Well, as the semester draws to a close and the finishing touches are added, I realized that I was missing information for a small section of my final report. The section: Museum Collections. Easy enough (I thought), just search the data bases from Museums across Australia and around the world.
I was very wrong…
Searching Museum collections for artefacts taken from Gariwerd is the most difficult thing to do. I believe that every area around Gariwerd came up in my search, but nothing from within. It’s not that the museums are to blame; their staff are some of the most helpful people I have ever emailed. The main reason why artefacts are difficult to locate is because the majority of museum collections have been donated by collectors like you and I, and the source of the artefacts are most times unknown. There is no blame being placed on collectors either. I agree it is very difficult when you see the most beautiful artefact lying on the ground to just look and then put it back. But really, we should all just put it back. Instead, take photos and stare at it for a while until the image is burnt into memory, but resist the urge to keep it. If you cannot resist, at least properly label it. A small description of the location where the object was found, written in pencil on archival paper would look great when it is displayed on the mantel at home. Also a notebook containing a GPS coordinate and a small mud map may come in handy when your guests ask about the object.
In the end, I came across a report that had done the majority of my work for me. And so I have been saved from long hours searching for material.
• Great big thanks to the staff at the British Museum, and the Australian National Museum who were so very kind, and took the time to help me in my search.