Collecting for the soldiers: making accessible pre-First World War photography and collection material for communities

Monday, 1 July 2019

In 2008 a donation was made to the Australian War Memorial of a large, fragile photo album, containing photographs taken by a First World War officer when employed by a pastoralist firm in the Kimberley region, and prior to his enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force in April 1915. In 2018 the album was re-examined in view of its cultural and Indigenous content and over the past year curators have worked to revitalise its description and to bring it up to date with current cultural practices. 

This presentation focuses on this album as an important pilot project for the implementation of significant cultural collection management protocols regarding cataloguing, handling, storage and accessibility of Indigenous collection material held by the Memorial. This presentation will highlight the outcomes from the creation of cataloguing and access guides and how the Memorial has increased awareness and exposure of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection material in the National Collection. Additionally, this presentation will consider objects in the Art, Research Centre and Military Heraldry sections, and strategies to increase digital exposure of material for the purposes of research, and how this contributes to continuing cultural survival for communities in the contemporary digital age.