Australia’s Premier History Conference comes to Adelaide

The Australian Historical Association Conference will be held on the North Terrace campus of the University of Adelaide from 9 to 13 July 2012. This is Australia’s premier history conference and comes to Adelaide only once every decade or so and features many of the country’s leading historians. The full program for the conference is now available from the conference website.

The keynote speaker is Cambridge Professor Sir Christopher Bayly, speaking on Distant Connections: Empire, Race and Nationality in India and Australia. The conference includes a range of topical plenary panels including:

  • Australian History in its Asian Contexts
  • The Future of Teaching and Learning in History
  • Disasters in Social and Cultural Perspective: Impact, Response, Memory
  • Writing National Histories in Transnational Times

It is a large program featuring over 300 papers on a diverse range of topics. While most of the papers focus on Australian history, the conference encompasses all fields and periods of history.

The conference also includes specialist streams of history:

  • The Religious History Association
  • The Australian Women’s History Network
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

This promises to be an exciting conference and 2012 conference convenor, Robert Foster encourages all those interested in history to come along. You can register via the conference website.

Finding out what’s in store at Hindmarsh

Yesterday I was involved in a Working Bee at History SA’s store at Hindmarsh along with the Community History Unit curators Mandy and Jude as well as the Migration Museum curators Catherine and Vedrana.

It offered a good opportunity to share here some basic collection management issues that might be of help to those working in small community museums.

First up is general housekeeping.  It’s so important to keep storage areas clean at all times.  As well as being unsightly, dust can do considerable damage to some items in the long term while insects can attract more insects or other pests, some of which literally eat away parts of your collection.  Last year we had a carpet beetle infestation so regular vacuuming is a must and a good vacuum cleaner, preferably with a HEPA filter, is an essential piece of equipment for your organisation to own.  Ours is a Nilfisk Extreme X250. It’s highly efficient air filter can trap very fine particles like dust mite faeces and pollen which can trigger asthma and allergies.

We set aside a space for a work area – clean tables for examining, cataloguing or numbering objects.  We moved museum objects to easily accessible rows and ensured that where necessary, large objects were raised up from the ground.  This is important in the event of a flood, for example.  Wooden or plastic palettes are useful for achieving this.

And talking of disaster, we made sure our Disaster Bins – wheelie bins are ideal – were stocked up and easily accessible.

Moving large heavy objects can be a problem and shouldn’t be attempted on one’s own.  A Working Bee is a good way of coordinating a major move using volunteers.  However we also hired a palette jack which was a huge help.  It’s easy to operate and fun to learn new skills.

A Working Bee is a good excuse to have a serious look at your store and see what can be rearranged more efficiently and what surplus equipment or display furniture needs to be thrown out, or what supplies need to be bought.  Tip number one, be ruthless.  And number two, you can never have enough Tyvek!

At the end of the morning we had a clean, tidy store; plus two spare mannequins to give away as well as a great chance to catch up with colleagues over morning tea to exchange news, views and ideas.

More photos of our working bee here.  If you would like one or both of the mannequins please contact us.



Loxton Village Alive Day

The Loxton Historical Village Alive Day was held on the Sunday 10th June 2012 and we had a hugely successful, fun filled day. The atmosphere was great and we had hundreds of happy, smiling faces wandering through the displays!

The warmer weather had people out in their droves and when you combine great weather with a packed program you can get great results – for us it was an increase of over 16% in visitor numbers compared to June 2011.

A big hit with the children was the Time Travellers Passport and the Quad rides, while the country music singers kept everyone well entertained throughout the
afternoon with around 30 artists taking to the microphone.

Our usual Alive Day activities were also very well received with crowds milling around the washing demonstrations and at the starting of the Lanz Bulldog Tractor. The line for tasty home baked goods from the Village Bakery was out of the door and along the verandah at one stage! (One gentleman explained that he didn’t mind waiting as the food was so good and admitted it was his second helping!)

Sunday evening, after a very busy day, saw the Friends of The Village catering to the Packard Car Club Rally for dinner – a great evening of laughter and fun, topping off a successful, busy weekend at the Loxton Historical Village.

(Contributed by Tracy Bye, Manager Loxton Visitor Information Centre)

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