The Australian Museum

The organisation that I have chosen to work with is the Australian Museum, located next to Hyde Park in Sydney. This organisation is the oldest museum in Australia, is a non-profit organisation, and is home to a large collection of artefacts from Indigenous Australia and the Pacific, biological specimens, and minerals and fossils. I am particularly interested in the Australian Museum because I am an Australian who grew up overseas. Until I moved to Australia I didn’t know anything about Australian history, let alone Indigenous history and culture. However, I did notice in Australian schools that what I did learn about Aboriginal history was how it intersected and became part of the national history, such as the Stolen Generation and the Mabo Case. Both of which were cases that had a powerful influence on Australian culture.
My Dad was a member of the Australian Museum growing up and it was a place he always took me to whenever we came to Sydney. Having this personal connection from my memories of visiting and also being in the process of completing a double degree Bachelor of Science and Arts, the museum was the perfect opportunity for me to combine my knowledge in my areas of study. With social meaning from my memory and attachment to this place, this especially made understanding the connection between local and national history more present in my eyes.
I have now volunteered within the Australian Archaeological collections department for four weeks. During this time I have helped to sort through, re-bag, and relabel excavation artefacts, input data into the museum system and catalogue, and reformat and name digitalised images. I am concerned whether there will be a specific project that I could do, as established organisations such as the Australian Museum already have well organised departments and staff members to complete these projects. However, there is a constant need for volunteers as their overwhelmingly large collection and constant visitors means that there are always things that need to be completed. I hope that in the coming weeks I will be able to focus on and find a specific project, or perhaps a group of small projects, that will be beneficial to the museum. I believe this project will also increase my understanding of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a museum in order to create public engagement with the wider community.

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