The 2013 Community Heritage Grants have been announced and South Australian organisations have done very well, picking up almost $61,000 of the $425,684 allocated this year.
The Community Heritage Grant program is administered through the National Library of Australia and provides grants to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections that are publicly accessible.
History SA has received two grants for training workshops to be run in the first half of next year. We will be running the popular Caring for Collections program at Port Lincoln for museums and history groups on Eyre Peninsula and also introducing a Digitisation for Preservation and Access workshop, which will be held in Adelaide.
Coober Pedy Historical Society, John McDouall Stuart Society, Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum and Peterborough History Group have each received grants for Significance Assessments of their collections. The Peterborough collection includes the entire contents of a printing office that served the local area for decades. The National Trust has received a grant for the conservation of a work on paper, Mount Lofty Districts Historical Society for digitisation of oral history tapes, while City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the Lutheran Archives have received grants for Preservation Needs Assessments.
The Sheep’s Back Museum has received the largest grant of $10,470 for conservation treatment of several significant archival items, including the first visitors’ book from the Naracoorte Caves and a sale catalogue from the Hynam Stud, considered to be a significant stud in the development of the Australian Merino.
My first stop was Moonta National Trust museum where I met up with Linda, Ursula and Stephen to hear about some projects they’re thinking of and to see the new storage building. Created within a new large shed, so far a smaller shed has been built within it, lined and insulated, to provide a fairly stable storage environment. Other areas of the new building have been finished off to a varying degree – when completed the museum will gain a storage facility with several different areas suitable for different ‘grades’ of storage – some parts will suit archives and fragile objects and some areas will be only for more robust items.
After Moonta I headed the short distance to Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum to meet with Colin and Nick. They have recently got the internet on at the museum and a museum email address for the first time. For lovers of model ships (including those in bottles!), Wallaroo Museum has many, along with George the giant squid and interesting collections relating to the local cinema and industries of the area. Among the most significant items is the magnificent Wallaroo Waterside Workers Federation banner. Conserved some years ago the museum works hard to keep it in good condition while it is on open display. As it happened it was due for a bit of a clean around the bottom edge. Colin had a vacuum cleaner and I‘d packed the micro-vacuum attachment kit, so as there is no time like the present, in a matter of minutes the bottom of the banner was dust-free again.
Then it was off to Port Victoria Maritime Museum to meet briefly with the volunteer group and see how things are going for them. Occupying just one small building at the start of the jetty, the museum is probably the smallest in the Community Museums Program, and highly focused on the tall ships and maritime history of the region. Later, sharing the Port Victoria motel with a road work crew (they went to bed early and left about 6am) I rested up for a morning of cataloguing with the Ardrossan Historical Museum.
Ardrossan Museum are just starting out on their cataloguing journey, looking to move up from some pretty basic records to fuller cataloguing of key items and eventually use of the MOSAiC collections database. It was great to spend the morning talking about cataloguing – how to decide what to catalogue, core versus non-core collection, what the fields on the cataloguing form mean etc. Ardrossan have a heap of new energy and project ideas on the go at the moment, not least of which is creating good collection records.