The Robe Branch of the National Trust of South Australia held its opening of the Customs House Museum DVD Project on Sunday, 1st April, 2012 in conjunction with a commemoration of the Baudin and Flinders meeting at Encounter Bay in 1802. The realisation of this project enables us to show historic photos of Robe dating from the late nineteenth century. Themed music and captions have also been developed to give the projected photos life and relevance, thus lifting the modern, interactive component of the museum’s displays. At the opening, we were able to project 30 minutes of old photographs. With the equipment purchased, the Branch has the potential to collect and catalogue more old photographs of Robe and District, store them electronically and project them in the Customs House Museum.
The Branch was fortunate to receive generous funding under the auspices of the SA175 Grant Program. This funding enabled us not only to purchase a laptop computer, monitor, speakers, a DVD player, scanner and hard drives but also to conduct a ‘Historic Photo Scanning Day’ last October. Many local residents brought their old photographs to this session and we were able to scan them, provide a scanned copy and return the original photograph to the owners while they filled out a cataloguing and permissions form. The great advantage of this process, which we will repeat, is that the Branch develops a collection of historic photographs provided with their owners’ permission and without any risk of the originals being lost.
Another great benefit of this project is that it has served to expand the Customs House displays into the audio-visual area. This more interactive medium will be of direct interest to primary and secondary school students who visit the museum from time to time. The historic photographs connect the themes of the existing displays and the project has been set up to make the production of future DVDs easy. Cataloguing and storing the old photographs also helps to preserve them for posterity and generates considerable local interest in the Customs House. The Robe Branch of the National Trust of South Australia acknowledges the support provided to this project by the SA175 Grant Program and thanks the program for its generosity and willingness to give the project a go.
News story contributed by Michael Slessar, Chair, Robe Branch National Trust of South Australia.