Confidence Factor; Leveling Up with Argus

An Argus Success Story

BC Sports Hall of Fame Goals

  • Accessibility for staff and the public)
  • Consistency and standardization)
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
“For every collections management challenge we have there is a solution within Argus because it is so flexible and adaptable. Our collection has never been better organized.”
Jason Beck

The BC Sports Hall of Fame exists to celebrate extraordinary achievement in BC sport history. Each year, a diverse audience of visitors from around the globe experience the collection representing 150-years of sporting accomplishments in British Columbia.

As one of the largest sport-specific collections in Canada, the BC Sports Hall of Fame collection encompasses more than 28,000 artifacts and over 100,000 archival documents, each a unique piece of BC’s sport history.

Curator Jason Beck and his colleagues Rebecca Kirkham and Shelby McCannel implemented Lucidea’s Argus CMS to further the Hall of Fame’s mission to tell engaging stories of the individuals, teams and organizations who have made achievement in sport such an important part of the fabric of life, culture, and history in the province of BC.

When the pandemic shut down all public-facing operations, Mr. Beck and his team saw a rare opportunity to take care of several back-of-house projects—and finding the right museum collections management system was priority one. They sought funding for the initiative, and ultimately got a grant through the Museums Assistance Program. As part of developing the proposal and grant application, museum staff researched CMS vendors, including asking external peer colleagues for recommendations. They narrowed the field to four vendors, and once the project team had reviewed all the options, Argus was the clear winner.

Jason tells us that in addition to appreciating Argus’ suitability for a small museum with a specialized collection and a need for vendor hosting (SaaS), he, Rebecca, and Shelby were impressed by the versatility of the software, and were happy to be working with a team to implement the CMS. He indicated he and other staff were originally a bit “weak” on the technology end, but became much stronger and more confident as they worked through the process. “It made a big difference that Lucidea’s Client Services Team members have sector knowledge and have worked with all kinds of heritage institutions. We were very well taken care of throughout.”

Moving from a MS Access database to a full featured museum CMS presented some challenges. Per Jason, “It was a pretty intensive process to begin with; although we had an existing database, it didn’t always transfer over smoothly—not due to Argus issues! There are always things you will want to change, or different fields you would like to capture. We were trying to impose the consistency and standardization we had been missing. I always believed we would complete the project, but we had to work item by item, solving all sorts of problems along the way. Implementing Argus was a forcing mechanism for cleanup.”

Although they plan to document their archival materials in Argus, (especially the photo collection) the first stage of implementation focused strictly on the artifact collection. It encompasses uniforms, textiles, trophies, medals, plaques, plates, and equipment, e.g., baseballs, footballs, helmets, shoes and other footwear. Per Jason, there’s “… everything from a bobsled to a Zamboni. There are also souvenirs—items that athletes collected or received as gifts while competing all over the world, such as pins that served as good luck charms. It is definitely a niche collection, but truly varied.” This variety really shows the versatility in Argus; it supports multimedia materials, enables expanded curation, and empowers the staff to prepare exhibits with ease—even when working remotely.

The BC Hall of Fame’s website invites the public and researchers to use the Argus public portal to “Explore our artifacts through featured online collections or search for your favourite sports, teams, and athletes.” And they do! They now ask the museum staff about specific items they have seen on the portal; there are fewer questions asking whether they have something in the collection. Before the portal was implemented, researchers/historians who used the collections and had been in for viewings typically reached out to Jason; he would do the research, and they would come in not knowing what had been gathered. Now, they are “blown away” that they can search the collection themselves—and maybe not even with a project in mind, but to get inspired.

A few favorite artifacts inspire Jason—including one of the stopwatches used to time the Miracle Mile in 1954, stopped at Roger Bannister’s winning time. There is also an Indy car that Greg Moore raced to victory in 1997; at that time, this local BC resident was the youngest winner of a North American open-wheel race.

Jason told us the word that comes to mind when he thinks of Argus is “elevation”, saying, “It has taken everything we do to another level, whether that’s creating a new display, locating items, or in how we work with the collection. Argus has been a great success, and we look forward to discovering more and more things we can do with it.”

The stadium the museum is located in, BC Place, will be hosting the World Cup Games in 2026. The area where the collection is stored will be renovated, so the entire collection will be moved. Per Jason, “If this had happened five years ago there would have been hysteria. Now, with Argus, we know exactly what is there and we know exactly how it is organized. This gives us the confidence to ‘roll with it!’ “

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