Building and maintaining an accessible museum collection is about more than making sure a wheelchair can fit between the rows of shelving. Accessibility also considers, among other things, how easy it is to find objects, what information about the objects is available and to what extent the public knows about the collection to begin with. The Salmon Arm Museum’s new collections management software is an important step towards improved accessibility, which staff and volunteers continue to work towards.

In addition to mobility aid considerations within the storage facility, what else makes a museum collection more physically accessible? A neat and organized storage space goes a long way to make it easier for researchers, members of the community, and staff to retrieve objects. Sorting and organizing the collection has been a major project this year. It is definitely a team effort, but volunteers Barbara Raynor and Lise Ouimet are the stars.

 Deciding what does and does not belong in the museum collection is an important part of keeping the collection organized and well taken care of. Each potential deaccession is considered for its significance to Salmon Arm history, the condition of the object and any duplicates the collection already has. When objects that are no longer useful to the museum collection are taken out of the storage space, more resources can be given to the remainder of the collection.

 Barbara and Lise have taken on a large part of this process. Barbara looks through every box, at every single item, before carefully wrapping them back up and labelling them. With the help of Lise’s database prowess, Barbara attaches an itemized list to the outside of the box. This kind of system greatly reduces the number of times an object is handled and therefore exposed to risk.

 Thank you, Barbara and Lise, for your diligent work on this project and thank you to all the other volunteers who give their time and skills to R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum. We can only do what we do with your help!