Museum update - Preservation Needs Assessment

Preservation Needs Assessment

Late last year we announced our successful application to the Community Heritage Grants Program to provide for a Preservation Needs Assessment for the Norfolk Island Museum.

On island this week is the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s Conservator, Sue Valis to undertake this assessment for us, albeit a little anxious with Cyclone Debbie bearing down on the coast of North Queensland!

A Preservation Needs Assessment generally provides key recommendations for the short, medium and long term management of collections. It will assess existing policies and their impact on the collection; broadly outline material type and condition of objects in our collection; examine buildings and the environment, storage and display; assess visitor impact; disaster preparedness; and offer suggestions for professional development. One of the outcomes will be a list of recommendations to inform our Preservation Plan. Also and importantly, it will be the key tool to support future grant applications for conservation projects and planning to protect the collections for the future.

The Norfolk Island Museum definitely has challenges working within the heritage buildings in Kingston; the stone walls effusing salt, the proximity to chloride laden air, relative humidity and air circulation control, to name just a few. These environmental challenges are just one of the key areas that Sue can offer suggestions to mitigate the effects. Of particular note is the high level of UV on Norfolk Island, even the amount that penetrates through the filtered sashed windows in the gallery spaces is quite surprising. Unfortunately this means we will need to consider blocking out the natural light but it also confirms that Norfolk’s air is clean!

This Preservation Needs Assessment is possible with thanks to the Community Heritage Grants Program managed by the National Library, along with its partner institutions and the Federal Government. And of course our thanks and appreciation to Sue Valis for coming to Norfolk to undertake the assessment followed by the huge task of compiling the report when she returns home; and to the Museum of Tropical Queensland and the Queensland Museum for supporting her visit. (Our image shows Sue measuring the UV coming through the window.)

Janelle Blucher
31 March 2017