This week I was fortunate enough to see how the museum deals with external requests for access to the store and museum objects, and how it is co-facilitated by curators and colle
tion managers equally. The museum had recently receieved a request from a group of retired workers from a Victoria bank that had closed business. This historical association approached the museum requesting to see any historical items or documents that the museum held in its collection regarding the Victorian bank for which they used to work. For me, this was a really interesting insight into how local and governmental institutions interact with each other; a tacit agreement is in place between the museum, and the state library, which means they split objects and documents between them depending on who has more space and can house the items better. This was surprising to me; compared to corporate environments that may fight over the objects and demand a right to own them, the museum and the state library act cooperatively in order to best preserve a little piece of Melbourne’s history.
The visit by the retired gentlemen was a success; we laid out items from our collection on delicate bean bags and laid out all the protective equipment (gloves mainly). We talked the gentlemen through the objects, how the museum came to acquire them, as well as sharing tips regarding storage and collection management. This was an aspect of museum life I had often not thought about; objects on exhibition display make up but a small portion of items the museum holds, yet this does not mean all other objects are not in use. Visits such as this are common, as well as research done by doctoral students, therefore cementing the museum’s place as a facilitator of research and enhancing community relations.
(safety is important)
Also this week, I have been writing an historical narrative for the Callister collection (the collection which has unfortunately been diagnosed with mould). However, this was still a rewarding and thoughtful task; writing about why and how collections and items have come to be historically worthy of note is a vastly difference experience from writing a traditional history essay, which has a completely difference focus. This challenge was both rewarding and difficult; this style of writing is so different from university writing that I often struggled to adopt the right tone. As this is an ongoing project, anything I write will surely be edited and adapted after I leave the museum. However, I have provided a structural and important backbone – this is my legacy to the museum!
On a personal note, this weekend was the first time I have left the city itself and done some exploration. I booked myself a trip on the Great Ocean Road day trip – what an experience. Pictures fail to do the views justice, but here I go anyway..