or from Casula to Melbourne and back again, an eye-opening experience
In 2011, I was a fortunate recipient of a Mentorship Grant awarded by Museums & Galleries New South Wales (MGNSW). The grant enabled me to be placed for two weeks in November 2011 ‘behind the scenes’ with Janine Bofill, Registrar of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and her industrious Registration team, in Melbourne, Australia.
As a ‘museum/gallery’ professional, based in suburban Australia, the mentorship experience at NGV gave me a ‘taste’ of what we could do at Casula Powerhouse to enhance our exhibition, curatorial, collection, and visitor services. Under the cheerful guidance of Janine and Assistant Registrar, Sarah Nixon, the main project that I assisted with was the Winter Masterpieces Exhibition ‘Napoléon: Revolution to Empire’. This fascinating exhibition, opening in June 2012, will display various objects and artworks associated with a turbulent part of French history (1770’s to 1820’s) largely borrowed from the Fondation Napoléon, Paris. I really enjoyed being exposed to the size and scale of the logistics and organisational skills required for this type of exhibition.
I was also kept busy with useful talks and tours with various NGV specialists including Wayne Childs (Assistant Manager Art Services), Toby Miller (Conservation Administrator), Judith Ryan and Sana Balai (Curator and Assistant Curator, Indigenous Art), and Belinda Cannizzaro (Collection Manager, Off-site storage). These meetings, brought home to me how important it is to have such people with in depth skills in our larger collecting galleries and museums. They are a valuable source of knowledge to ‘us’ regional institutions.
Of particular relevance to my everyday work practices, were discussions with Julie-Anne Carbon, Associate Registrar, Collection Systems and Administration. Julie-Anne is the Vernon Database Systems Administrator. As NGV uses the same database as we do at Casula Powerhouse, it was with great pleasure that I sat down with Julie to look at, amongst other things, Vernon ‘statuses’, the importing of records and how multi-part objects are recorded in the DB. NGV has been using Vernon for over 10 years, so it was good to see where we at CPAC could take our system. Finally, to complement my talks with Julie-Anne, Linda Misuraca, (Assistant Registrar, Accessioning) outlined her practical processes of labelling, and numbering objects, and Julie Banks (Associate Registrar) gave me an overview of the NGV collection audit process.
Overall, the two week experience at National Gallery of Victoria was very productive. I made new and valuable contacts, gained more confidence in my own skills as well as gained an even greater respect for the professionalism and expertise of NGV staff.
Lilian Yong is the Assistant Registrar at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, a cultural facility of Liverpool City Council in Casula, New South Wales, Australia. http://www.casulapowerhouse.com
The exhibition ‘Napoleon: Revolution to Empire’ is on display at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from 2 June to 7 October 2012. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au
Museum and Galleries New South Wales (MG&NSW), a New South Wales state government organisation, in Sydney Australia, provides professional development and exhibition support services to museums and galleries in New South Wales. http://www.mgnsw.org.au