A Golden Opportunity for Gold Coast Community Museums

Guest Blogger: Josh Tarrant - Museum Development Officer- South East Queensland Region

In 2014 members of the Gold Coast Heritage Voice network were treated to a Behind the Scenes tour of the John Oxley Library and the Southbank campus of the Queensland Museum.
State Library retrieved a large number of books, posters, maps, photographs and ephemera specifically related to the Gold Coast region for the group to view.

The group toured the library repository where the sheer magnitude of the collection and the challenges of providing for an ever-growing collection became apparent. Careful storage and order is undoubtedly a key factor in the John Oxley Library repository being able to respond to requests within the hour!

Gold Coast Heritage Voice members meet conservator Rachel Spano in the conservation lab at the State Library.

Rachel Spano greeted us in the SLQ conservation lab, where a number of specialist conservators worked on fragile paper based objects. The lab supports a range of specialist equipment, including some fanciful looking gilding and embossing tools. We had an interesting conversation about the principles behind the appropriate choice of conservation or restoration in a library context, providing some interesting comparitive insights from a museum standpoint.

Sue from the Kirra Hill heritage group.

At the Queensland Museum, Nicholas Hadnutt treated the group to an in-depth examination of the social history collection stores and the treasures it holds. While some elements of the collection elicited nostalgic reactions and others confirmed a long history of collecting, each asserted the important role of the Queensland Museum as custodians of significant Queensland histories.
The conservation lab provided an eye-opening experience and opportunity to see the painstakingly precise nature and results of conservation work. Textiles Conservator Dr Michael Marendy shared some simple, yet effective techniques for preserving costumes, while Jenny Blakely and Caroline O’Rorke showcased ANZAC related objects being treated.

The visit was facilitated by the Museum Development Office of South East Queensland, Dr Kevin Rains and Jane Austen at Gold Coast City Council, Nick Hadnutt and Jenny Blakely at the Queensland Museum Southbank, and Anne Scheu at the State Library of Queensland. A big thank you to you all!

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