Collections Researcher

Collections Researcher

1 May – 17 August

16 weeks

$14.50


The Terrace and District Museum Society is seeking a Collections Researcher for a sixteen-week summer position at Heritage Park Museum in Terrace, British Columbia, to conduct research on our collections, to expand our knowledge of our artifacts and archival materials, to update the museum’s social media with photos from our collection, and to write collections-based articles for the local media and our blog. The wage is $14.50 an hour. The position begins on 1 May and ends on 17 August.

Operated by the not-for-profit Terrace and District Museum Society, Heritage Park Museum is a community museum and heritage site consisting of authentic log buildings set up with displays showcasing various aspects of local history. Heritage Park Museum has a large collection of artifacts and archival material.

Terrace is located in Northwestern British Columbia, and is a vibrant community of approximately 12,000 people, with a regional population of approximately 18,000. We are located south of the Nass Valley, east of Prince Rupert, and north of Kitimat. We are two hours by air from Vancouver, and seven hours by driving from Prince George. Terrace is located in the traditional territory of the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations and is consequently rich in culture and history. The surrounding mountains, lakes, and rivers provide infinite opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming. Nearby cultural attractions include the Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site (15 km east of Terrace) and the Nisga’a Museum in Laxgalts’ap (approximately two hours’ drive north of Terrace). See www.visitterrace.com for further information. Alternatively, visit the local newspaper’s website to see the issues and events concerning Terrace residents at www.terracestandard.com.

The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about digitisation, research, writing, museums, and/or local history. Students with demonstrated experience in research, writing, and/or database work will be given priority, though all interested candidates are encouraged to apply. The Terrace and District Museum Society is especially interested in post-secondary students whose studies pertain to computer science, archival sciences, museums, and/or history. Applicants must be between 16 and 30 years of age, and must be full-time students intending to return to school full time in the fall.

Please send a resume and cover letter to Kelsey Wiebe, Curator, Heritage Park Museum at curator@heritageparkmuseum.com. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted to arrange either an in-person or telephone interview by the Curator, depending on availability.

Project & Job Objectives:
The Collections Researcher will conduct research on the museum’s collections. S/he will update the records in our database about our artifacts and archival material, and will write collections-based articles, blog posts, and social media updates about regional history. The student will also digitise and rehouse archival materials, as needed. The Collections Researcher will fill in gaps left by early volunteers who recorded little about donated materials by contacting donors, researching in the local newspaper archives, and being historically creative. The student will highlight First Nations history whenever possible. The position will offer a student interested in research the opportunity to choose what interests them in a large, varied collection, to learn archival best practices, and to write evidence-based historical articles. The student will have access to a great deal of resources and support through the museum’s staff and partnering organisations, and will develop specific research-related skills and experience that will assist in his or her eventual career. The Terrace and District Museum Society will benefit from a better-described and understood records collection, and from wider engagement with local history through articles and posts. Researchers and the community will benefit from the long-term relevance of our collections, and from the highlighting of this material online and in the media. The student’s work will contribute to the community by expanding information on archival records and artifacts, ensuring their long-term significance within the community. In addition, the student’s posts and articles will help to promote a sense of Northwestern history, identity, and community by sharing unique information about the region gleaned from collections research.

Measurable Outcomes:
The measurable outcomes of the project include the updating of our collections database, the consistent and regular updating of our various social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), and the completion of collections-based articles about local history. The conscientious expansion of a significant number artifact and archival records, an increase in social media followers or engagement, and the publishing of articles in The Terrace Standard and Northword Magazine will all be markers of success. Additionally, a sense of community engagement with our holdings will indicate success. These outcomes will then be assessed based on online visitation statistics and feedback. Increased historical literacy as a result of writing and social media updates relating to the archival materials with which the student worked on will also be an important way for the community to understand the work Heritage Park Museum is undertaking. Excitement about and curiosity in local history will similarly be a reflection of the Collections Researcher’s work term. Finally, a common sense of the breadth of the collections of Heritage Park Museum will demonstrate the overall success of the project.

Description of Tasks:
The Collections Researcher will expand records in our digital database, upload material to the museum’s various social media feeds, and write collections-based articles about local history for publication on our website and in the regional media. The student will update the database by researching artifacts and archival materials that pique his/her interest. This may involve contacting donors, when alive and locatable, researching in published histories and oral histories, or researching in the community’s newspaper archive. The student will also be expected to contact local historians, academics, and other regional museums and archives in the course of his or her research. Throughout, the student will identify gaps in provenance and knowledge for further research. The Collections Researcher will conduct such research to contribute to our understanding of our artifacts and archives, and their long-term relevance to the community and to researchers. All archival entries will be constructed according to Rules of Archival Description, and all artifact records will be constructed according to Nomenclature 3.0.

The Collections Researcher will be responsible for uploading collections-based content the museum’s various social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). Archival images, historical anecdotes, and insights gleaned from researching the museum collections will be shared on these feeds. Social media management tools on each feed will be utilised to ensure the consistency of our social media updates, even during the museum’s slow winter season. The student will also write regular blog posts showcasing interesting stories they came across in the course of work. These posts will put special emphasis on First Nations history, as we work to incorporate more First Nations content within our museum and local history, in keeping with national goals of reconciliation. In the same vein, s/he will highlight important regional people, places, and events who have contributed to our national identity, such as the Terrace Mutiny and the Tsimshian heritage of our area. The student’s work will encourage the community to consider what it means to be Canadian, and how our history has led us to the present.

Finally, the student will rehouse and digitise archival materials throughout the course of the summer. As items are examined, they may also—if necessary—be rehoused in acid-free envelopes or folders, and digitised as high-resolution TIFFs, whenever that has not been done.

Employability Skills to be gained (Marketable Skills):
The employability skills to be gained from this position include: 

– writing skills developed through media articles; 
– share information using a range of information and communications technologies: database entries, written (reports), through images on social media; 
– locate, gather, and organise information using appropriate technology and information systems: database entry, digitisation; 
– continuously monitor the success of a project or task and identify ways to improve: regular quality control checks of database entries/updates; 
– access, analyze, and apply knowledge and skills from various disciplines: combination of archival sciences, digital databases, history, and museum standards; 
– readily use technology as a way to think, gain, and share knowledge, solve problems, and make decisions 
– recognize your own and other people’s good efforts: 
– set goals and priorities balancing work and personal life: will be important given the breadth of the project; 
– be socially responsible and contribute to your community: work on a community heritage project to share cultural resources and information; 
– work independently and as part of a team; 
– carry out multiple tasks or projects: balance many research and writing tasks; 
– be innovative and resourceful: identify and suggest alternative ways to achieve goals and get the job done; 
– cope with uncertainty: new, open-ended project—not necessarily straightforward; 
– identify and access learning sources and opportunities; 
– ensure that a team’s purpose and objectives are clear: assist the constant revision and reframing of project initiatives and objectives, as you progress on the project; 
– contribute to a team by sharing information and expertise: digitisation, database expertise; 
– develop a plan, seek feedback, test, revise, and implement: may be necessary to test for quality control and revise digitisation procedure accordingly; 
– work to agreed-upon quality standards and specifications: work toward digitisation and archival best practices.

Candidate Profile:
The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about museum collections, archives, writing, research, digital databases, and/or local history. Students with demonstrated experience in writing, research, or database work will be given priority, though all interested candidates are encouraged to apply. The Terrace and District Museum Society is especially interested in post-secondary students whose studies pertain to archival sciences, museum studies, and/or history. 


Advertisements for the position will make clear that applicants must be full-time students between 16 and 30 years of age who intend to return to school full time in the fall. To ensure candidates are eligible according to Young Canada Works, registration or proof of enrollment in full-time studies will be required following a job offer, and prior to the commencement of the work term. The Terrace and District Museum Society encourages applicants who identify themselves as members of the Government of Canada’s job equity groups (i.e. women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and Aboriginal peoples).


Applications should be addressed to Kelsey Wiebe, Curator, Heritage Park Museum. They may be emailed to curator@heritageparkmuseum.com. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted to arrange either an in-person or telephone interview by the Curator, depending on availability.

*** Position is contingent on funding from Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations.