Museums & Galleries Qld

Archive for July 2013

If you’re involved in a museum, large or small, in Queensland I’d recommend you keep an eye on the M&GSQ website and go for the next opportunity to apply for a mentorship. Choose the right place(s) and the benefits are enormous.

Week 2 of Tom Harwood’s mentorship he spent at the Qantas Heritage Centre working with curator David Crotty and undertaking very useful research aa well as enjoying the great views of the airport and runways whenever he could.

Tom worked through the files of negatives, photos & old documents dating back to the beginnings of Qantas and used the McGinness and McMaster folders to create 500-word biographies on each of the founders: Paul McGinness, Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster and Arthur Baird. Later this year, they’re being inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.  Tom also worked with  Randall Moore who has recently completed cataloguing the more than 3 000 photo negatives in the collection to identify some of the people in shots that were taken in Qantas Park, Longreach in 1980.

To read Tom’s posts directly on the Qantas Founders Museum Facebook page go to

M&GSQ’s 2013/2014 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.

See M&GSQ’s website, for more information about the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first thing that strikes me on arrival at National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is the incredibly beautiful terraces it housed in – Tasma Terrace. Situated just behind Victoria Parliament and in front of a sculpture by Susan Hewitt and Penelope Lee, commemorating the 100th anniversary of female suffrage in Victoria, Tasma, as it is affectionately known sets the tone of an exciting week of historical houses and collections.

The collections team at the Trust are three passionate individuals and my mentor, Lizzie Anya-Petrivna is a joy from our first face to face introduction. A short orientation and introduction and we are off to be immersed in the Costume Collection for the rest of the day.

The Trust’s costume collection is stored primarily at Labassa Mansion, one of the 23 historic venues that the Trust manages. It is here where I will spend the majority of my first week.  Labassa is one of Australia’s most outstanding 19th century mansions. Hidden in a cul-de-sac in North Caulfield, Labassa’s striking Romantic facade and opulent interiors reflect high-Victorian era grandeur. My initial introduction to the collection does not disappoint – it is a relatively large collection and tells the fashion history of Melbourne and Victoria. The strengths of the collection are in the locally made and worn costumes, dating from 1850-1970. The collection provides insight into patterns of consumption, emigration, trade, and social change. We unpack racks and solander boxes filled with items, each one with a little story from Lizzie. This hands-on introduction to the collection is a great experience and builds confidence straight away. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been a really productive exercise so far and I definitely made the
right choice in opting for the Powerhouse.
Worthwhile? Absolutely!

Here’s some of the things Tom has been learning:

  • learning better ways to establish the significance and stories behind objects with Margaret Simpson, discussed ways of creating displays with Debbie Rudder and how to look after and preserve our uniform collection, including how to make inexpensive hat stands with Sarah Pointon.
  • learning about the Australian Dress Register where he’ll be entering much of our uniform collection when he returns and getting more clues on how to look after our textile collection.
  • looking at new-technology developments in museum presentation and education programmes with Peter Mahoney. For a sample, download from the app store the free Thinkspace-AR app then got to the Powerhouse museum website and head for Thinkspace where you’ll find some amazing things to explore.
  • escorted tour of the very large storage facility at the Castle Hill Discovery Centre with retired curator Ian Debenham.
  • ways to better preserve our aircraft and engine collection.
  • the magic of NFC labels which enable museum visitors to scan a label and download information they can take with them. With an android device, it’ll be possible to take part of the museum with you wherever you go.
  • developments in LED lighting in a museum context.
  •  coaching on how to create QR scans and use them.
  • The last ‘official’ part of the week was a chat with Dimity about arranging loans of some of the amazing books in the Powerhouse library.

To read Tom’s posts directly on the Qantas Founders Museum Facebook page go to

M&GSQ’s 2013 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.

See M&GSQ’s website, for more information about the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

M&GSQ’s North Burnett Workshop on Preventive Conservation was presented by Museum Development Officer, Lydia Egunnike in Gayndah on Saturday 29 June. Topics included:

  • Preservation planning
  • Identifying and preventing deterioration and damage: Chemical and physical structure of objects; External and internal environmental factors; Biological factors (including use of Integrated Pest Management); Collection handling and use.
  • Storage furniture and object enclosure selection: selecting materials and design; Simple DIY enclosures.
  • Cleaning techniques.

Here’s my top tips on preserving collections from learning at the workshop:

  1. Create a stable environment (locate collections away from sources of light, heat, moisture & air pollutants, allow for good air movement, uncluttered storage and display, use object enclosures and supports made from non-reactive materials and designed to avoid damage to the objects, monitor collections, use integrated pest management).
  2. Dust is your enemy; implement a regular cleaning regime for the buildings and collections.
  3. Use blunder traps for crawling pests.
  4. If you find collection items infested with bugs or beetles, check with a conservator for best treatment eg paper based collections, textiles without wood or glass can be double bagged and put in a freezer to kill the pests; wood and glass objects can be given low oxygen treatments. For more information see
  5.  Use enclosures made of non-reactive materials to store collections-see guides to making an archival box and flap enclosures
  6. Nitrile gloves may be better than cotton for handling collections.
  7. Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with micro attachments for cleaning paper, textiles; use air puffer for gentle cleaning of photographs; wash glass and ceramics with deionised or distilled water, use a soft brush and don’t wear gloves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

M&GSQ was awarded a federal Community Heritage Grant to conduct three workshops in the Burnett Region on Collection Management, Disaster Preparedness and Recovery and Preventive Conservation.    North Burnett Regional Council also generously supported the workshop venue at the Gayndah Arts and Cultural Centre, 34 Meson Street, Gayndah.

Community Heritage Grants are jointly funded and supported by the National Library of Australia, the Department of Regional Australia, Local government, Arts and Sport; the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

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.

M&G QLD Staff

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

M&G QLD’s User Online Comments Policy