That's a question I get from a lot of my friends, especially in the slower winter months. My usual response is "curator stuff" followed by an admission of other administrative tasks. On a side topic I was asked recently by one of our volunteers Beth (I'm going to name drop with volunteers so you get a slight sense of how many people are involved here) to try out bogging a little more, to give people an idea of what goes on in the museum.
For some reason it hit me the other day (Jan. 20, 2014) when I arrived at work that I should keep track of my tasks so that I could properly convey how I spend my time. Please keep in mind that Mondays are an entirely different beast than other days during the week, because on Mondays I am at work but the museum is not open to the public. Also, every single day here is different, which is a big part of the appeal for me. I love having something different going on to keep things interesting.
I will try to keep this somewhat entertaining. Lets begin!
9:00am. Arrive at work right on time (in case the bosses are reading this)
9am to 9:45am - shovel snow and put out salt. We hire a person to shovel our snow for us, but there wasn't a lot down. I try to keep it as tidy as possible though, the volunteers appreciate it.
9:45am - 10am. TEA TIME and helping our Archivist Nan with our digital database of collections (photographs and artefacts). Quickly checked some emails to see if anything was urgent.
Couldn't get through my day without it.
10am - 11:30am preparing items for donation to a local museum with the CHS Secretary Pauline. Normally I don't get to actually focus on a project for this duration of time. Usually there over 9000 distractions but Monday I was lucky and was able to keep at the job.
By preparing items I mean; cataloguing what is being given, photographing, moving and of course all of the paper work that goes along with that. Pauline is currently leading the charge to get our basement organized.
Oh the paperwork....
11:30am - 12pm help our exhibit developers Elinor and Donna with our collections database (the same database mentioned above) and reply to a few emails before lunch.
12pm - 1pm. Lunch. I did one of these 4 things:
a) worked through lunch because I am a curating machine
b) went home and prepared a wonderfully healthy meal
c) grabbed some groceries at Sobeys and read comic books in my office
d) Cpt. Sub and a short walk through Victoria Park
1pm -2:10pm many random tasks, SPEED ROUND: updating office calendar, meeting with volunteers (Jim and Carol), scheduling appointments, more exhibit committee talks, filing, more filing, etc.
I also make sure to check out the Truro Daily on a daily basis. I think its important to keep up with the community. Besides, I get asked every other day if I read "that article in the Truro Daily" so its good to keep current. As luck would have it there was an article that the Historeum helped out with a little bit. The article can be found here.
The Glebe House
2:10pm - 2:30pm TEA TIME and picking a photo for our Facebook page. I could write an entire blog article on picking and posting pictures to the facebook page. It is not nearly the easy task that one would image. First of all picking a picture is political, I try to ensure that I don't flood our page with Truro photos given that we are a county museum. I actually do try to spread out the geographical backgrounds of our photos.
Its also hard not to be biased. Example: I love posting pictures of dogs or pictures of wooden ships (if you have a photo of the 2 combined from Colchester please send it!). But I understand people want to see different things. I have found that people love classy house architecture, so I found what I considered a beautiful house photo from not-Truro. Turns out that everyone has heard of this house and loved it, the post was one of my most popular to date.
Farnham Road. R.H. Doane House, Bible Hill.
2:30pm - 3:45pm. Setting up exhibit hallway and chairs.
One of our volunteers Terry stopped by to help move the big heavy walls in the gallery to accommodate the next exhibit The Lewis Family: Truro's Titans of Industry. The walls in question form an interior shell of our gallery, a room within a room. Moving them is a task reserved for 2 or more, and involves a bit of work.
Moving the walls can be compared to hanging a painting on a wall. You set them up, then move them again, and again. Afterwards I set up the 3rd floor for Dr. Malcolm MacLeod's upcoming lecture. Again Mondays are the best day to do out of office tasks like this.
3:45pm - 4:30pm preparing press release and contacting media publications
Making sure the public knows about our upcoming events is very important to the livelihood of our organization. We strive to get as much exposure as possible, and the various publications have been very good to us.
That being said there are a lot of places to contact, and you have to know the print schedule for all of them. This is especially important for monthly publications, where if you miss the deadline you completely miss that issue/month.
4:30pm-5:00pm head to the post office and then home.
So that is my grand exciting day as Curator/Administrator for the Colchester Historeum. As you can tell the role is very supportive. I spend the largest part of my time facilitating and helping our volunteers with their various projects, which are the backbone of the Society.