Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Volunteers Extraordinaire

 Volunteers Extraordinaire

Don and Sue Brian returned to our shores, once again, to offer their time and expertise to the Norfolk Island Museum.  This visit was specifically to undertake the accessioning process of the objects recovered from the infrastructure services upgrade of the Double Boatshed, Blacksmiths’ Compound and areas of Quality Row during 2015 by the then Commonwealth Heritage Manager, Matt Alexander, archaeologist Douglas Hobbs and the KAVHA works team. 

Our volunteers, Sue and Don, began with the artefacts collected from excavations at the Double Boatshed and the Blacksmith’s Compound. Firstly they needed to correlate the data attached to the objects with the reports to confirm each objects provenance, then each object or grouping of objects were allocated a Norfolk Island Museum catalogue number, these numbers were physically recorded onto the objects, their condition assessed and recorded, photographs taken and the collection rehoused according to material types.  The details were entered into a spreadsheet and then uploaded into the museum’s Inmagic Database.  A total of 1,150 objects for this project were documented, assessed and entered into the KAVHA Collection in the care of the Norfolk Island Museum.  A huge task, but this was not all.

The second stage of their volunteer project was to carry out the same process for the objects recovered from the 2015 upgrade of the infrastructure services along the rear of the Quality Row buildings.  Some of these objects may relate to “Irish Town” the former soldiers garden hut area on the hill above the Old Military Barracks Compound, the others from a midden that appears to be dating to the early Pitcairner period, these objects are comprised mainly of glass and ceramics with some stone, metal and animal remains. 

Two items of particular interest were identified in the bags of materials which had not been previously noted, one was a worked flint of the same shape and size as that used on a Short Land Pattern Musket and the other was a small hallmarked silver piece which may be a button back provisionally dating to 1792.  This project amounted to 2,829 items being identified, described, recorded, and accessioned into the Norfolk Island Museum database as part of the KAVHA collection.  All but 900 of these were individually, physically numbered prior to being rehoused.  Those which were not numbered were bags of broken bottle glass dating back to the 1920s.

New display cabinets in Pier Store
Also, whilst they were on island they kept themselves ‘extra’ busy by tidying up at our museum store, undertaking conservation of a community owned artefact and installing our precious scrimshaw and whaling gun into the new Norfolk Pine cabinets within the Pier Store Museum.  We received two new cabinets costing $1,000; they were donated to the museum by Sue and Don.   They also, funded their own way to Norfolk, however we were able to provide them with $1,000 as contribution towards their airfares, this $1,000 came from funds they had donated back to the Museum Trust in 2015 when they undertook an Audit and Condition Assessment of the Trust’s collection.

Absolute dynamos to say the least!  Thanks must also be offered to Chris Ciantar and Sorrel Wilby for their support of the Norfolk Island Museum by providing accommodation, to Lou and Jimbo Tavener for the car and to Brian Prince the Commonwealth Heritage Manager for providing the workspace. Thanks to you all from the Norfolk Island Museum.

Janelle Blucher

Team Leader – Heritage Management

March 2017

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