Last week I was invited to be a part of the official opening party for the Gawler Museum’s new collection store and workroom. I think the turnout of about 70 people is testimony to the wide community support which the museum receives.
I’d had a sneak peak a few weeks ago when the collection store and workroom was very nearly completed but it was great to see it all done and the museum volunteers looking so pleased with their achievement. It’s amazing really that a few years ago the area, now converted to a very functional facility, was an open verandah. The collection store and workroom has been named ‘Two Bob Shed’ to recognise the work put into the project by Bob Ahrens, whose engineering company built the structure, and Bob Harrison who supervised the Work for the Dole team who did the internal lining of the building.
The project is a great success because at last the museum has a purposefully constructed, dedicated space for both storing artefacts that are not needed for current displays and for undertaking collection management tasks such as cataloguing and display preparation. It’s also allowed the number of items on display at any one time to be reduced, and the display space to be re-arranged, to make the collection more open and inviting for visitors.
Gawler Museum is also making great progress in other areas of museum activities. Last year the museum received a Community Museums program grant to begin developing education materials, to relate the collections to elements of the new national curriculum for history. It’s an important initiative for the museum to undertake and one of the first such projects by a community museum in South Australia. It will be interesting to see how it works out.