Our Museum's collections, library materials, and research archives are now combined under one database and accessible from anywhere!

After over a year of work, the Museum has finally completed consolidating over 11,500 of its main museum collections, research archives, and library materials under one comprehensive collections management system (CMS) and has made almost 2,000 records available online —a significant milestone for the museum! 

What does this mean for the Museum? 

Our new CMS, CatalogIt, is cloud-based and accessible via smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. This makes it significantly easier for the Curatorial team to update collections data while working directly on the materials, wherever they may be located, inside or outside the museum. Snapping photos while checking on the conditions of objects and recording notes that are directly uploaded to the CMS will enable the staff to look after the collections better. Other features of the CMS, such as a printable QR code that may be attached outside individual storage boxes, will make finding and accessing collection materials a breeze! 

This cloud feature also means that staff can continue to access the CMS while working from home minimising disruptions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.    

What does this mean for visitors, students, researchers, and other people interested in our collections? 

Anyone with a web browser and internet connection can now explore collections records online for FREE! 

One of the key features of the new CMS is that it allows the museum to easily share collection records online. For the first time since the museum was established in 1986, information about 1890 objects, photos, books, documents, and archival materials are now available for browsing through the Museum’s online catalog.  

Making information and photos of our collections publicly accessible will be an ongoing and long-term project to allow more people access and opportunity to research, contribute information, and engage with the precious materials entrusted into our care. 

The Museum has also received a small grant from the National Library of Australia to conduct staff training on maximising the use of the new CMS. The grant also allows us to open up the first session of the training to fellow museum practitioners, researchers, or the general public who may be interested in learning more about CatalogIt and how they may be able to use it themselves. This free session will be held via Zoom on Thursday, 02 December, 10 am (Melbourne time/ADST). If you are interested to join, please send a message to [email protected]. 

We would like to thank our focus group participants (Dr Sophie Couchman, John Griffiths, and Irene Poon), Leigh McKinnon of Golden Dragon Museum, Clare O’Hanlon of La Trobe University, and Brienne Wong of the Chinese Historical Society of America, for all their insights during our search for a more suitable and affordable CMS.   

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