East Coast Heritage Museum
East Coast Heritage Museum
The East Coast Heritage Museum (ECHM) houses a diverse collection and incorporates the Museum, the Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society, a war memorial and the Visitor Information Centre. The ECHM has worked steadily through cataloguing its collection, and is now digitising as well.
The East Coast Heritage Museum is situated in picturesque Swansea on Tasmania’s east coast. The old section of the building was once a school house and teacher’s residence, built in 1860 from stone and rubble used in the Waterloo Point Military Station. The renovated building, new gallery and Visitor Information centre opened in December 2011.
The East Coast Heritage Museum preserves, collects, stores, records and exhibits objects, documents and photographs for the Glamorgan Spring Bay Municipality. The Museum works closely with the East Coast Visitor Information Services and the Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society, both located in the same building. The museum is part of the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council.
The Museum has two part-time staff, a curator and an assistant, and up to 6 volunteers. The museum opens 7 days a week, 10am to 4pm. It offers the community and visitors to the area a comprehensive local exhibition and provides historical information.
The ECHM currently has approximately 4000 items in their catalogue. The collection consists of historic items, including artworks (by Thomas Bock), furniture, Louisa Anne Meredith Costumes, War Memorial medals, uniforms, Honour Rolls, photographs, correspondence (letters from the WWI), aboriginal artefacts, convict objects, and household items.
A changing exhibition program ensures visitors can be sure to experience something new each time they visit.
The East Coast Heritage Museum and the Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society both use the Mosaic collection management system. The ECHM has catalogued about 98% of its collection, and about 20% has been digitised. The Historical Society has catalogued about 15% of its collection on to Mosaic, but all photographs have been digitised. Documents, diaries, books and other items are next on the list.
Serif PhotoPlus x8 is used as the image editing software.
The museum has a system for storing the digital images on to a hard drive, but they are aware they need these backed up to an off-site facility.
The Museum has been using a Canon DSLR camera, with a photographic set up that includes a tripod, lighting and a copy stand. A volunteer photographer is digitising all the collection and uses an array of items to ensure the best image capture, including adapted plumbing fittings, foam core, magnets, plastic stands, foam heads, coat hangers and other everyday objects. A grey blind has been mounted to the wall as a backdrop, and grey material is used as a backdrop when photographing costumes.
The Museum also has a Brother MFC flatbed A3 scanner/printer, and a 10 megapixel 3672 x 2856 A3
document, book and photo scanner that allows scanning of an object from above.
With a grant through the Digital Access to Collections project, the Museum has purchased a new digital camera, studio lighting and software.
There is no digital access to the public yet, but this is an aim of the Museum. Currently, they do have some of the artefacts on the East Coast Heritage Museum website, which is regularly updated. They try to display new items that come into their collection.
The biggest challenge for the Museum is to maintain the quality of the digitisation system and the training of volunteers to achieve this high standard.
The volunteers bring with them a wide range of skills from their professional lives, one of whom was a photographer (in a past life) which has presented the ability to digitise.
The process of digitising has also opened up further opportunities: the photography of the costumes was undertaken as part of an exhibition so that people could watch the activity.
Digitising the collection has enable the Museum to gain a wider viewing audience via their website, and continued participation with organisations and schools.
If you would like more information on the work that the East Coast Heritage Museum is doing, please contact Maureen Martin Ferris.