Monday, September 26, 2016

Museum Volunteers

We are extremely grateful for the generosity of museum volunteers David and Michelle Cullen from Camden, New South Wales.

Michelle and David first came to Norfolk for their honeymoon in September 1987 and this year marks their tenth visit and their twenty-ninth wedding anniversary.  Both of them work in the finance industry, David’s profession is Money Market Derivatives and Michelle is a Business Analyst.  David’s interests include environmental conservation and history; he has been a volunteer with National Parks and Wild Mob on previous visits to Norfolk. 

They visited Norfolk during the anniversary week of the 225th wrecking of the HMS Sirius in March 2015 and it was at that time they thought they might have some skills to offer the Norfolk Island Museum as volunteers.  Since then, David with his keen interest in Norfolk’s history and Michelle with her eye for detail and systematic approach to tasks have made a fantastic team undertaking cataloguing projects for the Norfolk Island Museum. 

Back on Norfolk at present and now into the third week of their ‘volunteer holiday’, they have completed an enormous project of cataloguing a backlog of files, books and items into the Norfolk Island Museum Trust Collection, over 150 catalogue entries have been completed in the past three weeks.  Initially they said they would be available for two weeks of their four week holiday, but they wouldn’t stop until the whole job was done!  They both stated, “it’s been difficult to stay on task with the processing as we just wanted to read through everything”, and they also said that it has been their pleasure to be able to provide such valuable assistance to the museum and have thoroughly enjoyed pouring over the interesting documents and books and learning more of our history.

This is the second volunteer project Michelle and David have completed for the museum, back in July 2015 they both worked for two weeks to complete the final step in the process of cataloguing the Les Brown Collection files which amounted to two filing cabinets full of files.

This type of project also reminds us of the generosity and foresight of the people that have donated these items to the museum to complement and improve our repository of information, it serves to not only preserve our history and heritage but also develops this resource for researchers and provides a basis for further analysis of historical information. 

To David and Michelle, a huge thank you for your careful processing of these items, it was a huge project that we could not have achieved without your dedication these past few weeks.  

 Thank you.                                                                                                            Janelle Blucher


Friday, September 9, 2016

Digistise your slide collection and preserve our island stories

Digitise your slide collection and preserve our island stories

Do you have a slide collection tucked away in an old shoebox that you’d like to bring out for a ‘slide night’?  It’s sure to impress your friends!  Seriously though, if you have a collection of slides that tell us something of our Norfolk story, we’d love to hear from you.   

Over the past couple of months Mark Hallam has generously provided his time and equipment to digitise the Norfolk Island Museum slide collection.  Any day the weather is not conducive to volunteer his skills at the National Park you will find him in the old Guardhouse building in Kingston working on this digitisation project for the museum.  It was Mark that suggested we develop the Museum collection through digitising community owned slide collections.  Once Mark has digitised your slides, you take them home along with the digital copy; and the museum also retains a digital copy to add to our collection.

Firstly, call us on 23788 to discuss the content of your slides to ensure it fits with our collection focus, following that we will arrange a suitable time for you to hand them over to Mark to check the  condition and undertake the digitisation process. 

Already Mark has completed scanning thirteen hundred slides from our collection and just as he thought he was nearing the end, we received a parcel from Rita Hillier; and it was a box of slides.  Some may remember the Hillier and Harper Newsagency in Burnt Pine some years back and Rita’s photographic book “Norfolk Island” is still sold on the island today.    There’s sure to be a fantastic part of Norfolk’s story in amongst those slides.

It’s worth recognising that the pictures we take throughout our lives capture much more than personal memories.  They allow others now and in the future to have a glimpse of the landscape, buildings, people and style, activities and events at a point in time that would otherwise be unobtainable.

Contact either myself or Natasha on 23788 if you would like to share and preserve your part of our island’s story.

Janelle Blucher

 These images are from the Bill Davidson Collection - a visitors experience on Norfolk Island

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Discovery and Rediscoveries - History Through Art

The theme for the 36th annual National Trust Heritage Festival 2016 is ‘Discovery and Rediscoveries’. Discovery can encompass the experience of discovering something for the first time or rediscovering something that has been lost, forgotten or concealed.   This theme can be explored through archaeological experiences or any type of cultural heritage. To participate in this year’s festival the Museum has chosen art as its medium.   
Painting by Betty Laing
Art of Norfolk Island – rediscovering history through art.  This one hour presentation is an illustration of our history.  Look through the lens of the artists to visualise the island as it appeared to the settlers from the First Fleet in 1788 and sense the hardships of the second British Settlement from 1825, then appreciate the island culture since the arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders in 1856.  Realise the island’s natural beauty is the only common thread throughout our island’s painted history.   Gaye Evans delivered this presentation last Thursday, 20 April at the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) Research Centre at No. 9 Quality Row.  There was no charge for this event and everyone was welcome to attend.   
Painting by Betty Laing
Janelle Blucher

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Condition Assessment of the HMS Sirius Collection

The Norfolk Island Museum applied to the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) to provide for a condition assessment of the HMS Sirius Collection.  Rebecca Dallwitz, Objects Conservator for the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) arrived on the island last week to undertake this assessment. 
The MMAPSS is funded by the Australian Government and managed by the ANMM, the Norfolk Island Museum have been fortunate to receive assistance through this grant scheme over the past number of years.  Some of the projects funded by the scheme has provided for the development of  educational resources; a Norfolk Island maritime research project post 1856 including our whaling heritage and the story of the Resolution; it has provided for the writing of maritime significance statements and the conservation of our collections.
Rebecca spent over a week on the island examining the HMS Sirius artefacts on display and in storage and now has the enormous task of pulling the information together and producing a report.  Her study not only includes the assessment of the actual objects but also considers the environment, housing, collection maintenance and documentation.  It will provide a valuable document to confirm existing best practice museum standards, but more importantly identify what needs to be addressed to ensure the long term preservation and care of such a significant collection.  She has already identified necessary activity to address the environment, display material and documentation; this report will be a tool to assist us to procure resources for these necessary projects. 
Many thanks to Rebecca for your time and professionalism, to the ANMM for sparing her from an extremely busy existing work schedule and to the Australian Government funded Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme.

Janelle Blucher

Monday, April 11, 2016

Caulking, undercoat and keelson

Note: This post continues from earlier Ribs, roves and rivets
The ribs are complete and the entire lighter is caulked and undercoated. Dean Burrell drives the fork lift to gently raise the lighter so that the keelson can be hammered into place. Work will then continue on the inside of the lighter. 

 Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New Installations at the Norfolk Island Museum

We are really excited to announce two new installations this week.   A short term display in The R.E.O. to compliment a story on Roy Bell featured in the current Your World Magazine and new display material in the Pier Store Museum to enhance our Norfolk Language display.

Roy Bell was born in 1882 on Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group east of Norfolk Island, coming here to live in 1911 it is now fifty years since Roy was laid to rest in our cemetery at Kingston.  Being born into the Bell Family on isolated Raoul was the beginning of an incredible life story for Roy.  The hardships the family endured and the immense appreciation for nature were no doubt inspirational for his life’s work as a photographer, ornithologist and a naturalist.  On Norfolk Island he was also known as a spiritualist. Roy is remembered for his work supporting Tom Iredale and a group of scientists studying birds, molluscs and shells on Raoul Island.  On Norfolk he continued to be a natural history collector making contributions to Gregory Mathew’s valuable publication ‘Birds of Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands’ published in 1928.  Today on Norfolk we can be grateful for a wonderful collection of Roy’s photography that has captured the visual history of our island.   
Masked Booby's by Roy Bell
Call into The R.E.O at Kingston to see our display commemorating the life of Roy Bell.  Then come across to the Pier Store Museum to see the new iPad installed at our Norfolk Language display.
The app design provides an easy to follow audio and visual for visitors to experience, learn and play with the Norf’k language.  It begins with an introductory page that prompts you to learn the Origins of Norf’k (Wesaid Norf’k kamfram); Old Folk – Food and Whaling (Oel Salan – Wetels en  Wielen); Language of Love (Laengwij’ Law); Humour (Kasedri); Modern Education (Lernen Norf’k Des Dieh); Teach Yourself Norf’k (Tiich Yusaelf fe Tork Norf’k)
Mary Cooper enjoying the Norf'k Laengwij App

The Origins of Nor’k features audio and visual showing four men speaking a single passage in Tahitian, English dialect, Pitcairn and finally Norf’k itself.  The Old Folk – Food and Whaling is a group of Norfolk Islanders talking in the 1960’s about gathering food, cooking, whaling and the younger generation.  The Language of Love is a story written by Rachel Nebauer-Borg about a young couple courting and the Humour features a poem composed by Andre Nobbs titled Baswaagas that depicts the Norf’k sense of humour in describing a man and a woman who overcome their dislike for each other to fall in love.  Modern Education is an audio of three school students learning the language at school and to illustrate the difference one student is Australian, the other a New Zealander and the third a Norfolk Islander.   And finally Teach Yourself Norf’k is a set of simple language lessons progressing from simple greetings, questions and phrases through to full conversations, all with written translations and wonderful images.  We also have colouring in and lettering activities for the children.
The Norfolk Island Museum offers thanks to both Eddie Hooker and Ron Edwards for providing information to develop our Roy Bell story and many thanks also to all dem sullen who have contributed to the content for this wonderful Norf’k Language resource in the Pier Store Museum. 
We also sincerely thank Nicky and Wally Beadman for giving generously and freely so much of their time and expertise to develop the Norf’k Language app and to Peter Muhlhausler for his continued support of Norf’k Language in the Norfolk Island Museum. 

Janelle Blucher