Trustees’ Gala Lunch keynotes and outcomes

On the 18th of May, Cornwall Museums Partnership hosted its first Trustees’ Gala Lunch in Heartlands, Pool. Over 50 senior decision makers from Cornwall’s heritage sector attended and discussed the vital importance of good leadership to the future of the UK’s museums and galleries. Recent conspicuous failures in governance in the not profit sector headlined by Kids Company, but with some notable difficulties in museums too, have highlighted the need for all Trustees to take leadership seriously. Cornwall Museums Partnership is at the forefront of raising awareness of the need for excellent levels of leadership and governance. The event included two high level speakers: Michael Day, Chief Executive of Royal Historic Palaces, and Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission.

Attendees discussed the need for ongoing trustee skills development in order to help heritage organisations to survive and thrive in challenging times. Paula Sussex reinforced the critical importance of the Board in a charity’s performance, and Michael Day illustrated the importance of strategic leadership and the critical role Trustees can play in fundraising for their charities. Some of the key outcomes from the event included the importance of having diversity on the board, commitment to board development, the significance of establishing a relationship of trust between the Chair and the CEO, and the need to develop of succession plans.

Weekly Tech Review – Week 7 Productivity – Trello

Overview:

This week we are going to try something a bit different, and look at how digital approaches can help museums behind the scenes in their day-to-day runnings. There are many different programmes out there that can aid with project management, organisation, and productivity. This week we are reviewing Trello, which has become a favourite of the CMP team.

Trello is a web-based project management programme. This is based on the ‘Kanban’ system (click here for an accessible link), which was developed by Toyota as a means of improving the efficiency of their production line. Trello uses a system of boards, lists, and cards to organise tasks, allowing you to work in an iterative and agile manner.In the CMP office, we have been using Trello for the last few years for team meetings and to manage specific projects, such as the redevelopment of our website.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer or smartphone
  • The Trello website or app (available for iOS and Android)

Instructions:

 

Pros:

Simple to use

  • It’s very simple to use and can be adapted for different purposes.
  • You can get a Trello app on your phone or tablet.
  • You can create as many boards as you like – so you can have a board for each project or a single board for multiple projects.

Customisable

  • You can customize the background of each board using photographs drawn from the Unsplash website (note: Unsplash is an amazing repository of copyright-free images!)
  • You can colour code each card – meaning that you can quickly and visually categorize tasks. You can also search using these coloured labels as a filter.

Collaboration

  • You can collaborate with other users. This is really important if multiple people are working on the same project, also allowing remote working.
  • It automatically refreshes, so other collaborators on your board can see changes in real-time without having to refresh or sync.

Agile

  • It’s based on an agile way of working, so allows you to take an iterative approach and to keep track of all changes to the project. Having a team board with all the projects happening within an organisation can be a really useful way of tracking progress. At CMP we use our team board as an effective and efficient way of structuring our team meetings – we review all of the cards on the board and move them around based on their current state of completion.
  • You can attach documents to cards.
  • You can insert checklists, which give you a percentage of completion on the front of the card.

Calendars

  • If you select the calendar powerup, you can view your cards on a calendar within Trello. This extracts dates from the due dates that you set for each card, and when the calendar view is activated, you can move cards to different dates. This is particularly useful if you are managing a time-sensitive project or involved in social media/marketing scheduling.
  • You can link due dates on cards with your Outlook calendar, allowing you to have all your deadlines in one place (this is provided by a third-party – Cronofy).
  • You can email tasks straight to your board. Each board has an email address, so when you get an important email that you want to add to your board, then you can forward it to this address and all of the information will be linked to your card.

Cons:

  • On the free account, you can only use one power-up per board. If you go for Trello Gold (the paid-for version), this only raises to two power-ups per board.
  • Integrations with other applications, such as Outlook and Slack require the use of a third-party service such as Zapier or IFTT.
  • Your email inbox can sometimes become swamped with notifications, though you can switch these off.
  • Be careful, Trello is sometimes used as a discussion forum rather than for organizing tasks. If you need such a facility, we suggest using Slack, which we will be reviewing soon.

Who should use this within a museum?

Everyone!

General feedback:

We at CMP hate silo working, so using Trello helps us to feel connected and allows us to effectively collaborate on projects and share knowledge. It saves times and ensures that tasks don’t fall through the gaps. In order to get the full potential from Trello, there needs to be complete take-up of this tool by everyone in the team, which can be challenging at times.

The simplicity of Trello means that it can be adapted for a range of different purposes, and in a future review we will look at how Trello has been used within the Collections Department at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno to streamline their public enquiries.

Score:

  • Price – 4.5/5 
  • Ease of use – 4.5/5
  • Efficiency – 5/5
  • Effectiveness – 5/5

Overall score: 19/20

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

 

Weekly Tech Review – Week 6 Sketchfab – viewing 3D scans

Sketchfab

Overview:

Following on from last week’s review of publishing 3D models on Sketchfab, we are reviewing the user-experience of Sketchfab. Sketchfab is a platform where you can publish, share and discover 3D content. There are over 1.5 million scenes with a community of over 1 million creators you can follow, making Sketchfab the largest platform for immersive and interactive 3D content. As with most of our reviews, this is a free platform, where there is no cost to upload or access content.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer or smartphone
  • The Sketchfab website or app (available for iOS and Android)

 Instructions:

The Sketchfab website is incredibly easy to use and navigate. For the purposes of this review, we visited the profile of the British Museum, who have made a concerted effort to publish 3D models online, and have uploaded 220 to date. Following on from this we explored the models that were tagged as ‘Cornwall’ and then filtered for ‘Cultural Heritage and Museums’. We particularly enjoyed the 3D models created by Tom Goskar.

Pros:

  • Detailed information has been provided next to the models. We selected the Queen piece from the Lewis Chess set – this showed information relating to the date of production, height, material, as well as meta-data about the person who took the 3D scan and what equipment was used.

  • There is the facility for multiple annotations when a model contains more than one object.

  • You can download the model for free, though if you wished to charge, there is the facility. This is dependent upon copyright restrictions – so if you don’t want people to download something, you don’t have to offer it.
  • You can add this model to your own collection, embed it on a website, like it, and share it on social media.
  • You can see how many people have viewed and liked the model, allowing museums to gauge the popularity of objects.
  • There is the facility to set different licenses for the download, for instance, the Queen is Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The Creative Commons system of licensing is very straightforward, and you can easily work it out here.
  • People can comment on each model, allowing for extra information, feedback, and discussion amongst users.
  • You can tag each model with generic terms, making it easy for people to find your model while browsing.
  • Link to the museum’s website

Cons:

  • We were keen to try out the VR facility on the Sketchfab app with our trusty Google Cardboards, however, we noticed that all of the museum/heritage models that we looked at were not optimised for VR. This is not a criticism of Sketchfab per se, but more of a missed opportunity on behalf of museums. We did find some ‘VR ready’ models and found the experience to be absolutely brilliant, with the ability to move around the object (something that we noticed was noticeably lacking in Google Arts and Culture and Google Expeditions.
  • Viewing objects in VR version works perfectly for iOS devices. However, using an Android device takes a long time for the object to load in VR and, additionally, the user must install the Google VR Services app beforehand, in order to be able to view objects on Google cardboard (or any VR device).

General feedback:

We love Sketchfab! It presents a brilliant opportunity to freely share and disseminate 3D digital content and become a member of this burgeoning online community. We particularly like the idea of being able to comment on models and feel that this would be a useful tool in the co-curation of museum objects, enhancing digital engagement and participation.

We noticed that most of the models that have been tagged as ‘Cornwall’ are archaeological or architectural, so there is a need for museum object to comprehensively display Cornish heritage.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 5/5
  • Education – 5/5
  • Fun – 4.5/5

Overall score: 19.5

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

Weekly Tech Review – Week 5 Sketchfab – publishing 3D scans

Sketchfab

Overview:

After taking all of our wonderful 3D images of the Porthcurno carrier pigeon last week, we needed somewhere to publish and share them – so this week we will be reviewing Sketchfab. Sketchfab is a platform where you can publish, share and discover 3D content. There are over 1.5 million scenes with a community of over 1 million creators you can follow, making Sketchfab the largest platform for immersive and interactive 3D. As with most of our reviews, this is a free platform, where there is no cost to upload or access content.

Sketchfab is available as a desktop website and as a mobile app, so during this review, we will look at both of these iterations. Once we have finished sharing our 3D images, we will also have a look at some of the museums who use Sketchfab on a frequent basis.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • Either a computer or a smartphone
  • If using a smartphone, you will need to download the free Sketchfab app (available for iOS and Android)

 Instructions:

Web:

  1. Open your internet browser and go to the Sketchfab website: https://sketchfab.com
  2. Create an account.
  3. If you are using the Trnio app (reviewed last week) then you can select the scan and share directly to Sketchfab

 

 

Pros:

  • Website: it is really clear how to upload scans into Sketchfab.
  • Website: the editing options on the website are excellent (once you have managed to get your content on there). The ability to add extra lighting, backgrounds, and post-processing filters is superb, creating professional looking 3D models.
  • We really liked the ability to share 3D scans online on the Sketchfab site, and also the ability to embed this model into our own website.

Cons:

  • Mobile app: not very user-friendly. It is unclear how you import a scan to publish. We thought that we would be able to import 3D scans straight into Sketchfab, but it turns out that on the app you can only export scans to Sketchfab from the app that you used to create the scan. While the Trnio app supports this direct export into Sketchfab, Scann3D doesn’t and we found it impossible to transfer the 3D scans from the app into Sketchfab.

General feedback:

The website and the mobile app appear to fulfill different functions. The website is much better at uploading and editing the 3D scans, whereas the mobile app is more geared towards exploring 3D content that has already been published. So, if you want to publish your own scans, we recommend that you use the Sketchfab website.

The user journey is not particularly easy or intuitive. If Sketchfab were easier to use and integrated better with 3D scanning apps, then the overall experience and benefit to museums would be better. Once the content has been uploaded, Sketchfab provides a fantastic opportunity to become part of a 3D community online, alongside bigger museums such as the British Museum.

Sketchfab is not perfect, but at the moment it is the biggest and best platform available to publish and share 3D scans and models.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 3/5
  • Quality of output – 4/5
  • Potential for museums – 4.5/5

Overall score: 16.5

Next week:

Next week we will be exploring content from other museums from the Sketchfab website, with the mindset of a user rather than a publisher. We might even get the chance to use our favourite tech so far – our Google Cardboards!

 

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

CMP launches Weekly Tech Reviews

Cornwall Museums Partnership has recently launched its Weekly Tech Reviews, facilitated by Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti. Weekly Tech Reviews are a series of short weekly sessions aiming to test and give feedback on affordable digital technologies and their potential applicability within museums in Cornwall. By reviewing, commenting and rating the different technologies through weekly blog entries, we aim to test the digital possibilities for museums in Cornwall.

So far, we have completed four different sessions on:

We welcome any feedback or comments from anyone working in a museum or working with affordable digital technologies. We would also like to hear from you if you have any ideas for future testing. Please contact Jenny, on JennyLee@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk, or Yiota, on yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk, or give us a ring at 01209500750.

 

Grand Family History Day 2018

Invitation to take part at the Grand Family History Day 2018, organised by South East Cornwall Museums Forum.

You are invited to take a table top stall at the Grand Family History Day on Saturday 2nd June 2018 at Liskeard Public Hall.

This will be the third of these events that have become very successful, and have a growing audience. It offers the opportunity reach more than 200 visitors who come to learn about family history research and related heritage.

The event will be free for visitors and open to the public between 10am – 3pm (earlier access is available to set up displays). Liskeard Public Hall offers free Wi-Fi and the refreshment room will be open all day. There is no charge for tables, but a very small change may be required to cover joint insurance.

Publicity for the event is already underway; online, Family History Society magazines, newsletters, newspapers, radio, television, announcements at meetings of interested groups, posters and through social media; Face Book, Twitter etc. We do not mind how large or how small the group is, we just want enthusiastic organisers and volunteers to join us, network together and have a brilliant day, as well as assisting all our visitors.

This offer is open to representatives from Museums, Local Archives, Research Centres, Local History Groups, Family History Groups, Libraries, U3a Groups (Family History) Or anyone who is able to assist visitors in tracing their family trees, Researching their properties or land etc.

To get involved please contact Lizzy Sharpe-Asprey or Gerry Sweet as soon as possible to be included in the publicity.

Lizzy lizzy.asprey@btinternet.com; Saltash Heritage Museum, 17 Lower Fore Street, Saltash / Gerry gwsweet@hotmail.co.uk; Elliott’s Store, Lower Fore Street, Saltash, or Liskeard Museum, Pike Street, Liskeard