Museums & Galleries Qld

Robyn Kirby blogs from her M&GSQ internship at the Army Museum of North Queensland

Posted on: 16 August 2013

My first week at the Army Museum of North Queensland has been interesting, informative and educational, leading to a greater insight and understanding of the operation of a professionally run museum.

The Curator, Amanda Pontifex, and the Museum Manager, Major John Lavery have been instrumental in helping me to realise that whether it be a professional or amateur museum, they both face similar challenges with the need to safely display, store, preserve and conserve objects that have been gifted to the museum, along with the challenges of managing volunteer staff. I also attended the Army Museum of North Queensland Advisory Committee Meeting to learn how their monthly meetings operate.

After being shown through the museum by Amanda and John, I was highly impressed by the organisation and setup of the different function rooms, which included the Archives Room, Collections Room, the Dirty Room and Conservation Room, just to name a few. This organisation has given me several ideas and suggestions to take home to the CQ Military Museum.

This week, I’ve been working with Carol in the Dirty Room, where she has been teaching me how donated objects are taken through the decontamination process by the freezing and unfreezing of these items. Other conservation activities have been cleaning a World War II Tank Suit which included removing as much rust from the buttons as possible, learning to clean and roll flags in tissue paper and Tyvek ready for storage, taking marks off a World War II photograph with Osborene, and conserving a 1950’s Framed Photograph where the back was disintegrating. Carol and Amanda kindly displayed all the cleaning products and cleaning tools they use in their conservation process, and I made certain I took a photograph so I would have a record to take home with me. I have found the conservation process particularly interesting, for it is my first time working in this area.

Early in the week, Amanda and myself attended a Standards Review Program Information Session run by Ann Baillie and Deannah Vieth from Museum and Gallery Services Qld. This was held at the Townsville Maritime Museum and it was a pleasure and privilege to meet M&GSQ staff at this meeting.

I look forward to next week with great anticipation of further skills to learn.

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.


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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.

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

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