Saving seaside stories
Thirty years ago, the community of Queenscliffe opened its Maritime Museum. The Borough of Queenscliffe owns and maintains the maritime museum building, which frees Queenscliffe Maritime Museum Inc. (QMM) and its 78 volunteers and one paid staff member to run community museum programs. Often the volunteers are elderly and their involvements helps them to remain socially connected and intellectually stimulated.
QMM strive to tell the story of a seaside town which began with ships, travel and maritime safety, and the museum welcomes over 10,000 visitors each year.
The museum’s collection has grown to include rare paper-based articles and other items sensitive to light. To remain accredited by Museums Australia, the standard of control of light across exhibition spaces needed to be addressed. When the museum opened, the last Queenscliffe lifeboat from 1926 was fully restored and placed as the centrepiece under three large half-circular roof skylights, flooding natural light onto the museum’s most popular collection item.
These skylights, as well as a number of windows in other parts of the museum required window film to enable light to illuminate the collection without compromising collection conservation standards. The initial work that QMM received a quote for was funded by the Geelong Community Foundation, however two new areas that required window filming were only identified during the implementation of the upgrades, and it was FRRR’s support with a $3,000 grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the William Buckland Foundation, that allowed these unanticipated works to be completed and still meet the original project timeline.
The significant outcomes of this project are threefold; economic development through tourism; social connectedness for the volunteers; and retention and preservation of culturally significant items in a collection that represents 30 years of community effort to collect, record, conserve and celebrate this coastal community. The Museum was re-accredited for another five years till 2021.