Careers in science and museums: Meeting our conservators

Textile conservator Sue Frost. Image: ANMM.

Textile conservator Sue Frost. Image: ANMM.

What a museum without its collection? The stories we tell are imbued in the objects the museum collects and the conservation department is tasked with caring for these objects. Our conservation team look after a range of artefacts, from paper to paintings, ceramics, textiles and even archaeological material recovered from the seabed. From small coins to the HMB Endeavour replica, every object is condition reported, treated and conserved. The team monitor the environmental conditions our objects are either stored or displayed in, checking light levels, relative humidity and maintaining a stable temperature.

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Grants available for diverse maritime heritage projects – due 31 August.

The diversity of projects seeking to be funded by MMAPSS is really rich.  A wave of applications come in each year and give the Selection Committee a snapshot of the amazing organisations all over Australia who are passionate about caring for Australia’s maritime heritage.

The subject matter is diverse with examples of past projects including oral histories, a journal, a diving outfit, a map, river charts, ships portraits, photographic collections, and of course vessels; bark canoes, pearling luggers, skiffs, flying boats.

The funding is for grants up to $10,000 and this year there is extra pool of funding for grants up to $5,000 specifically for organisations that want to develop educational or public programs.  Internships are also available for up to two weeks with funding up to $3,000.

MMAPSS funding is not just for maritime museums.  All non-profit, incorporated organisations that care for and provide access to maritime items of historical and national significance are encouraged to apply.  This includes for example, museums, indigenous organisations, historical societies, local governments, religious organisations and community clubs.

Head over to the MMAPSS website for a list of past grant recipients; application forms, details about the application process, key dates and eligibility.

Balmoral Beach Club used the funding they received last year for the development and preservation of their archives.  The club is nearly half-way through this six stage project to digitise and preserve over 90 years’ worth of club materials with a plan to be completed by 2014.

This great photo showing a group of swimmers in the early 1920’s was among the items that have been digitised so far.

Balmoral Beach Club - swimmers early 1920s

Balmoral Beach Club: ‘Digitisation of the Collection’ project – swimmers early 1920s

The club is steadily preserving their records and plan to use the information in a centenary book in time for the celebration of their centenary year in 2014.

Among the individual and season race records were the results of a race from 1928 (which you can see in the picture).  It was a freestyle race ‘From beach to buoy and return’ with men and women racing together.

Balmoral Beach Club - swimming race results 1928

Balmoral Beach Club: ‘Digitisation of the Collection’ project – club swimming race results 1928.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the grant program or the application process. You can find my contact details on the MMAPSS website.

– Sharon Babbage, MMAPSS Coordinator

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Applications for MMAPSS grants now open

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (or MMAPSS) annual grants program is now open to support eligible Australian organisations that care for and preserve Australia’s rich maritime heritage.  The closing date for applications is 31 August 2012.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for General Maritime Heritage Projects, and for 2012 only a separate category gives grants up to $5,000 for Education and Public Program Development projects.

Internships for up to two weeks are also available for staff and volunteers from regional and remote organisations; a great way to develop skills and knowledge and to create a valuable network of professional contacts.

The grant program focusses on the areas of collection management, conservation, presentation, education and museological training. Since 1995, the program has distributed over $900,000 to support organisations across Australia to run amazing and diverse projects.

Last year supported projects included an archaeological dig for shipwrecks, a traditional canoe building workshop and the analysis of a sea chest, untouched for almost 100 years!

Sea chest filled with medicine

Richmond River Historical Society: ‘Healing Sickness at Sea’ Project – A medicine chest from the SS St George. Photo & Clipping: Geoffrey Foley (RRHS)

If your organisation would like to apply, check out our website for details about the application process, key dates, eligibility and a list of past grant recipients (including a great Google map showing the spread of projects across Australia).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the grant program. You can find my contact details on the website.

– Sharon Babbage, MMAPSS Coordinator

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum.