In preparation for a short talk which I’ll be delivering with Angela Kipp of the Registrar Trek blog at one of the CIDOC strands at the ICOM 2016 conference in Milan, I’ve been looking at how the #MuseumDocumentation Twitter hashtag has been doing, using a snapshot of the last nine days provided by TweetReach. I’ve Storified the top tweets and contributors, and you can see the results here.
Recognise yourself amongst the top tweets or contributors?
I gave a talk today at the Museums + Heritage Show, about a major collection review which took place at my previous employer, the Horniman Museum , between 2012 and 2015.
The whole talk is available elsewhere on this site, albeit rather buried, because I’ve treated it as a publication rather than a post – fair enough, given that it’s a few thousand words long. But I thought a quick summary might be interesting for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing. Continue reading Reviewing your collections?
My colleagues who work in museum documentation have rightly been indignant about an article published by the Daily Telegraph yesterday, under the attention-seeking headline ‘Half of world’s museum specimens are wrongly labelled’. Continue reading Why half the world’s museum specimens are wrongly labelled
I was flattered to receive an email a few months ago from Nick Poole, at that point still the Chief Executive of Collections Trust, asking me to speak at the Trust’s forthcoming annual conference. Nick suggested that I might ‘take a look at where we are today with documentation, which challenges have been solved and which are still to be addressed’ – all in twenty minutes! Those of you that know me will also realise that this isn’t really the way I work: I prefer to start with the detail and work outwards from that, rather than beginning with grand abstractions about the bigger picture. But after a quick exchange of emails, Nick and I agreed a subject, and I gave my lecture at the Collections Trust 2015 conference at the Natural History Museum a few weeks ago.
Continue reading What should we be doing next?
I realise, looking at this site’s dashboard, that I’ve not posted much recently. In part this is down to personal distractions; in part it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and some writing, on the subject of renaissance magnificence – on which, I hope, more will follow later; and in part it’s because I’ve had my head down with things like a complete review of the Horniman Museum’s core documentation procedures prior to an accreditation return (if you work in UK museums, you’ll understand what that entails). Then I received a Twitter notification to say that Katie Hobbs had nominated me in the Twitterati Challenge. Continue reading #TwitteratiChallenge
In its new display on domestic keyboard instruments, ‘At Home With Music’, the Horniman Museum has been making something of a piano of the type taken to the Antarctic by Robert Falcon Scott on his first expedition, the British National Antarctic Expedition (also known as the Discovery expedition) of 1901-4.
As I’ve been reading Scott’s account of the expedition, The Voyage of the Discovery, when I’ve been away from home (my copy – 2 vols, London etc: Thomas Nelson & Sons, undated – is conveniently pocket-sized), I thought I’d publish the references which Scott makes to the use of the piano, and events at which it must have been employed.
Continue reading Captain Scott’s piano
Last Saturday, 20 December, I went back to my old school, Loretto, for the first time in 29 years. I was drawn not by any great feeling of nostalgia for my schooldays, but because the story of my great-grandfather, Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop, was the impetus behind events that were being held there to mark the centenary of the Christmas truce on the Western Front. These culminated in the unveiling, in the school chapel, of a window made by Kate Henderson commemorating the truce and my great-grandfather’s role in it. But what, exactly, was his role? Continue reading ‘The notorious Major B-D’: my great-grandfather and the Christmas truce
Being responsible for the Horniman Museum’s documentation, I normally find myself sitting in front of a computer screen, or in meetings. Every once in a while, though, I’m allowed out to meet my colleagues from other institutions, find out what they’re doing, and compare experiences. Previously, this has usually been at the annual OpenCulture conference run by Collections Trust; but this year I spent four days in Dresden at the 2014 annual conference of the Comité International pour la Documentation (CIDOC), the branch of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) interested in documentation.
Continue reading What I did this summer, or: CIDOC 2014
This is the last of a series of posts looking at the lessons about museum documentation thrown up whilst I was researching my recent article on the website of the Horniman Museum (where I work as Documentation Manager), investigating the objects related to the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic exploration which were once owned by the Horniman. I’ve already looked at accession registers, capturing and sharing information, and recording what happens to objects. This last post is slightly different, as it’s less about the past, and more about the present: I want to talk about my intentions when putting information about the Antarctic relics – and all the Horniman’s objects – online.
Continue reading Learning from the past 4: putting information online
This is the third of a series of posts looking at the lessons about museum documentation thrown up whilst I was researching my recent article on the website of the Horniman Museum (where I work as Documentation Manager), investigating the objects related to the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic exploration which were once owned by the Horniman. I’ve already looked at accession registers, and capturing and sharing information; in this piece, I’ll talk about recording what happens to objects; and a final post will look at how we can make that information available online.
Continue reading Learning from the past 3: recording what happens to objects