On Thursday 8 December 2016 members of ASHA and other non-member historic archaeologists and historians attended a guided tour of Museums Victoria’s storage facility in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, organised by ASHA committee members Bronwyn Woff and Catherine Tucker.
The storage facility provides tailored storage areas for objects when they are not on display at Museums Victoria’s three campuses at Melbourne Museum (Carlton), the Immigration Museum (CBD) and Scienceworks (Spotswood).
Mr Veegan McMasters (Senior Coordinator, Collections Storage and Logistics, Strategic Collection Management Department) showed us some of the 17 million objects housed by Museums Victoria – an extraordinary array of objects including everything from taxidermy animals, machinery, clothing and textiles, aeroplanes, to barbed wire and fencing equipment, handbags, signage, tools and household equipment through the ages. Veegan also explained the location system used by organisation, by which every object is barcoded and the location recorded on a live location system.
Artefacts excavated from the Commonwealth Block – land bounded by Lonsdale, Little Lonsdale, Spring and Exhibition Streets, and owned by the Commonwealth Government since 1948 – in Melbourne’s CBD is also housed at this facility. The collection consists of artefacts from various excavations from 1988 to the present, and holds the largest nineteenth century urban historical archaeology collection in the world.
Research Assistant Bronwyn Woff explaining the Historical Archaeology Collection
The resource is incredible and is certainly something that archaeologists from around Australia could consult. If anyone is interested in accessing the collection, images of some of the artefacts are found on Museums Victoria’s “Collections Online” website. The search is easy to use, and you can filter by Collecting Area eg: Historical Archaeology, or search all of the Museums collections. For in-person viewing of the collection, access may be able to be organised through the Discovery centre. Links for these two sites can be found below:
For those who missed out we will look at having another tour next year.
State landau coach made by Hooper & Co, London, circa 1897