by Bronwyn Phillips, blog 7
As my Directed Study was drawing to a close I did present for the volunteers, Unley Council and Flinders University. This was a last 10% for my Practicum and I needed to explain how I went about writing two statements of significance for the Unley Museum. This occurred in the Unley Council Chambers in a room upstairs with a projector etc. I did this as a way to tie together the work I did over the last 12 months. I was planning to use Michael Morrison’s fancy new presentation program Prezi.com (well, not his personally) but in the end decided to stick with Powerpoint. Elizabeth Hartnell (Museum Curator) and I thought Powerpoint more suitable to the type of talk I was planning.
It was a bit nerve-wracking leading up to it but I practised on a couple of volunteers the day before. They interrupted with questions and advice which was both good and bad. It is a bit difficult to keep your train of thought when people interrupt you and I planned to tell people the next day to wait until I had finished to ask questions but somehow forgot. One woman corrected me three times during the talk. Well, that threw me for a moment but I quickly recovered. I will never interrupt a lecturer again, promise.
Bronwyn Phillips auditing the Unley Museum collection
A lively discussion ensued. It was well received, with the volunteers congratulating me and telling me they now know what I have done over the past twelve months. The Council staff was very interested too and have invited me to give the same talk to a wider audience. Other good things came out of it too. When I said I thought the museum need more art works represented in their collection it turns out the Council own a few and they are hanging in the council buildings. Now we need to accession them to the museum. When we said we were a bit short on space it seems we can have access to more. All in all it has been a most rewarding experience.
What’s next? I distributed the statements of significance to the volunteers and then to the Friends of the Unley Museum. After everyone has their say they will go into the Policy and Procedures for the Unley Museum then to the Unley Council and then to History SA and then back to the volunteers. A round trip.
The latest exhibition in the Access Gallery, “The Goody Screamers” 100 years of football at the Goodwood Football Club.
Photographs from the Unley Museum site accessed at: http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=912&c=16929 on 16-6-2011.
Unley Museum’s Donation and Accessioning, published by City of Unley.
Unley Museum’s Emergency Collection Management, published by City of Unley.
Unley Museum’s Mission and Objectives Policy, published by City of Unley.
Unley Museum’s Visitor and Inquiries Procedures published by City of Unley.
Posted in Student Posts
Tagged collections audit, Museum Collections, Statement of Significance, Unley Council, Unley Museum
This is Bronwyn Phillip’s last blog post about her practicum with the Unley Museum. We’d like to thank Dr Elizabeth Hartnell and the Unley Museum for supporting Bronwyn’s placement. You can read Brownyn’s other posts about her placement here!
The Colony’s first Fire Brigade 1919 (photograph from the Unley Museum Collection)
My Practicum placement has come to an end but not really. It is continuing into a Directed Study placement which is great because I am really enjoying it and learning a great deal in the process. Fortunately I started volunteering at the Unley Museum at the beginning of the year, I had already been working there for four months by the time my placement started in May. This gave me the opportunity to become familiar with the workings of the Museum and some of the other volunteers. My Directed Study placement finishes in November and I will then create two ‘statements of significance’, with guidance from Dr Elizabeth Hartnell (Museum Curator). By then I will have been there for nearly a year and the time has flown by. This week I am tying up loose ends and completing any tasks I should. The next steps for the Directed Study will be to:
- August: Review collections and significant items. Relate that to the building and historical context.
- September: Consult volunteers and curators about the collection.
- October: Analyse collection’s condition and preservation priorities.
- November: Create primary and comparative criteria and write statements of significance.
74th Infantry Band (photograph from the Unley Museum Collection)
I will start by collating the answers to my survey to deduce what are the most important things in the collection. At least I will know what the volunteers and others connected to the Unley Museum think are the most important parts of the collection. Whilst going through people’s answers I have noticed that each person thinks the most important part of the collection is the area which they work in personally. I guess this makes sense. I know the two Mayor’s robes that I accessioned earlier in the year seem important to me (see picture, below). They were just gorgeous, made from the finest red wool cloth, with black velvet silk bands on the hem and sleeves and a mink collar of course. The oldest robe, by Ede and Ravenscroft Ltd (founded 1689), London, the tailor for the Queen’s and Parliamentarian’s ceremonial robes.
The second Mayor’s Robe (photograph from the Unley Museum Collection)
Overall this has been a most pleasurable experience and I would recommend to any other student considering a Practicum placement to go right ahead. It is so good to work in a real working environment. You cannot help but to learn many new skills including research, people skills, team work, individual work, computer skills and other expertise related to the particular placement. You meet new people and have a laugh in the process.
Orchard’s Draper Store (photograph from the Unley Museum Collection)
Directed Study – Fern Avenue Collection
Like everyone else with a directed study this semester, I’ve realised how much there is to do! It’ll be a challenge but worth it in the end!
My project is based around the Fern Avenue collection that is sitting up in the Arch Lab – all 13 boxes of it! The Fern Avenue Community Gardens Archaeology Project was a small-scale community archaeology project coordinated by Jody Steele and Tim Owen (former Flinders Arch students) and the Unley Museum. The site was a demolished historical jam factory on Fern Avenue, Fullarton, and was discovered during a pre-disturbance survey and artefact collection. This resulted in an abundance of material from a total of ten trenches across the site.
Working in conjunction with the Unley Museum the aim of my project is to sort through the material from the excavations (which includes a lot of rusty bits and pieces, ceramic, glass and a few other bits and bobs) and assess their state of preservation and significance. At the end of the project the Unley Museum will choose a number of artefacts to be repatriated for their permanent collection and I will have to provide a recommendation for the long-term storage/preservation of the remainder of the material.
It will be a long project but I am looking forward to working with the Unley Museum and it will be good practice for my thesis next year!