Collections Assistant

  • Volet de programme : Jeunesse Canada au travail dans les établissements du patrimoine
  • Titre de l'emploi : Collections Assistant
  • Nom de l’organisme : Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
  • Lieu de l’emploi : Toronto, Ontario
  • Durée de l'emploi : 2017-05-29 à 2017-08-18 (12 semaines)
  • Salaire horaire : 14,00 $

General Information

Job Title: Collections Assistant, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre

Duration: 12 weeks

Work Schedule: 9:30am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday, 7 hours per day

Start and End dates: May 29, 2017 to August 18, 2017

Language of Work: English

Project & Job Objectives:

For over 50 years, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) has served as the gathering point for the Japanese Canadian community and for those of non-Japanese ancestry who have an interest in things Japanese in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Heritage Committee exists “to introduce the culture, history, and legacy of Japanese Canadians to all Canadians while creating a tribute to the history of the Nikkei community and their contributions to the building of our nation.”

The Collections Assistant will focus on three main responsibilities: 1) the photographing, cataloguing, and data entry of the JCCC doll collection; 2) the photographing, cataloguing, and data entry of newly acquired artefacts to the JCCC collection; and 3) assist the Archive and Collections Manager with the preparation and setup of an upcoming exhibit on Japanese migration – including identification and inclusion of JCCC collection material to complement the exhibit.

These projects will directly affect current events and programming, with both short and long term objectives. The photographing of artefacts from the JCCC doll collection will update and complete the digital accessibility of those artefacts through the public database. The photographing, cataloguing, and data entry of newly acquired artefacts in the JCCC collection will both update and complete the digital accessibility of those artefacts through the public database. The artefacts of the doll collection have received basic cataloguing and storage care, with thanks to volunteers. Newly acquired artefacts are currently housed in our temporary deposit area and require further cataloguing. The remaining steps for both groups of items is to be properly catalogued, photographed and/or scanned, and added to the JCCC online archives database – an ongoing project in concert with the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, B.C. The completion of these projects will lend considerable progress and available material to the Heritage Committee as they are concurrently assessing educational programming at the JCCC, with consideration for curriculum requirements. Materials in the JCCC archives are actively and regularly used not only for display, but also for educational programming purposes. Once catalogued and entered into the database, items may enter regular rotation for educational programs.

The JCCC’s Moriyama Nikkei Heritage Centre will also be hosting an upcoming exhibit on Japanese migration histories and narratives from around the world. Exhibit material will be a compilation of material from the JCCC collection, as well as organizations such as the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum (JOMM).

The Collections Assistant will also be asked to complete transcriptions of video footage from the 2013 Japanese Canadian Post War Experience Conference, which was organized through the JCCC’s Sedai Project. The Sedai Project aims to record, preserve, and promote awareness of the Japanese Canadian experience – particularly with reference to the experience of forced relocation and internment during WWII. Through anecdotes and video recorded memories, Sedai aims to lend a relatable human face and voice to the stories otherwise found in static texts and photos.

The Moriyama Nikkei Heritage Centre in the JCCC, aims to provide a wide variety of programming as well as a public space focused on connecting Canadians of all backgrounds with the history of Japanese Canadians via interaction with artefacts, photographs, and other items from the community. From 1942-1946, over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly removed from the west coast, and many people relocated to the Toronto area after the war. Over the years, they have donated numerous items to the JCCC for educational purposes. The current online database is an important collaborative project between the JCCC in Toronto and the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC, aiming to improve the long term preservation of these valuable collections and ensure they are accessible online through a collaborative database website.

The Collections Assistant may also be asked to assist with major cultural community activities organized by the JCCC and the Heritage Committee (including but not limited to the annual Natsu Matsuri, Nostalgia Night, Toronto Japanese Film Festival, and the children’s summer day-camp Kamp Kodomo).

Description of Tasks:

The Collections Assistant’s main tasks will be:

To photograph and complete data entry of artefacts from the JCCC doll collection into the pre-existing digital database in collaboration with the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, B.C.

To catalogue, photograph and/or scan, and complete data entry of new acquisitions to the JCCC collection into the pre-existing digital database in collaboration with the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, B.C.

To assist with identifying and preparing material from the JCCC collection for inclusion in an upcoming exhibit. This may include, but is not limited to:

- Researching material in the JCCC collection via the database, to identify appropriate display material (photographs, artefacts, and documents)

- Preparing printed explanatory material to mount with the selected items

- Mounting identified items into the exhibit space

- Setup of all exhibit material on loan with the Archive and Collections Manager

To complete transcripts of video footage from the Japanese Canadian Post War Experience Conference (2013), managed through the Sedai Project.

To gain a good sense of the collections and daily work at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre via Heritage Committee related operations and activities, particularly small museums and gallery management, which is fundamentally and predominantly volunteer initiated.

To participate and assist with annual events at the JCCC, including but not limited to Natsu Matsuri and Nostalgia Night.

Employability Skills:

The successful candidate will acquire skills and experience in exhibit planning and presentation, cataloguing, museum standards and policy, database software, artefact handling and preservation, museum collections arrangement and storage, and research procedures. Their work with our artefacts will enable further accessibility by community and academic researchers to the JCCC collection, as well as the creation of upcoming educational programming. Any records completed by the student (which are searchable online) within our database will be used as the basis for upcoming exhibits and displays in the Moriyama Nikkei Heritage Centre, which is comprised of a historical exhibit space, a library, a ceremonial tearoom, a gallery space, the Nikkei Heritage Resource Centre (utilized by staff and volunteers as a work and meeting space), additional archive storage space, new Heritage offices, and central JCCC administrative office spaces. They will gain experience in strategic planning, problem solving, and leadership skills under the direction of JCCC Heritage staff. The setting will provide experience in cultural diversity, how a historic site operates, working in a team, and the importance of preserving history for future generations.

Candidate Profile:

This position is suitable for students pursuing post-secondary education in the fields of museum and curatorial studies, archival studies, Canadian history, and library and information technology studies. Studies in anthropology and sociology are also applicable.

Required skills of the successful candidate:

- Strong familiarity and ability to use Office software, specifically Word and Excel; demonstrable experience with database software a definite asset (e.g. Filemaker)

- Familiarity with Adobe software (e.g. Photoshop) and basic operation of a digital SLR camera

- Excellent written and verbal communication skills with fluency in English – successful candidates will be working closely and collaboratively with volunteers and staff

- Strong attention to detail, with strong organizational skills

Knowledge of Canadian History and Japanese Canadian History is an asset. Familiarity with the Rules of Archival Description, preservation, and conservation is also an asset. Experience with exhibition mounting (gallery and/or museum) is also an asset.

Cover letters and accompanying resumes are requested via email with a subject line of “JCCC Collections Assistant”, to Manager of Heritage and the Sedai Project,, following the submission of an application via the YCW online portal.

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