St. Joseph Museums switches to new database

Sara Wilson, left, and Emily Zeman, right, of the St. Joseph Museums share the new museum database.

People now can see more of the St. Joseph Museums’ collection and without even having to go to the actual locations to do it.

The St. Joseph Museums launched a new database on Monday that is accessible to the public. Utilizing CatalogIt Hub, the museums’ entire collection will be available to anyone who wants to see it.

Sara Wilson, the executive director of the St. Joseph Museums, said they are switching from a cloud-based to a web-based system.

“What that means is that researchers across the world are going to have access to the information we hold in our records,” Wilson said.

The transition is still in the early stages as staff upload pictures of all the objects and artifacts, which can be done with cell phones. Wilson said this will be helpful in multiple instances, including on a tour if visitors want to know more about a specific collection.

Only 3% of the museum’s collection is on display. The new hub will hold the entire collection and be searchable to the public.

“A lot of that stuff is not always on display. We do try to rotate items out of our collection on display and then keep some things in storage,” Wilson said. “Just because something’s not on display, people will still be able to search and know what we have and see those items and do research on it. So it’s pretty exciting.”

The catalog is easy to navigate and works like a Google search engine to find specific items.

“We’re hoping that we can kind of use this as an outsourcing thing. So we can ... include the community in building our collection and building the history of our collection,” Emily Zeman, collections manager for the St. Joseph Museums, said. “So if someone sees something on here and goes, ‘Hey, I know who that person is,’ or ‘Hey, this information isn’t quite right,’ we can get that information, we can upload that in real-time.”

The database is available right now at by clicking the “Get Involved” tab, then the “Research” tab.

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Maykayla Hancock can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowHancock.

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