Museums & Galleries Qld

Jana Kahabka, Croydon posts again from mentorship

Posted on: 4 November 2013

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Guided Tours

The tour of the Blacksmith’s shop was done by Raine (pronounced Rainy) who is the only remaining qualified Blacksmith with the Queensland Rail workshops at Ipswich. She oversees apprentices doing boilermaker training by value adding their education with blacksmithing skills for mutual benefit. In addition to the work required for railways the workshop undertakes purpose built item commissions to provide strong and durable tools for special internal and external needs which also creates a range of training opportunities and revenue. The demonstrations by the apprentices as we moved around the facility were edifying.  The tour not only took us past contemporary works but also included demonstrations of molten objects being brought out of the furnace and placed under machinery designed to shape it under heavy compaction. Access to and from the Blacksmith workshop was by the ‘Traverser’ which takes up almost the width of the roadway between buildings and can stop at each arched entryway, staggered to avoid collision by engines and other motorised equipment moving from one building to another. The Traverser has a road width platform which also contains rails.

Then I had the tour of the Erecting Shops, where the restoration works take place, with Scotty. What a treat. Scotty’s passion and interpretation of the work being done to the various engines undergoing make-overs for the 150th anniversary in 2015 were very entertaining and informative. Like many of the employees at the Ipswich Railways facility Scotty also has ancestral connections to the establishment.

Then there were instructions for finding Geraldine in the Brisbane Queensland Museum campus and the fight with Mr Navman to find my motel in Brisbane in peak hour traffic after dark. I hadn’t heard of the Go Between Bridge and thought it was a street that went between the bridge and somewhere and ended up in the wrong lane after a drive around inner Brisbane and a battle closer to Ipswich that took me round and round a car park in a shopping centre that ended up in a dead end dirt track with every surrounding road leading me back to the car park. Bit of a contrast from a town that is about five blocks by five blocks in a fairly neat square with nothing but cattle stations for 150km either way.

The day in South Brisbane with Geraldine made up for all of that. I was chaperoned by Peter from ‘Collections’ who showed me a selection of extraordinary donated works ranging from a massive Royal Doulton collection (how would it have fitted into a house?) to international musical instruments (willed to the Museum without forewarning) and a bizarre cane toad frieze that was a philosophical arguing piece. What he really showed me was the range of storage means required to manage and maintain all of the material types that comprised the different collections a museum might hold.  Uniforms and fashion collections, bolts of fabrics, purpose designed racks, best practice management. We talked about rolling opposed to flat storage and what each style suited. Peter identified the pros and cons of various types of compactus systems over time.

I was then shown the latest technology for exporting XML records from the Vernon Collection Management System (CMS) to eHive, a new export format that has been added to the Vernon Reporting Tool to allow object records and images to be exported in eHive format which provides public access, data harvesting and programming interface options. It could possibly be exported from existing Croydon data bases.

I have included a description from the Vernon website… eHive is an innovative web-based tool that will help you catalogue, organise and share your collection in a simple and secure way. eHive makes collection management available to everyone and provides interesting and meaningful ways for people to share and discover collections online. eHive is offered via the Internet and accessed from a web browser. It is not installed on your computer, so all enhancements are immediately available to you. Most importantly it is backed up.

Because if it’s size (18,000 plus entries) the Croydon Genealogy Database would remain as an Access data base but other catalogues such as for the steam machinery collection can probably be transported across with some rearranging of the data cells. This is the most likely solution to Croydon’s cataloguing issues.

Geraldine then walked me through and let me have a play with the Queensland Museum Collection Management System (Vernon) which is the repository for all State collection data. This includes personal information relating to collection donors, material of a culturally sensitive nature, valuation information, etc. It has approximately 90 users, Curators and Collection Managers, using Vernon for both research and collection management activities.

This was my first connection with this database and will definitely be one to discuss and investigate with Croydon’s IT Manager.

When I next meet with Geraldine we will look further at other Museum management systems, grants, relevant studies, career directions and opportunities and ongoing relationships.

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.


1 Response to "Jana Kahabka, Croydon posts again from mentorship"

Great to hear that Queensland Museum have been able to show you how they’re using Vernon CMS. The Gold Museum in Ballarat have recently used the option to export their records to eHive, with their whole collection of 60,000 objects now being available in a branded WordPress site using eHive software:

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