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MEDIA RELEASE - Cultural Collection put under national spotlight

13 March 2019

Glenelg Shire’s unique cultural collection is being put under the spotlight to assess its national significance thanks to the National Library of Australia.

Council’s collection, which documents the European settlement of Glenelg Shire across more than 10,000 items, is being assessed this week by History at Work founder Emma Russell.

The Melbourne based historian is assessing the collections significance based on four primary criteria – historic; artistic or aesthetic, scientific or research potential, and social or spiritual significance.

Furthermore four comparative criteria are being used to evaluate the degree of significance including provenance; rarity or presentiveness; completeness, and interpretive capacity.

Cultural Collection officer Trevor Smith said Emma’s visit was the result of a $6000 grant from the National Library of Australia Community Heritage scheme.

“The cultural collection is vast including wondrous objects, photographs and records relating to the social, maritime and civic history of the shire. Many items are already considered to be of national and state significance, with this assessment to provide a true indication of this profile,” Mr Smith said.

“This significance assessment will recognise the importance of people, places and context to understand the true value of our collection. It is a process that investigates and analyses the meanings and values of items, ultimately facilitating the sharing of ideas and information about this wonderful community owned asset.

“We are extremely fortunate to have this process undertaken as the findings will be an important catalyst in attracting future funding to conserve and maintain the $6.5 million collection.”

Emma said she had been impressed with the collection, taking particular interest in the Portland Lifeboat at the Portland Maritime Museum, which dates back to 1858 and was instrumental in the rescuing of survivors from the famous Admella shipwreck.

The full assessment will take four days with a report expected to be completed by June.

The cultural collection can be viewed at Portland’s History House and Portland Maritime Discovery Centre which is open daily in addition to displays at council’s reception, and occasional displays at the Portland Arts Centre.


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