Category Archives: Collection Management

A sperm sewing machine oil bottle from Aarhus

Written by Tate Devantier-Thomas, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

This is part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches. Continue reading A sperm sewing machine oil bottle from Aarhus

The Wreck of the Foam and the Queensland Labour Trade

Written by Dr Stephen Beck,  Honorary Officer (Volunteer) with the Cultures and History Program at Queensland Museum.

The wreck of the Foam provides amazing archaeological insights into the conduct of the Queensland labour trade, the process by which it operated and the effect of contact, trade and exchange between different cultures.   The Foam has the unique status of being the only known wreck on the Great Barrier Reef of a Queensland labour vessel that was actively engaged in the labour trade at the time of its demise.   Thus, the Foam, together with its wreck site, has provided archaeological insights into life on board a labour vessel, both for the returning Islanders and the European crew, at a specific time in the Queensland labour trade.
Continue reading The Wreck of the Foam and the Queensland Labour Trade

19th century Australia: grog and salad dressing?

Written by Nick Hadnutt , Curator, Archaeology.

Many of the artefacts recovered from historical archaeology sites in Australia are essentially the same types of material. Any researcher investigating these sites will expect to handle a range of material including various metal fragments, spent munitions, lost buttons, broken slate pencil tips, fragments of tools, bits of bridles and horse gear, lost coins and tokens, pieces of fabric, discarded leather material and ceramics. Amongst the most common objects are those made of glass: either whole vessels or as fragments. In fact, so much glass material is recovered from sites, it could be easy to assume 19th century Australians lived on a diet of alcohol and salad dressing, simply from the kinds of bottles we find most often.
Continue reading 19th century Australia: grog and salad dressing?

Shine a Light

Written by David Parkhill, Assistant Collection Manager, Archaeology.

The need to extend daylight hours, for either pleasure or the day to day business of living, or earning that living, has always been with us. Before the advent of electricity, allowing a room to be illuminated with the simple flick of a switch, light was generally achieved by the use of either a candle or a lamp.  Candles, while being a far cheaper alternative to pottery oil lamps, did not provide the same amount of light, nor could the light be adjusted by trimming the wick, as was the case with lamps.

Continue reading Shine a Light

Classical antiquities find a modern home

Written by Dave Parkhill
Assistant Collection Manager, Archaeology, Cultures and Histories Program

In 2015 the Queensland Museum commenced an expansion of the Secret Sacred Room at the South Bank campus. As part of this process, the majority of archaeological artefacts remaining at South Bank were relocated to the Queensland Museum Annexe at Hendra. The archaeological objects remaining at Southbank consisted mainly of the antiquities collection. From terracotta lamps to glass beakers; from mummified birds to spearheads, the antiquities collection is comprised of over 950 pieces, and includes artefacts from cultures as geographically and chronologically diverse as Egypt, Rome, Britain, Greece, and Cyprus.
Continue reading Classical antiquities find a modern home

Pompey’s next chapter

Written by: Rob Shiels, Assistant Collection Manager, The Workshops Rail Museum

In July 2016, Pompey, the black locomotive in the grounds at The Workshops Rail Museum will be moved to an undercover area at the Museum.

Pompey has been a popular display item since the Museum opened in 2002 and has been climbed on by thousands of adults and children alike in the last 14 years. Pompey has also held pride of place at the front of the Ipswich Railway Workshops complex since the early 1970s (only periodically being removed for restoration work).

C13797 - IPSWICH WORKSHOPS, ENTRANCE TO WORKSHOPS, GATE & TREES AREA 1985_SM
Pompey out the front at the Ipswich Railway Workshops, 1985. Collection of The Workshops Rail Museum/Queensland Rail.

However, 14 years in the Queensland weather will have an impact on even the sturdiest of objects. Therefore in the best interests of preserving Pompey, the locomotive will be moved from the grounds and put undercover. Eventually a full cosmetic restoration on Pompey will be completed but in the meantime the locomotive will be housed in the 8-9-10 road section of the Museum where visitors will be able to see it on display (and Pompey will remain an active participant in the Day Out with Thomas events).

Pompey is a very significant object to the Ipswich Railway Workshops site as it was used as The Workshops shunter between 1953 and the early 1970s. We believe it was affectionately named ‘Pompey’ because it threw sparks when shunting, reminding the men of a volcano, and the locomotive was thus named after the site of the famous volcano Mount Vesuvius that erupted in Ancient Roman times at Pompeii.

Pomepy shunting at IRW 1970_SM
Pompey shunting at the Ipswich Railway Workshops May 1970. Photographer Brian Martin.

Museum practice has changed since Pompey was last restored and installed in front of the Museum in 2002. In more recent times Museums aim to display and store objects in areas that have some environmental controls. The Museum is dedicated to restoring Pompey and when this work is completed Pompey will likely remain inside the Museum rather than return to the grounds. As a Museum it is our job to protect and care for Queensland’s treasures and by restoring and caring for Pompey inside will help us to preserve this very significant locomotive so future generations can continue to enjoy its story.

See Pompey’s record on the Queensland Museum’s online collections here.

Pompey 2002
Pompey being installed in the grounds of The Workshops Rail Museum, 2002. Photographer David Mewes.

See a snapshot of Pompey being moved:


 

Collecting the Deep Past: Queensland Museum’s archaeology collection.

Written by Curator of Archaeology, Nick Hadnutt.

Queensland Museum is the custodian of a significant and extensive archaeological collection. The collection is so large it is divided into categories to enable better management, access and the application of expert knowledge to the collections. All together, these various collections comprise of hundreds of thousands of artefacts and occupy many square meters of storage. The collections are divided as follows: Continue reading Collecting the Deep Past: Queensland Museum’s archaeology collection.