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100,000 Discoveries

A retrospective of Victorian Collections as we reach our first 100,000 objects

Celebrations are underway for the remarkable landmark digitisation of 100,000 objects accessible through Victorian Collections. We are taking this opportunity to reflect back on the early days of the program; reminiscing about how it began, the milestones along the way and all the incredible achievements of the Victorian Collections community. We are thrilled with the success and interest in Victorian Collections and excited to see the next 100,000 objects.

The Embrace, artist Peter Wegner, 2011

Nillumbik Shire Council

The devastation to Victorian communities caused by the Black Saturday bushfires was a tragic, powerful reminder of the need to protect and preserve our history and heritage. In 2009, seed funding was provided to Museums Australia (Victoria) and Museums Victoria to develop a community digitisation project and Victorian Collections was born.

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"Away We Go", Dean's Nursery Series, c. 1930

Cheese World Museum

The project launched in 2010 for use by all Victorian collecting organisations. The aim was to provide small to medium-sized collecting organisations with a free, web-based collections management system, and access to an accompanying suite of training programs in cataloguing and collections care.

The option for these collecting organisations to publish their records online has allowed unprecedented access to Victoria's material culture. The website now offers the public access to over 100,000 digitised items including photographs, art works, objects and books, and represents the remarkable dedication and tireless work of the community collecting sector in Victoria.

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Large hand-woven basket, c. 1880

Orbost & District Historical Society

The objects on Victorian Collections have been contributed by more than 480 organisations, incorporating museums, historical societies as well as non-traditional collecting organisations including RSLs, historic houses, fire brigades and sports clubs. Separately, these collections bring previously undocumented stories to light. Together, they tell wider stories about our shared identity and add contrasting voices to our collective memory.

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Pocket first aid kit, mid 1900s

Kiewa Valley Historical Society

Victorian Collections provides training and support for collecting organisations across the state. Since the project’s launch, over 1,000 people have attended more than 200 workshops. The workshops cover collection management principles, copyright, preventive conservation and cataloguing theory and practice. Participants are given the tools, confidence and support to begin using Victorian Collections. These workshops build capacity within regional Victoria, connect like-minded organisations and help to foster a sense of community within the collecting sector.

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Photograph - Ballarat College of Advanced Education analog computer

Federation University Australia Historical Collection (Geoffrey Blainey Research Centre)

For organisations using Victorian Collections, their increased digital presence has led to a higher profile, and a greater community awareness of their work and collections. This has translated into increased numbers of physical visitors and new volunteers. It has also helped to make their collections more relevant and sustainable, as well as opened up potential for new research and increased interest from future custodians.

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Second World War gas mask, 1942

Frankston RSL Sub Branch

Victoria’s ex-service community and associated organisations form an integral part of our collective history. The Veteran’s Heritage Project began in 2016 and is supported by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The project works to build digitisation and collections care capacity within the ex-service community.

Through this project, select ex-service groups have been provided tailored training in collections care, cataloguing and oral history. These workshops have provided a forum for local sub-branches to showcase and focus on their memorabilia and develop collaborative relationships. Military heritage catalogued on Victorian Collections greatly increases the breadth and significance of the distributed state collection, and the addition of digitised, peer-to-peer oral history recording from ex-service men and women is an incredible resource for all Victorians.

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Miss Victory - Popular Girl Contest, 1946

Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League

Victorian Collections also fosters and strengthens collaborative community relationships and promotes sector development. In partnership with Deakin University, the program facilitates student placements within collecting organisations. The program also runs a series of community and capacity-building initiatives such as VC Day: a low cost, one day conference that facilitates the transfer of skills between professionals and volunteers; and presents three cataloguing awards each year at the Victorian Museum Awards.

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First World War card from France, 1917

Bendigo Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum

It is through the dedication of the Victorian Collections community that hundreds of thousands of unique connections between new audiences and future custodians are forged each year. While we celebrate the first 100,000 objects shared on Victorian Collections, it’s important to acknowledge the hard work and commitment shown by members of hundreds of collecting organisations who have contributed their time and expertise, and given so much heart to ensuring the next generation of Victorians will have access to and knowledge of their rich heritage.

Each and every Victorian collecting organisation is welcome to join the Victorian Collections party.

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