Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Volunteers come at the right price. They are priceless!

It has been an extremely busy and productive past couple of weeks at the museum as we have benefited from the valuable skills and time offered by two wonderful volunteers.  Sue and Don Brian are not strangers to Norfolk; they left the island eighteen months ago after living here for five years.  Don taught science and chemistry at NICS and Sue volunteered her time to the museum four days a week for the most of that time, Sue had to have Wednesdays off from the museum so she could attend to weaving with the guys at the Golden Orb, and if she wasn’t at either of those places, you could find her volunteering for the National Park.  Outside of these times they were involved in many other charitable activities supporting the island. 
What they have achieved for the museum these past two weeks is just remarkable.   

Sue developed a template that enables us to upload multiple entries into our database in one single upload.  This is no mean feat considering there are more than eighty fields and multiple layers of classifications necessary for the cataloguing.   This template has enabled us to finally upload the Les Brown Collection of over 1,000 files, plus books and images into our database.  This week Sue has uploaded more than 2,000 entries into our database.    Sue’s previous volunteer work with the museum was mainly in the field of conservation, with a science background, she was perfect for the job, this week she has been able to provide instruction in conservation techniques to Gaye Evans, who has recently joined us at the museum.
Don originally planned for a one week holiday and extended to two.  He was kept busy for the first week digitising our entire collection of cassette tape recordings.  This digitising work is done in ‘real time’, outsourcing for this project would have cost hundreds.  Amongst this collection of cassette tapes is a recent donation by Chris Nobbs including nineteen oral history interviews he conducted during the 1980s and ‘90s, now we can hear those voices and listen to those stories.
Both Sue and Don have been enthusiastic researchers of everything ‘Norfolk’ even after they left the island, Don has taken on many interesting research projects himself and Sue has recently focused her research time on the shipwrecks of Norfolk, this research can now be seen on the Australian National Shipwreck Database, you can access it at www.environment.gov.au/topics/heritage/historic-shipwrecks/australian-national-shipwreck-database.
The final day of their ‘holiday’ on Norfolk was taken up with performing the next step in the conservation of the artefacts recently recovered from the works in the Blacksmith’s Compound.  More than one hundred ferrous objects were brushed and then placed back into fresh solutions of 2% sodium hydroxide; this part of the conservation process is to remove the corrosion causing chloride from the objects.  Sue’s work on the cataloguing template will be greatly appreciated again when it comes time to record these items into our database. 
These are the major projects accomplished during their two weeks on island, there were many other tasks completed along the way.  Sue and Don, your generosity and achievements are immeasurable, a huge thank-you to you both from a truly grateful Norfolk Island Museum.  Come back soon ..okay!

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