logoWe are excited to welcome new VITA members the Cobourg Museum Foundation. Thanks to summer student funding, they have begun to populate their VITA collection with past years’ exhibit panels, photographs of artifacts, and metadata to help you learn more about Cobourg’s prominent people.

The Cobourg Museum Foundation has just released its new VITA website, making available to the public, for the first time in a searchable way, its growing collection of almost four hundred story panels and many of its collection of artifacts.

During the summer, two students were kept busy uploading the material into the VITA platform which is specifically designed for not-for-profit organizations to upload, describe and display their digital collections. It is the same platform as used by many institutions throughout the country, including the Cobourg Public Library (for its Cobourg and District Images) and Brighton Digital Archives.

The story panels, which have been the basis of the annual exhibits at the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, had previously been uploaded to the CMF website. They were viewable there but not searchable. Now significant words from all panels can be found through a simple search engine on the new VITA website.

You can find their press release here. We asked a few questions of Stanley Isherwood, Cobourg Museum Foundation treasurer, about the project:


ODW: Why did you initially start searching for a digital collections platform?

Our home-made digital recordkeeping for artifacts, just for ourselves, was a step forward but not very satisfactory.  Why not do it properly and have it available online?


What interested you in the VITA Digital Toolkit?

We had seen it at work with the Cobourg Library’s collection and then saw the Brigton Digital Archives, and talked to them about their positive experience. I really appreciate the help being offered by Jess and others as we go along. We are also being assisted by someone in Peterborough who is something of a programmer and is learning the program as he goes.


What materials do you plan on sharing with the Toolkit?

At the moment we simply want to have our 8 years of story boards easily accessible and searchable. We will put them into themed groups by years. As in much technology, you start out not knowing all its potential.

It’s our intention to upload all our artifacts, many photos, and videos from YouTube. You may have seen the Harbour Story linked on our home page.  That took two volunteers two years! We don’t have any further digitization plans at the moment. But plans change.