A museum’s collection is the life blood of its business. As museum professionals we see proper custodianship of the artefacts in our care as a significant responsibility. These artefacts hold the memories of an individual, a community, a nation or civilizations that have disappeared in the dusts of time and which remind us how fragile human society really is.
Late last year the Abbey Museum was successful in an application for funding through the Community Heritage Grants administered through the National Library of Australia. There are very few sources of funds available for museums, galleries or keeping places that provide financial support for the preservation of our movable heritage. Having identified the significance that the Abbey Museum collection has as a primary teaching resource for Queensland schools studying medieval society and ancient civilisations, we were eligible to seek funding to have a Preservation Needs Assessment undertaken on our collection.
This was prepared for the Museum by conservator, Christine Ianna, and presented to the Board for consideration in mid September. The report outlined concerns and recommendations to improve the current storage facilities of the Museum’s reserve and display collections. The Queensland weather with its high humidity, prolonged wet seasons and at times equally long very dry conditions can play havoc with a collection that primarily comes from the northern hemisphere. Insect infestations, mould and corrosion of the objects in their care are faced by curators of small museums without adequate funding for climate control and monitoring.
Although it would be fabulous to be able to wave a magic wand and have all the funds needed to care for our collections with “best practice”, this is not the reality for the majority of small to medium size museums. We can only do our best and reports like our Preservation Needs Assessment allows us to prioritise and strategise so that we can work effectively to preserve our collection for the enjoyment and education of our visitors.
Donate now to help preserve this amazing collection, all donations over $2 are tax deductible.