Buderim Pioneer Cottage is a cultural heritage museum on the Sunshine Coast committed to best practice in digitisation and access, with an almost fully catalogued collection and an active digitisation program.
The Buderim and District Historical Society operates the community-owned museum at Buderim Pioneer Cottage. An active group of over 25 volunteers documents, archives and shares the history of Buderim and the cottage with visitors. The museum is open six days a week, for four hours per day and is well-visited.
The museum is part of the region’s Cultural Heritage Network supported by Sunshine Coast Council. A workshop provided by Council led to the decision to begin digitising the museum’s collection.
Community engagement and partnerships:
Sunshine Coast Council (SSC) is the caretaker of a number of heritage collections and buildings across the region. Council’s Cultural Heritage Team works with the museum and provide advice, support and training for its volunteers. In addition, the SSC ratepayer Cultural Heritage Levy generates over $1 million per annum, some of which contributes to services and programs that facilitate digital access to the region’s heritage and community collections.
When digitising collections, Buderim Pioneer Cottage volunteers also seek technical advice from the State Library of Queensland. The library’s Connected Collections approach has provided valuable support to community museums in this region, via Sunshine Coast Council.
In addition, Buderim Pioneer Cottage has a good connection with its local Museum Development Officer, employed by Queensland Museum for the Queensland Museum Network.
As a result of these professional partnerships, volunteers report not only feeling educated and empowered to take on digitisation projects, but also funded and supported by a network of museum professionals.
The museum has a collection of around 5000 items, mainly relating to the domestic environment, as well as archives and paper-based materials connected to the history of the area. A majority of the items have been acquired by donation, however, the museum recently began actively seeking particular items required for its collections and displays.
The Cottage has a small team dedicated to cataloguing the collection using an Access database created in-house. The collection is almost entirely catalogued. Access to digital collections is currently provided through the museum’s website, and will eventually be accessible through the Council’s Art and Heritage Collection Database. There may also be potential to link the collection to other national aggregated collection platforms in the future.
A portion of the museums’ photograph collection is scanned and saved as TIFF files. As a result of a workshop provided by Council, the volunteers are skilled and confident at digitising photographs. A collection documentation manual was produced for the museum using a previous cultural heritage grant obtained through Council.
- SCC has identified significance assessment training as the next stage of assisting community museum volunteers with collection digitisation work. Council is also seeking support from local museums to digitise significant objects held within regional collections.
- Subject to funding available under the Cultural Heritage Levy, there is potential for Council to consider creating a Collection Digitisation Officer Traineeship, providing a role dedicated to the digitisation of regional collections.
- Both Council and Buderim Pioneer Cottage could explore the potential to share their collections on national aggregated collection platforms, so that a broader audience can access collections from Sunshine Coast region.
Full case study:
This is a summary of the full case study. Download the PDF below to read more about Buderim Pioneer Cottage’s approach to making its collection digitally accessible.