Museums & Galleries Qld

Posts Tagged ‘Mentorship

This 2nd week at Redland Museum it’s been more about the people that make this community not-for-profit museum work.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch more closely the relationships between museum staff,  management and volunteers and it is obvious there is a good measure of respect between everyone here at Redland Museum, of course that’s not to say there is always agreement, but healthy discussions do foster informed decision-making!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What I have also observed in my two weeks is that no matter how large or small the museum is the challenges for this largely volunteer sector are very similar, even the challenges Cardwell faces due to distance are no more or less challenging than those experienced by Redland Museum in what we would consider the “city”.

I’ve spent some time this week with staff & volunteers around the collections management data base, including the photographic collection, which will help us in our endeavour to improve our own data base and processes and everyone was more than happy to point out the aspects that do work well, as well as those areas that could be improved upon or done differently.

I have not only expanded my skill and knowledge in the  many aspects of Museum & Collections Management from my time at Redland Museum but have also thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend other volunteers working in the field of history & museums to think about applying to the Volunteer Mentorship Program offered by Museum & Gallery Services Qld.

Read the rest of this entry »


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m half way through my 10 day internship with Redland Museum but already have copious notes, bright ideas and loads more possible ideas that need a little further exploring.
The Redland Museum President, Ross Bower gave me a guided tour of the Museum on my first day (a Museum of a much larger scale than Cardwell) and he’s been so informative, as have the museum staff and all the volunteers – and wow do they have just a few volunteers! I have made the occasional bribe to see if any would like to visit Cardwell Museum, just for the experience of course! Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Nina is Gallery and Museum Assistant with Moreton Bay Regional Council.

First week at Grafton Regional Gallery

Nina Pye

First day at Grafton I was thrown right into attending the Gallery Goes to School program with Min – enthusiastic, bubbly Min. When we got to the school the impact that the Gallery has on children in the area was obvious, with a boy, Travis, following and helping us at every possible opportunity (even when I am sure he was supposed to be in class!) For the primary school, Min had selected a group of paintings which were either a bit ominous or quirky to go with the How to Make a Monster: The Art and Technology of Animatronics exhibition.The classes came through in grades and were encouraged to select artworks which were discussed as a group, with an emphasis on how the children interpreted them. Following discussions about several of the artworks they created little monsters with clay, paddle pop sticks and pipe cleaners. I found how Grafton Gallery is so relaxed with access to its collection quite astonishing and refreshing. They are able to make art accessible to the region’s fifty-plus schools, including those that are quite remote. It also allows all students to be included instead of depending on families to afford travel costs and sign permission slips. Afterwards I had a great time with Min revising the selection for the high school group she was visiting the next day.

Grafton Gallery also has a great relationship with its libraries and we went out to the Grafton Library to do story/art time. Dave Funnell, who creates the quirkiest of suitcase art, also came with us. The group was mostly 2-4 year olds. We found a book called Monster Hug which we read to the children with silly actions like stomping on bridges and hiding behind furniture and throwing cars (Rose and I are terrible actors!)

They then made air drying clay monsters. Examples below….Nina Pye

I was amazed at how many school Groups were booking to attend Monster tours, with usually more than one a day and Rose constantly fielding phone calls for additional bookings. The Grafton Galleries Loft Space was a great space for the children’s activities to be set out. It allowed plenty of room for children to spread out without interrupting the viewing of the main part of the exhibition.

The final children’s program I attended during the week was the Kiddies Cushion Concert which is a partnership between the Gallery and the Conservatorium. The children who came had a ball playing instruments and dancing; it also helped to expand the idea of creativity outside of visual art. They did a monster theme and included songs from Phantom of the Opera and Puff the Magic Dragon. One little boy came dressed as an alien vampire with face paint and all. And the sweetest looking little girl, who was about two-and-a-half, monster-roared so loudly into the microphone that she gave everyone a start. It is obvious that Rose has worked quite diligently to create and maintain these relationships with schools and groups throughout the community. By having staff dedicated to developing engaging community and youth programs, they can be something quite highly valued and appreciated.Nina Pye

During the time between these events I was given the privilege of looking through past exhibition and program files to gather new ideas. Ideas such as creating a facilitator database and engaging in partnerships with local Kindys or art stores etc. are some of the ideas I would like to apply to my own projects. Hopefully I will learn some more in my second week !!!


Second week at Grafton Regional Gallery

My second week at Grafton was designed to be an extension of the first week’s project of designing activities for the JADA Family Fun Day. The start of the week focused on collecting and organising the materials required to run the activities I had initially developed with Rose. It was great to bounce ideas on what works best for different activities, and I learnt many tricks which I can apply to projects being run for G.A.M.E. – Gallery And Museum Explorers at Moreton Bay.

Rose was also very patient about showing me basic design and drawing skills in Illustrator and Photoshop – although I had done courses in Photoshop before, these were an eon ago and I was quite rusty! I had fun creating a mask outline, isolating images from photographs to be used for a Rebecca Bladen activity, and warping a carpet template on which the children use doggy crayons to draw skid marks. Rose was quite amused by my drawing techniques, which completely overlooked the many possible short cuts available to complete these images much faster.

The Family Fun Day was great and the private courtyard at Grafton Gallery was a lovely setting for the event. The children started streaming in almost as soon as the doors opened, and all volunteers and staff were on hand to assist and entertain our visitors. I had the pleasure of running two of the Tot Tours for the day-see photos.

We had swirling, singing Row your Boat, and as usual enjoyed the unique insights that children always seem to provide when looking at art works. One boy in particular observed that Jodi Daley’s work appeared to have a story – ‘where was the rider?’ Touch-box experiences gave them a chance to express the textural qualities of an art work and fun was had taking in turns to place items into a still-life design to reinvent 5 Forms 1 by Ken Smith. The level of interactivity with this predominantly under-6 group was surprising, and I feel encouraged to explore the possibility of a toddlers’ day at the Moreton Bay Galleries or Museums.


M&GSQ’s 2012 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.

ACCESS ALL AREAS: Chicago History Museum

Let’s get this out of the way, Chicago isn’t cold and windy.  It’s very, very cold and windy!  But at least now I can blame my crazy hair on the wind and no-one here has to know that it looks like this most of the time.

My Fellowship at the Chicago History Museum (CHM) is exceeding expectations, with staff from all areas of expertise taking time out to discuss their role here including achievements and issues they face.  It’s reassuring to know that many of these issues are faced by museums big and small around the world.

So far I have met with executive staff as well as curatorial, conservation, exhibitions, social media and the education team, and been initiated into the world of Chicago by trying a Chicago-style hotdog.  Which, by the way, are delicious.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Highlights so far

Dioramas are popular!  Who would have thought?  One gallery in the museum has a number of dioramas featuring Chicago.  During recent renovations they were fitted out in a specially-designed gallery with new interpretation and every time I pass this space it is packed with visitors.

Audio tours aren’t supposed to be funny, are they?  I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a fan of the audio tour, having found most boring and monotonous, but at CHM two amazing audio tours are on offer. One has been produced by local high school students who also provide the narration and the other by comedians from a local comedy club which had me laughing like a crazy person as I walked around the Chicago Crossroads exhibition.

Excitement is building.  Staff are preparing for a new exhibition called Shalom Chicago and every department is involved in some way, so I am able to see the progress from different viewpoints.

The collections, exhibitions and programs reflect different Chicago communities.  CHM are following a very logical, but often skipped, process of working with their various communities.  They do not mount an exhibition and invite the community to come and see it, but instead consult and engage from the outset.  This process has led to different cultures being introduced to the museum environment and the donation of more important objects which will help shape and increase the significance of the collection.


BRONWYN ROPER is the Queensland Museum’s Museum Development Officer for Central Queensland.

M&GSQ’s 2012 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.

Conservation and Restoration

When it comes to decisions about conservation and restoration, the approach seems to be that it’s better to be canny and careful and not rush into things. Like most places, in the US it appears that there are some diverse views on how objects should be presented and what constitutes an appropriate degree of intervention.

Last week I talked about the drive to improve the care of big things, rolling stock in particular, by ensuring it is at least under cover and where feasible in a controlled environment. Once you have the rolling stock inside, the next question becomes how do you care for it – do you stabilise and conserve, cosmetically restore, or return to operating condition, with all the alterations from original that might entail? There is plenty of scope for a range of decisions to be made and it’s not always black and white – there is any numbers of positions between stabilisation and full restoration.  And these decisions are equally as difficult whether it be for a locomotive, an aeroplane, a boat or a building.

The discussion about restoration seems to centre on two things – intent and methodology. Under the banner of intent is authenticity in restoration – understanding what’s been done to historic objects in the past (sometimes not so good), and thinking through the decision – when to restore and when to conserve. People here have been asking questions like “What are you trying to show an audience?”, “What is significant about the object?” and “Does this have some bearing on how and why you conserve, restore or operate?” In thinking about how restoration proceeds, people are giving attention to details such as authentic colour, configuration, materials and traditional methods. Restoration is often to a specific era, not always “as it came off the line”. But whichever “era” you choose, the decision to restore begs the question of whether, if it’s not stabilised in the current condition and configuration, then are you not erasing some of the history?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another challenge is what can be considered authentic – is a building or carriage that only has original foundations really a restored object or a reconstruction/reproduction. Is it like Grandad’s axe with four new heads and seven new handles, effectively a facsimile of the original object? And does that matter? Sometimes it may be that this is the only way that we can hope to see what a unique carriage would have looked like. But in every reconstruction, we make decisions today that take liberties with originality.

I don’t know what the answer to this dilemma is. In a number of places I’ve visited the approach has been meticulous research on the history of the object; attention to the technology, fabric and material changes to the object; the use of traditional methods, especially in building restoration; careful documentation of every step of the process; and clear delineation between original and new/replacement parts. There are a number of on-line resources museums here go that, while not specifically related to transport objects, are very useful and these include: and

In some places, rolling stock is being presented in original conditions. Which leads to another question, especially in the environment of limited funding where priorities have to be assigned to restoration, which is: when is it ok not to restore? Personally, I sometimes feel that the original condition, with stabilisation to ensure the longevity of the object, gives a feeling of authenticity that no degree of restoration can match. However, it is as much the experience of hearing steam, feeling a loco move, smelling the fuel, and seeing the grandeur of a shiny loco that contributes to people’s engagement with the stories, technologies and significance of big things. So many people marvel over the real thing and it’s clear that the capacity to achieve that awe and wonder, the appreciation of the “romance” of transport in the past, is important. This was made abundantly clear this week at the California State Railroad Museum where they marked the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Union Pacific railroad. The large event included train rides in historical carriages, opportunities to climb into locos and an array of beautifully restored rolling stock out on public display. The crowds were phenomenal, the excitement of little kids marvellous to see, and there was a depth of engagement for many visitors. I also visited a live steam event at Railtown 1897 this week, and the enjoyment of the physical experience of an operating steam railway was palpable amongst visitors. These two events were a timely reminder of the wonder big things can induce.

So what is the answer? I don’t know, but it seems like to be canny and careful, understand your object, its history and significance, to carefully adhere to conservation standards including documentation, and identification, reversible changes and so on and to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the conservation/restoration, what your objectives are, all important facets in a well-considered decision.


GERALDINE MATE is the Senior Curator, Transport and Energy at The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich, a campus of the Queensland Museum.

M&GSQ’s 2012 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.

The Art Gallery New South Wales Kids Art Club continued with more programs on Sunday for member’s children.This time children explored Ink and Scientific Drawings in a 1.5 hour program. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read the rest of this entry »

On Saturday I headed to AGNSW to attend the Easter School Holiday Program run by the Art Gallery Members Society. These programs are co-ordinated and delivered through the Members Society not through the AGNSW Public Programs or Education staff, with the express purpose of raising funds to acquire works for AGNSW. When people join the Gallery they become automatic members and activities for children are offered once a month, with 11 classes in a year. Families can receive one free workshop if they book their children in for all 11 sessions. Activities are offered for 3 different age groups over an hour and a half with up to 15 children taken in each session.

Activities also differ from the Gallery’s holiday programs for the public in that they focus on works from the permanent collection (with the exception of touring exhibitions such as the recent one on Picasso – which of course was too good an opportunity to pass up).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read the rest of this entry »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friday was a day to explore surrounding Galleries and Museums to gain an overview of their public programs and educational opportunities. After checking maps and websites we made a shortlist of 4 venues to visit and the best route to get round them all. Read the rest of this entry »

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