Each year the Powerhouse Museum’s Regional Services Program offers a Movable Heritage Fellowship to students residing in New South Wales enrolled at any University campus. Movable Heritage refers to any natural or manufactured object of heritage significance. The successful applicant undertakes a research project as part of the Fellowship on one or more objects in a community museum, historical society or other collecting institution. They are awarded $5,000 and also spend one week at the Powerhouse Museum receiving expert guidance by a supervising member of staff.
The winner of the 2010 Movable Heritage Fellowship is Carly Todhunter. In this post, Carly shares with us the nature of her research project and the experiences she has gained working with Margaret Simpson, Curator, Science, Technology & Industry at the Museum.
My name is Carly Todhunter and I am currently studying heritage and archaeology as part of a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney. As the Movable Heritage Fellow for 2010, I’ve been engaging with ways that the Powerhouse Museum brings their exhibitions to life with oral histories, photography and other online media forms to see how these may be adapted to bring an online presence to the collections of regional museums.
In the past week I’ve sat in on a photography shoot for a Bayko house set, written a blog on a turn of the century ice-cream maker and explored the stores at Castle Hill. Short of swimming with dolphins, the week has given me a taste of the adventures being had everyday behind-the-scenes at the Powerhouse.
My project is looking at dairy machinery in collections from the Illawarra, specifically the Illawarra Museum; Tongarra Bicentennial Museum; Berry Museum; Gerringong Museum; Berrima District Museum; Pioneer Farm Museum; Nowra Museum and the Wollondilly Heritage Centre. For each Museum, I am creating records for the dairy machinery in their collections. Some of the machinery I am looking at includes cream separators, butter churns, butter pats, cream and milk cans, ice-cream makers, milking stools, milking machines, cheese presses, pint milk bottles, a Streets ice-cream sign and a farm cart.
In addition to creating digital records for all these objects, I am also developing a number of other resources including a blog; postings of photographs of the Museums, their collections and important sites in the history of the dairy industry to go on Flickr and education packs for primary school children.
This project, which will be complete in December 2010, will allow me to pass on the knowledge and many insights I have gained. It has also enabled me to meet some very interesting characters at the regional museums! One volunteer I met shared with me a narrative of the history of the local dairy industry of the Berrima District, which he had researched and prepared for an upcoming exhibition. Ironically, however, this volunteer also revealed to me that he was lactose intolerant! Though I cannot claim to suffer from the same ailment, I’m already beginning to wonder if (after having studied the dairy industry so extensively) that will become my fate too!
Movable Heritage Fellowship winner, 2010