In an unusual year when nothing has been what one might call “normal”, the availability of grants has been a lifesaver in some ways for the Museum. The Director, Edith Cuffe, in fact, spent most of the time during ‘COVID lockdown’ scouring the internet for potential avenues for funding. Although most grants are project-focused and do not assist with ongoing operational funding, it has still allowed us to think to the future when life gets back to normal. 

While not all of our grant applications have been successful, we are very pleased to share that to date we have been awarded four grants. They are the Moreton Bay Regional Council COVID-19 Community Infrastructure Revitalisation Grant, the Moreton Bay Regional Council Regional Arts Development Fund, the State Government Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant and the Community Heritage Fund grant. 

Edith Cuffe, Director with Brooke Savige

Brooke Savige and Edith Cuffe

The Moreton Bay Regional Council COVID-19 Community Infrastructure Revitalisation Grant enabled the Museum to install air conditioning in the Abbey Hall. This will have enormous benefits, allowing us to hold events over the summer months when it is traditionally too hot in the hall to do so. As part of this project, we also upgraded the electricity to the Museum and repainted the entrance way and some of the internal walls. This all occurred just before the Museum reopened after the COVID-19 closures, giving us the chance to give the Museum a little bit of a much-needed facelift. 

Sara Jane Bellette

As part of our response to the COVID closures we applied for the State Government Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant. The Abbey Museum had launched an online shop as a way of keeping some funds flowing into the Museum coffers. Our successful application allowed us to engage an e-commerce specialist to help us build this fledgling business.  (Pictured is Sara-Jane Bellette, e-commerce specialist)

Early in 2020, before everything went awry, Museum staff met to develop a strategic plan for 2021 -2024. One of the highlighted goals was the installation of an Aboriginal Australian First Nations Display. When the Museum was first planned some 38 years ago, it had been agreed that as our collection consisted primarily of international antiquities, an Aboriginal culture display would not be included as we thought it was well represented in other local museums. However, this is not the case. Many museums do not feature Aboriginal cultural objects for various reasons. Many visitors ask why, as a museum of world cultures, we do not have a display telling the story of the oldest surviving culture in the world. With this in mind we applied to the Moreton Bay Regional Council Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) 

Donation from Rosemary Spenceley

to undertake a concept development plan for an Aboriginal display with art installations, dioramas and native gardens with food and medicinal plants. We hope to now involve the Kabi Kabi people in the discussion about how we can mutually provide information about our local area.

Our final successful grant for the year so far – we have another couple still with the results pending – was the Community Heritage grant. The Community Heritage Grants program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia; the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Office of the Arts); the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

This grant program is one of only a handful that provides support for the care and management of collections of significance within Australia. The Abbey Museum’s grant will be used for the archival storage and rehousing of the objects in our reserve collection. This is part of an ongoing project to ensure that all our objects are housed properly to reduce the chance of damage or deterioration and also to allow easy access to objects for installation in new displays or research.  (Pictured below is Display Technician Linc Morse)

artefacts in storage
Display Tech Linc Morse with artefacts
Artefacts in storage

The Abbey Museum is very appreciative of all the grant funding bodies without whom we would not be able to undertake projects that enable the Museum to provide the educational and cultural experiences that is part of our mandate.

©Abbey Museum 2020