The Murray Bridge Regional Gallery (MBRG) is a small gallery in South Australia. The collection is being prepared for the web but has yet to become fully digitally accessible.Background:
MBRG is an initiative of the Rural City of Murray Bridge. The gallery features three exhibition spaces and produces regular new exhibitions from its permanent collection of over 40 works of art. It also features contemporary local artists, including digital art installations; sells works of art in its shop and runs artists’ workshops.
The gallery is staffed by a full-time director, a retail manager and two casual staff. The gallery also has six volunteers who assist with the shop and installing exhibitions, and student interns for specific projects. Community engagement and partnerships:
The gallery attracts between 12,000 and 14,000 visitors each year. It is active on Facebook and Instagram.
MBRG receives support from Regional Galleries South Australia and also networks through Artshub. It has a good working relationship with the Hahndorf Academy. Collection:
MBRG has a growing collection of artworks by significant South Australian artists, including Franz Kempf, Trevor Nicholls, Pamela Kouwenhoven, Rita Hall and India Flint, along with works by Dennis Nona and Josie Kunoth Apetyarr.
The works are mostly two-dimensional paintings, as well as sculpture, textiles and multimedia. Works in the collection are donated and new acquisitions are limited. Software:
The collection was fully documented on the MOSAIC collection management system at first, but the gallery has moved to eHive because it is free and linked to a larger system connected internationally.
MBRG views eHive as reliable, easy to use and intuitive. Importantly, the gallery knows it would be easy to make the collection accessible on the internet, when they are ready to do so.
Operational and collection management identification photographs are taken at 300 dpi and used at 75-100 dpi for the website.Challenges:
- Lack of time and a dependence on volunteer labour for projects outside of core operations.
- The need for a skilled volunteer or intern to undertake the project.
- Council requires a risk assessment, which will take some time.
- Potential copyright restrictions, including donation agreements by artists and deterring inappropriate use of images.
- Having to remove artworks from frames and mounts to professionally photograph them in high resolution, and the potential need for an art conservator to avoid damage and remounting the collection.
- The logistics of the working space to take the photographs and arrange lighting.
- The need for high quality images to reflect the integrity and brand of the gallery, and to demonstrate its respect for the artists’ works.
- The potential complexity of linking multi-media artwork images to the artists’ websites through eHive.
- A means to generate greater interest in the collection and drive visitor numbers online and to the gallery.
- Encouraging artists to exhibit and donate works of art to develop the collection and programming.
Full case study:
This is a summary of the full case study. Download the PDF below to read more about Murray Bridge Regional Gallery’s approach to making its collection digitally accessible.