Hello everyone, my name is Sophie!

I was hired through a Young Canada Works program as a Collections Rehousing & Cataloguing Clerk from September 2020 to March 2021. During my time at the Elgin County Railway Museum, I took part in projects that focused on cleaning and reorganizing the museum collection. I am proud to know that my work helped improve the quality of the museum’s collection. In doing so, my work contributed to the museum’s ability to complete its mission of preserving the railway heritage of Southwestern Ontario.

Much of my work helped to make the collection room clutter-free and completely reorganized! The main project was to sort the artifacts in the museum’s collection room. This included accessioning various artifacts that were found uncatalogued in the collection room, as well as reorganizing the storage spaces to make it easier to locate artifacts, both on the shelves and in the collection database. As a team, we removed the objects that were no longer significant to the collection and offered them to other museums. Artifacts that were not taken by other museum curators were put into an auction open to the general public to provide ECRM with some additional revenue. In addition to artifact relocation, other tasks that I completed include designing display case exhibits, artifact research and database entry, and document/photograph digitization. My work in digitizing means that the museum’s documents and photographs now have digital backups.

Being a part of this project enabled me to improve my knowledge of museum organization, and I learned about universal organizational strategies employed by museums, as well as how to properly accession artifacts. I hope to apply what I have learned from my position at the Elgin County Railway Museum to my future career. I am currently an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in art history, and I’m interested in continuing an education and career path geared toward museum organization and conservation. This position helped me to develop my skills and knowledge related to museum organization, maintenance, and function, which will be useful in a conservation-focused career. In the future, I hope to build upon my newfound knowledge of organizational strategies, accessioning protocols, and exhibit design to establish myself as a part of the heritage conservation community!

— Sophie Thorpe, Collections Rehousing & Cataloguing Clerk (Sep 2020 – Mar 2021)