Volunteer Project

Smirk’s Cottage

For the last month or so I’ve been working with the Kwinana Heritage Group at a site called Smirk’s Cottage, which is actually a collection of buildings; a 1902 stone cottage, a 1920 soldier settler cottage and a 1980s demountable building along with a few sheds. The site is a volunteer run museum, like many around the country, with all the associated issues and triumphs. There is very little funding from the local council and the group runs on a very tight budget and they need help with their ramshackle collection, professional museum practices and how to improve and develop the museum. I’m still completing my post-graduate studies in museum practice and was looking for a volunteer project to give me some practical experience. It has turned out to be a perfect match and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time there. Every Monday morning I wizz down the freeway to Kwinana where the site is a hum of activity. I’m usually in the office with the museum subcommittee discussing and planning the project. Over the next few weeks we’ll start to get our hands dirty dealing with objects.

Soldier Settlement Cottage

The collection is huge – thousands of items all of which are on display – ranging from domestic items to industrial, farming, leisure and everything in between. There is very little organisation of the items so they make sense as a story and basically that’s what I’m there to help them with. We are planning an October Open Day which will unveil the revamped museum – a pretty big job to get completed by then.

I’ll be back with some more specific posts about what I’m doing week-by-week. Stay tuned!

Inside Smirk’s Cottage


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