The Collection Audit
The Collection Audit is aimed at creating a database of QVMAG’s 1.5 million artworks and objects.
QVMAG has committed to undertake a thorough Audit of its entire collection including Visual Arts and Design, Natural Sciences and History, in order to create an ongoing digitised record and to ensure that our collections are as accessible as possible.
This is the first full audit of these collections since the museum's inception in 1891.
Until the start of this project, only about 18% of objects were registered on our database.
We recognise the need for every single item in QVMAG's collection - from tiny native fleas to expansive landscape paintings to railway carriages - to be meticulously assessed and documented for present and future communities to treasure and learn from. Because, ultimately, a museum holds a record of the past and present for the future and we must preserve this as best we can.
So far our team has audited the complete collection of Furniture and Margaret Stones' Botanical Illustrations. The audit is uncovering marvellous objects of cultural, social and environmental significance that are stitching together inspiring and intriguing new narratives. We are gaining new knowledge every day and this is informing and shaping our own work and practice.
Museums are complex places and their workings can sometimes seem mysterious. But with our new Secrets of QVMAG guided tours you will be able to see our team at work as they continue the auditing process in the central gallery at Royal Park.
Where are we doing it
The Audit has begun at the Art Gallery at Royal Park. The Central Gallery upstairs has become our Audit Space, in which our curators, officers and volunteers are meticulously documenting the collection. If you'd like to see us at work please join one of our Secrets of QVMAG guided tours.
As most of our 1.5 million objects are Natural Sciences specimens housed at the Art Gallery, we expect to remain here for some time. Once these are complete, we will move to the Museum at Inveresk. Keep a look out for our audit team and feel free to ask any questions about the process, how far we've come, and what we've been finding.
How are we doing it
The QVMAG Collection Audit began in mid-2019 and will be ongoing as we work our way through the vast collection while also acquiring new objects. So far we have audited our Furniture and Margaret Stones Botanical Illustration Collections and every day more objects are added to our completed list. We hope this Audit creates an outstanding model for collections research, care and maintenance for industry and future guardians of the QVMAG archives.
The Audit has presented an excellent opportunity to reconsider the presentation of spaces at our Royal Park site.
The former Colonial and Federation Galleries are now closed as we refurbish these spaces in order to better control the environment, keeping our treasured works safe into the future.
A selection of popular works from these galleries are now on display in the Corner Gallery that is still open to visitors.
While our permanent displays are closed we will be showing the temporary exhibition Calculating Infinity in our Main Gallery downstairs, with a range of temporary exhibitions opening by the end of the year. Following this in 2021 a new display of works from QVMAG's own collection will be unveiled. Watch this space!
Listen below as our Collections and Research Manager, Dr Christine Hansen, unpacks the Collection Audit: