Cataloguing Technician, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
I was born/grew up in: London, England
I now live in: Ottawa, ON, Canada
I completed my training/education at: Carleton University and Algonquin College
Describe what you do at work.
I primarily work with the archival collections. A large portion of my time is spent answering requests that come from all over the world for the Canadian National (CN) Image Collection which consists of photos of natural resources, World Wars I and II, railway facilities, marine services and road transport facilities. However, we do occasionally get requests for other photo collections.
The photographs are either for personal use or for reproduction in books, textbooks, magazines, exhibitions, museums, TV shows, documentaries and/or restaurants. Sometimes, clients already know the image they want, in other times, I have to make a selection and they choose from the thumbnails I provide them. Once the image is chosen, I scan it at a high resolution and send it to them electronically with an invoice.
Some requests are quite unique. One that stands out was the Canadian Consulate in India who ordered our images for a Canada Day exhibition. We’ve also had requests from England, France, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, and of course the United States and Canada.
We also have drawings of locomotives in the Canadian Pacific Railway Steam Engineering Collection. Many model makers request reproductions of these drawings. Another collection that is heavily used is the H.K. Porter Locomotive Collection. It consists of technical drawings from the American H.K. Porter Locomotive Company. Many of the requests for these drawings come from the United States.
It’s fun because you get to talk to a variety of people every day and all the requests are different.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people's lives?
I am very fortunate to be able to help find and deliver what our clients are looking for. Many of them use the images and documents I provide them to make beautiful end products.
What motivates you in your career?
I love my job and I have fun with it so that is what motivates me.
There’s probably two aspects of my career that are most interesting. The first is the fact that I get to talk to people from all over the world. I’ve created long lasting relationships with some people. They come back for repeat orders.
The other aspect I love is directly working with an archival collection because some of them are incredibly unique and pretty amazing like the Canadian Pacific Steam Ship Collection, the Domtar E.B. Eddy Booth Collection and the Jon De Bondt Collection of Automobile Advertising.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I completed a degree in archival studies at Algonquin College after which I did a lot of volunteering in different museums. When I was at Algonquin College, I had to do two one-month placements in my second year and one of the placements I did was at the Natural History Museum in London, England in their archives. I had a wonderful experience.
I think I set out with the idea that I always wanted to work in a museum, in some way. I got great advice along the way and I’ve just been really fortunate that it worked out for me.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family and friends, read and I like to do yoga.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I think my advice would be to volunteer in order to get your foot in the door. It is a good way to get people to know your work and character.