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Presented at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Forum in Baltimore, May 2013, the online cultural heritage project www.victoriancollections.net.au. …

Presented at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Forum in Baltimore, May 2013, the online cultural heritage project www.victoriancollections.net.au.

This project enables ethnic community groups and the broader museum community to catalogue, digitise and share their cultural heritage.

Museums Australia (Victoria) is the peak industry body for museums and galleries: www.mavic.asn.au.

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  • Australia almost the same size as the United States, but 15 times less people (22m).
  • This project is focused on the State of Victoria, which is 20 times larger than Maryland, yet has the same population (5 – 6m).
  • As well as Aboriginal languages, over 200 foreign languages are spoken in the State of Victoria.
  • The National Standards provide standards on running museums, with benchmarks, principles and links to other resources for further information.This document is used as the basis for all our services, including our Accreditation Program.
  • Significance 2.0 is the best practice handbook on defining why the three types of cultural heritage: built, tangible and intangible – are significant.
  • So we’re talking about people’s stories. This project works with 55 ethnic communities so far, who speak a variety of languages from Arabic and Lebanese Arabic, to Vietnamese.
  • In our face to face training with groups, we explain how to catalogue items and how to digitise them – taking pictures of shiny objects for example. We strongly encourage older and younger volunteers to work together. Where some participants have never used computers, sometimes this leads to a new understanding of online technology enabling them to research family histories and sharing photographs with family members.
  • So we have site visits to collecting groups, we train groups how to catalogue and digitize their collections, and then how to share them here, on the website. This is Victorian Collections, which we hope will soon become Australian Collections, expanding to cover the whole country. So the map on the right is just Victoria…
  • …the State shown above in green.
  • The site allows the public to discover collection items and the stories about them by clicking on the map, searching by item, or organization, and what’s nearby (if you’re driving around with a smartphone and want to explore the physical museums).
  • We have multilingual capability to display the names in English and source languages, as per the Mandarin above. We also have Greek items online.
  • Government agencies and statutory bodies which support multicultural communities also take part.
  • Victoria has a large Chinese Australian community so the main museum of Chinese Australian history has a paid curatorial staff member. This online comment added to the interpretation of the collection item. johnny fordham11 January 2013 12:36 AM this drum i beleive would have been made by ajax drums ??? i played a ajax kit in the 60,s. also ron verrel played them in the famous ted heath band in the uk. Sophie Couchman (Curator, Chinese Museum)11 January 2013 5:04 PM I've just gone to check the drum in our collection room and you are quite right it is an AJAX drum. It may well have been played in the 1960s. Well spotted! You prompted me to do a google search about ajax drums and I found the following interesting site - http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/ajax.html.
  • Sinh Tran writes an online comment to query whether there are more photographs of Vietnamese refugees in the Phillippines.
  • I also mentioned that we have online training – we are on the web, Facebook and Twitter. Our Twitter feed is another route to engage people in stories.
  • We also have online videos to answer our Frequently Asked Questions about museum practice.
  • The videos are also on YouTube: www.youtube.com/MuseumsAustraliaVic
  • As a result of our training, our shared stories are discoverable. Our inclusive, accessible services support all collecting organisations in their work to conserve, digitise and share stories and ideas.
  • Australians are proud of their culture and identity. This shows why it is important to enable the community to share cultural heritage, and to preserve these items and the stories behind them for future generations.


  • 1. Digitizing and sharing migrant storiesin Australia: International case studyTuesday 21 May 2013AAM Annual Forum, BaltimoreLaura Miles, Museums Australia(Victoria)@laura_miles
  • 2. Courtesy of www.mapsofworld.com
  • 3. Courtesy of www.mapsofworld.com
  • 4. Images of AustraliaCourtesy: State Library of Queenland / www.VisitVictoria.com
  • 5. Online exhibition of Australian migrant stories by country of originhttp://museumvictoria.com.au/origins
  • 6. Culture Victoria: stories about cultural treasureswww.cv.vic.gov.au
  • 7. Gellibrand’s broad Aboriginal language map of Victoria (1850 – 1901)Courtesy of Museum Victoria
  • 8. Another image of Australia, the diverse country:http://www.immi.gov.au
  • 9. Over 200 languages are spoken in Victoriawww.diac.gov.au
  • 10. Two key guidelines for museum practice:National Standards for Australian Museums & Galleries, and Significance 2.0
  • 11. National Standards for Australian Museums & Galleries:http://www.collectionsaustralia.net/sector_info_item/107
  • 12. Significance 2.0, Collections Council of Australia, archived at:http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/publications/significance2-0/• Historic• Scientific / research• Social / spiritual• Provenance• Rarity / representativeness• Condition / completeness+ groupings of objects bytheme, location, orchronology
  • 13. Volunteer at the Kuo Min Tang Society collection.Courtesy of Dr Helen Light, March 2013
  • 14. (Left) Suitcases used by Dutch immigrants to Australia. Courtesy of Dr Helen Light(Right) Dutch theemuts [teapot warmer] from the Dutch Australian Heritage Centre
  • 15. Intergenerational volunteers: (left) Burke Museum & Dookie Historical Society(right) Orbost and District Historical Society
  • 16. www.victoriancollections.net.au
  • 17. Courtesy of www.mapsofworld.com
  • 18. http://victoriancollections.net.au/regions
  • 19. http://victoriancollections.net.au
  • 20. http://victoriancollections.net.au
  • 21. http://victoriancollections.net.au
  • 22. Online means sharing:http://victoriancollections.net.auDrum, Chinese Museum (澳華歷史博物館).
  • 23. http://victoriancollections.net.au
  • 24. http://victoriancollections.net.au/items/4f72bdcc97f83e0308606718
  • 25. https://twitter.com/VicCollections
  • 26. Showcasing best-practice in Accredited museums:www.mavic.asn.au/resources/practical-training
  • 27. Find us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/museumsaustraliavic
  • 28. Painted eggs and textiles from the Ukrainian Arts & Crafts Museum, MelbourneCourtesy of Multicultural Arts Victoria
  • 29. Hacer Yildrim (pictured) with her grandmother’s 100-year-old Turkish wedding dress.Courtesy of Dr Helen Light, May 2011
  • 30. Takeaways:Factsheets & videos: www.mavic.asn.auTwitter: @laura_miles / @Vic_Collections / @_mavic