Museums & Galleries Qld

Townsville Curator, Anita Meale, completes a successful Museum Mentorship at the Mercy Heritage Centre in Brisbane

Posted on: 15 December 2011

Anita Meale, Curator, Corporation of the Sisters of Mercy of the Diocese of Townsville

Anita Meale, Curator at the Corporation of the Sisters of Mercy of the Diocese of Townsville, has completed a successful Museum Mentorship with the Mercy Heritage Centre in Brisbane as a result of  a successful application to M&GSQ’s pilot 2011 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.

The Mercy Heritage Centre is a social history museum exploring the lives and work of the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation within a significant building. It celebrated 150 years in 2011 with the completion of three stages of redevelopment and 26 new exhibitions.

Anita discusses the success of her placement:

My Mentorship at the Mercy Heritage Centre has been highly beneficial, providing the opportunity for in-depth discussions with professionals and gaining more specific knowledge about exhibition planning and designing, and about audience engagement across various age levels.

During my placement I was involved in assisting with content lists for Stage 3 of the Mercy Heritage Centre exhibitions and observing how Exhibition Designers use the information provided for their ultimate design (and how important measurements of objects are). The Mercy Heritage Centre staff and I looked at other features of exhibitions including the basics of text panels and some theories behind exhibition designs and I assisted with changing exhibition lights, cleaning objects and re-arranging paper documents which had moved in their display cabinet.

During the course of my two weeks I also saw several tour groups go through, and observed how the staff approached different audiences of various ages and backgrounds. I had the chance to have a closer look at the new Mercy Heritage Centre Education Kits and looked at the plans for the exhibition catalogue which will accompany the newly developed exhibitions.

Staff at the Mercy Heritage Centre also dedicated time to provide valuable lessons in collection management, which comprises the majority of my current job. Topics discussed included how to best utilise annual and exhibition budgets, making a storage plan, and conservation.

As a result of my Mentorship at the Mercy Heritage Centre, Brisbane, the Sisters of Mercy Townsville will benefit greatly from my gaining an increased knowledge of the museum sector. All the insights, in both collection management and exhibition planning and designing, will be of invaluable assistance and have therefore benefited my career goals of becoming a more learned and knowledgeable curator. Since my Mentorship, I have been able to put on a small temporary display for the local Townsville Sisters and many thanks to Brisbane for all the valuable lessons learned. The Sisters of Mercy Townsville wish to eventually permanently display their history. The Director of Mercy Heritage Centre took the time to discuss possible design strategies for the Sisters of Mercy Townsville’s future public displays, based on different room size scenarios, object choices, text panels etc.

My expectations upon starting this Mentorship were to gain insights into an operating museum and to gain knowledge on exhibition planning, designing and implementation, of which all were met during my placement.

M&GSQ’s 2011 pilot Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program  is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture. For more information on the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship program, go to the M&GSQ website,

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Museums & Galleries Queensland

122 Gerler Rd, Hendra QLD 4011

Phone: 07 3059 9740

Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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Rebekah Butler, Executive Director
Debra Beattie, General Manager
Melissa Fletcher, Information Officer
Deannah Vieth, Training and Professional Development Manager
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Donna Davis, Exhibition Program Officer
Bonnie Melrose, Exhibition Program Officer
Andrea Higgins, Exhibition Program Officer

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