Green Team Spotlight: Learn how to catalogue artifacts with the Cape Freels Development Association Green Team

Two men and a women stand in a museum in front of artifacts displayed on shelves.

The Conservation Corps NL (CCNL) Green Team program employs youth to complete environmental and cultural conservation projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. This summer, the Green Team partnered with the Cape Freels Development Association worked on projects in New-Wes-Valley, Lumsden and Greenspond. To start the summer off, Alex Hefferton (Team Leader) and Jervanni Mitchell (Team Member) completed an inventory of the Bonavista North Museum and Gallery

Keep reading to learn how Alex and Jervanni catalogued the museum’s collections.

What is Cataloging?

Cataloging is the process in which records are created to describe the physical and electronic resources in a museum or archival collection. Records may describe books, artifacts, maps, or any other type of material held in the museum collection. 

Our main project of the summer consisted of cataloging our Town’s local museum, the Bonavista North Museum and Gallery. This project is important to our community because museums ensure understanding and appreciation of local history and culture. They promote better understanding of our collective heritage and foster dialogue, curiosity and self-reflection. 

A man sits at a desk reading a binder.
Alex Hefferton reads over museum materials at the Bonavista North Museum and Gallery.

How to Catalogue a Collection

The Bonavista North Museum’s collection includes a variety of artifacts, from decorations, to various tools, to clothing. To begin the cataloging process, we first had to acquire an understanding of what the item is and what it was used for. 

First, we located items in the collection and measured their dimensions.

After that job was completed, the next part of the process was given to the “logger.” This person would record the information such as name of item, item number, doner,  dimensions and a picture of the item. They would then enter all this information into an Excel spreadsheet.

The last job in cataloguing is “tagging.” This person would give the item a tag with the item number and who donated that item, if an item number is not present on an item one would be provided. 

A room full of artifacts, including a model house, a pitcher and tools.
Artifacts in the Bonavista North Museum and Gallery.

Over the span of  three weeks, we managed to catalog over 600 items. This was an interesting experience where many new skills were developed and teamwork skills were enhanced due to our dependency on each other to complete this project flawlessly. We hope that the information obtained from this project can be used to further the development and organization of our local town museum.

Thanks Alex and Jervanni for sharing what you learned! Learn more about Conservation Corps NL’s Green Team Program here.

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