Spring cleaning pays dividends

COLLECTIONS officer at Western Plains Cultural Centre (WPCC) Jessica Moore has taken cleaning out the cupboard to another level.

Between 2006 and 2010 she led a meticulous review of the 5000-piece Dubbo Regional Museum collection, that involved finding new homes for 1000 pieces that did not belong.

The massive task not only delighted and excited Ms Moore, but secured another IMAGinE Award for WPCC.

Dubbo's hub of art, history and culture has won three of them since the competition was launched by Museums and Galleries NSW in 2008.

The latest, for collections management in institutions with five to 20 employees, is sweeter because it acknowledges "valuable and important" work done behind the scenes.

Yesterday Ms Moore showed off the spoils of the award-winning "deaccession" program that had been a labour of love.

"You don't start this process thinking about the deaccessioning," she said.

"You start the process thinking about the stories you are going to uncover... and for every object you find nothing about, you find a whole wealth of information for other objects.

"For someone who is passionate about museums and history it's a very exciting process because you do get to know the collection very well and uncover little stories and gems."

New to Dubbo when she picked up the first collection piece, the painstaking process helped Ms Moore get a feel for the community.

Unwanted pieces of the collection, that includes everything from furniture to jewellery, were offered back to original donors, to other collection agencies and finally to the public at auction.

Its proceeds have been used to improve storage of the retained objects.

A "tighter" collection has freed up space, refocused research and education and reduced the cost of conserving and preserving it.

kim.bartley@ruralpress.com

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