Community Group of Greenough
Community Group of Greenough
The Community Group of Greenough is dedicated to the development and celebration of the heritage of Greenough and the surrounding region. The Community Group of Greenough lease the historic Maley family homestead at Greenough from the City of Greater Geraldton for use as a local history museum and community hub.
The Greenough Museum and Gardens is 20 minutes from Geraldton and aims to provide an interpretation of life of the Greenough Flats from Aboriginal times to today. This is much more than your traditional house museum as the homestead acts as a community hub for cultural and community activities. The place is cared for by a part-time curator/caretaker and 14 volunteers.
Community engagement and partnerships
The Greenough Museum displays the community’s history and also provides space (both inside and in the gardens) for meetings, workshops, social gatherings, exhibitions and events. The museum is open daily from 9.00am to 3.30pm, though it is closed some public holidays.
The Museum works in partnership with organisations like the Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC), providing places for people having to undertake voluntary work. There are currently 3 volunteers working at the Museum under this scheme.
The Museum contains three distinct collections. There is a collection of about 1,000 objects, with 90% photographed, catalogued and digitised. There is also a collection of over 1,000 photographs, all of which have been catalogued and digitised. The Maley Store & Mill Archives collection contains over 1,500 journals and documents that are dated from 1860 to the 1880s. The Archives are all listed, with the individual documents scanned and indexed.
Currently, about 65% of objects are on display in the museum, with photographs and archival documents housed in the ‘Archives Room.’ The latter are on view only by request, but as few people know what we have, this isn’t very often.
Two volunteers assist with cataloguing objects on paper. So far it has been the curator’s responsibility to photograph, scan and enter objects and photographs onto the museum’s database. The aim is to get objects recorded as soon as possible after donation.
Greenough Museum uses Ilyarie, a local museum/historical society database designed by Graham Grundy. The system is also used by Irwin District Historical Society, the Chapman Valley Historical Society and the Walkman Station Museum. As well as containing listings of Objects and Photographs, this database also includes entries for People and Places, and links between categories.
The Greenough Museum uses – a donated HP Pavilion computer that is five years old, a small Canon printer/scanner and use of the curator’s digital camera to digitise – which they see as the standard equipment similar to that seen in most struggling financially cash-short regional history museums.
The Greenough Museum does not provide digital access to its collection at this stage. The Museum does maintain an online presence through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GreenoughCommunityMuseum), Twitter (https://twitter.com/GreenoughMuseum) and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com.au/greenoughmuseum/).
Any digital access is restricted to people who visit the Museum and is provided upon request via the museum computer.
The Museum acknowledges the big challenge has been just getting started, and managing the lack of proper training, difficulties in getting others excited about the joys of digitisation, and not having the most appropriate equipment. Together with time constraints, the uncertainty about long-term goals and having to work with unreliable internet connections, the path to digitisation has been a struggle.
Future challenges for the Greenough Museum and Gardens are upgrading hardware, training volunteers to have enough confidence to use the museum database, digitising the Maley Store & Mill Archives and making them accessible online, and transferring our data to a uniform State/National system.
The database used by the Greenough Museum is able to link people to places, objects and photographs. This system works very well in extracting that information as they get a lot of enquiries from people researching family histories. This has also brought about a sharing of images and information with those researchers.
If you would like more information on the work that the Community Group of Greenough is doing, please contact the Greenough Museum on (08) 9926 1890, or via email.