in the four-day advanced seminar. Lunches and coffee breaks will be provided by CCI.

Funding opportunities

If your museum is selected to participate in RE-ORG: Canada (West) and you need financial assistance, you could work with Museums Assistance Program (MAP) officers at Canadian Heritage to prepare a special grant application for the equipment costs associated with your project (up to 50% in matching funding, maximum CAN$10,000 per project, special application deadline for this project is January 19, 2018). Further details will be provided once the selection process is complete.

To cover other costs, such as travel costs for attending the four-day advanced seminar or the registration fee, we encourage you to seek independent funding, for example, by sending an application to your provincial or territorial museums association or the Canadian Museums Association’s (CMA) Mid-Career Professional Development Bursary or Emerging Professional Development Bursary. If you are a Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC) member, you may be eligible for a Professional Development Bursary.

Who should apply?

  • Do you work in a small to medium-sized museum?Footnote 1
  • Are you a full-time paid director, conservator, collections manager, technician, director/curator, registrar or archivist?
  • Is there another staff member or volunteer at your institution (or at a neighbouring institution) that could be a co-participant with you for the entire duration of the program and could work on your project?
  • Is your museum committed to becoming a resource within your local, regional or provincial/territorial museum network by sharing the knowledge and expertise gained through this training activity?
  • Are you comfortable with the distance learning format, which involves independent work using online tools (contributing to discussion forums, uploading and downloading documents and pictures, attending webinars, etc.)?
  • Do you have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection in a quiet location, with a webcam and telephone nearby?
  • Are you interested in connecting with like-minded professionals in your area and beyond, working simultaneously on projects with common challenges and objectives?

If you answered “YES” to all the above questions, you may be eligible to apply. See the full selection criteria below.

Selection criteria

To be selected as a RE-ORG participating museum, your institution must:

  • Demonstrate a good level of involvement in your regional museum network and a willingness to advise other institutions who are about to start reorganizing their storage
  • Successfully identify a smaller partner institution to which you could provide guidance in planning a storage reorganization project after yours is complete
  • Demonstrate a commitment to document your museum’s storage reorganization project and disseminate the results to the professional community (publication of an article, talk at a conference, etc.)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to organize a public outreach activity in your community as a result of the reorganization (exhibition, storage visits, media-related activity, etc.) and to communicate these activities on social media or by other means
  • Have explicit support from your senior management for two participants to take part in the training (a template is provided in the application package)

To be eligible for the Museums Assistance Program (MAP) grants (Collections Management component), applicants must:

  • Provide services to the public year-round
  • Employ the equivalent of one full-time paid professional staff
  • Have policies for key museum functions
  • Have a current three- to five-year strategic/business plan

Note

RE-ORG participating museums do not have to apply for MAP funding if they can identify other means of funding their project.

Timeline

Workshops Dates
Program inauguration and introduction to RE-ORG
Delivery: Webinar, video conference
Week of September 18, 2017
Storage condition report: defining your needs
Delivery: individual work, distance mentoring, online learning
September 18 to December 31, 2017
CCI visit: one-on-one troubleshooting
Delivery: personalized half-day work session with each of the project teams in their museum
Week of November 20, 2017 (tentative)
Four-day advanced seminar: getting practical reorganization experience
Delivery: face-to-face workshop
March 6 to 9, 2018
Preparation of the Storage Action Plan: structuring your project
Delivery: individual work, distance mentoring, online learning
March and April 2018
Implementation and communication:putting your plan into action and sharing the results
  • public outreach activity in your community
  • dissemination to the wider professional community
Delivery: individual work, distance mentoring, online learning
May to November 2018
Evaluation and final webinar November 2018
Assistance to partner museum 2019

Partners

Frequently asked questions

  • Can the MAP grant be used to cover the CAN$1,500 registration fee to participate in RE-ORG: Canada or the travel costs associated with the four-day seminar?

    No, the MAP grant can only be used to cover eligible expenses in the Collections Management component. Other sources of funding must be sought to cover registration and travel costs.

    Only one staff member from my institution can participate, can I still apply?

    Each participating museum must support two participants to be eligible for this program. It is possible for two institutions to partner and work on a common project. Participant 1 will be from the main institution and participant 2 will be from the other institution who is agreeing to work on the common project.

    Can we apply as a team composed of one full-time staff member and one volunteer?

    Yes, this is perfectly acceptable as long as the museum agrees to support the participation of both team members in the advanced seminar to be held in March 2018. Confirmation of support is provided by signing the letter of support in the application package.

    How large of a project should we propose (i.e. how many storage rooms)?

    In the past, participants have found that tackling one storage room is sufficient, as a reorganization project may have an impact on other museum activities and collection staff will have to set aside some time to work on this. The idea is to start small and to apply what you learn to other storage spaces afterwards. That being said, sometimes it may be necessary to reshuffle the collection across several spaces to make the most efficient use of space, i.e. by regrouping objects by type and by size. Some RE-ORG: Canada projects have involved bringing objects stored offsite back into the museum and bringing objects in the museum to an offsite location for better conservation, space usage and access. In many projects, dealing with one storage area first can free up some space, which will then allow a second phase to be implemented in the following years. In museums that have several very distinct collections (e.g. archival and museum), it is usually easier to limit the scope to one collection.

    How much time should we set aside for this project?

    The letter of support template highlights approximate time commitments, but the exact time spent on each project will vary depending on its scope and on the original condition of the storage area (i.e. the extent of the disorganization). Various RE-ORG participants have said that it took them twice as much time as they had anticipated because it is sometimes difficult to anticipate what kinds of issues you will uncover when working on disorganized storage.

    Do we need an empty space into which the collection can be moved?

    For most projects, it will be necessary to set up a collections staging area or swing space to allow you to reshuffle the collection to maximize space usage. Some museums have created temporary swing spaces within their storage area by discarding various non-collection items, some have used empty conference rooms, some have decommissioned a gallery space for the duration of the project and have used this as an opportunity to inform their community about behind-the-scenes museum work.

    Where will the four-day advanced seminar be held in 2018?

    This has not yet been decided. This will be decided in the fall of 2017 based on several factors, one of which is geography and proximity to the majority of the participating museums, which we only know once the participating museums have been selected. For RE-ORG West, which encompasses three provinces/territories, some participants will be travelling within their province/territory to attend the seminar, and other participants will be travelling to another province/territory.

    Can my institution be the host institution for the four-day seminar and be a participating museum in RE-ORG West?

    No. The host institution for the four-day seminar cannot be one of the participating museums. Host institutions are identified after the participating museums are selected. If you are interested in hosting the four-day seminar or would like more information on hosting, please contact CCI at PCH.iccservices-cciservices.PCH@canada.ca.

    As a participating museum, what is expected of us in terms of “providing guidance to a smaller partner museum”?

    The intent of this collaboration is to promote the sharing of knowledge and lessons learned among the wider museum community to multiply the impact of the training. The terms of this collaboration are to be defined between you and your partner museum and it can take on various forms: from a simple walkthrough of their storage area to identify some areas of improvement using the self-evaluation questionnaire to involving them in your own reorganization project to allow them to practice before implementing their own project.

    Who should I choose as my partner museum?

    That is entirely up to you. In the past, RE-ORG participating museums identified museums with which they had existing collaborative ties.

Further questions?

Contact CCI at PCH.iccservices-cciservices.PCH@canada.ca.

Apply now!

To obtain your application package, contact CCI at PCH.iccservices-cciservices.PCH@canada.ca.

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