In 2002 a group of 18 community museums sought to standardise their collections management practices and digitise Nova Scotia’s material culture and so launched the Passage Project. The grassroots initiative grew to include over 50 museums and was moved to ANSM within a few years. In 2006 the program received an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Museum Management from the Canadian Museums Association.
Now known as ANSM’s Advisory Service, participating museums receive an annual site visit, one-on-one training, and remote support. The service provides access to and usage of the CollectiveAccess database system, NovaMuse, and related special projects. ANSM members may apply to participate in the service through a peer reviewed application process. There are two levels to the Advisory Service. In addition to the Sustaining Level which includes the above-mentioned benefits, there is also the Supporting Level for new participants. The Supporting Level does not include the database element, yet enables museums to work with ANSM at their own pace towards the Sustaining Level. All members secure their participation in the program through an annual fee.
The service is supported by a Museum Advisor who maintains regular communication with and provides support to participating museums through a blog, social media, and by email, phone and Skype. This blend of media enables ANSM to share professional resources, promote museum activities and collections, and ensure that museums are always in the loop on various activities.