Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Research Tips and Tricks at Museums

Today, I have Karen Baney, a self-published author who writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  Karen enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She is going to share her research tips and tricks at museums. Karen is launching her new book,Nickels at the www.womensliterarycafe.com

My husband and I recently took a nice long weekend trip to Tucson, Arizona.  As with most of our vacations, we worked in a trip to a few museums.  I love walking into museums, smelling that old musty smell of things long past.

Then reality hits.  I mean, I’m standing in the largest aircraft museum in the country.  I could spend days here.  How am I ever going to gather all of the information I need in one short afternoon without testing my husband’s patience?

Normally, I’m armed with my Nikon D50 and a notepad.  I take hundreds of pictures and make notes (as long as the museum permits picture taking).  But this time, I brought something extra.  My iPhone and this neat little app called EverNote.

Several times throughout the day, I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone, saving the shot directly into EverNote.  I added a few quick notes and viola!  My research notes were instantly uploaded to my account and available from my laptop, phone, and even my desktop sitting at home.

By the end of the trip, I found myself getting into a groove.  If there were long text descriptions of something that I wanted to capture to read later, I used my iPhone.  If I wanted the highest quality picture of an object, like the WWII airplanes, I used my Nikon and added a few notes to my paper notepad.  I always jot down the picture number beside the note.

At the end of each day, I allotted an hour in the hotel room to organize the day’s notes.  I loaded the pictures from my Nikon to my laptop.  I went through my notepad and typed up the notes directly into EverNote.  Now, when I’m ready to write my WWII series, all my notes are neatly organized and extremely accessible.  I don’t have to try to remember what drawer I stuffed them in.

My tips for researching at a museum:

1. Take lots of pictures.
2. Bring a notepad.
3. Always write down the picture number and a brief note in the notepad for the pictures you’re taking.
4. Find ways to use your smart phone to work more efficiently on research trips.
5. Do a quick review of your notes at the end of each day.  You’ll remember things you forgot to write down and you’ll capture them while they are fresh.


For more information about Karen or her books, visit http://www.karenbaney.com.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me Geraldine. I hope your readers get a lot from these tips.

  2. I looks like you guys had a great time!! I love the pics too. And the tips are ones that really need to be printed out and pinned up on my bulletin board! Thanks so much, Karen!!