Flood relief effort wins award
The MDO program recently received a Gallery and Museum Achievement Award (gamaa), presented by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland, for their flood relief work. The award was given in the category of Organisations: staff of 4 or more. Please see below for the project summary and the judges citation.
In early 2013, floods devastated regions of Queensland, in particular around the Wide Bay/Burnett area. The MDOs converged to provide a professional, first-response disaster service to museum communities in Gayndah and Bundaberg. The MDOs worked with volunteers and staff at each location to ensure that any major decisions regarding the damaged collections were made jointly. Conscious not to use emergency resources or facilities needed for those who had endured significant loss, the MDOs brought mobile accommodation to deliver conservation and museum disaster procedures on-site, which allowed for limited but practical training to be undertaken. Being on-site also provided professional and emotional support through reassurance that community collections could be rebuilt, and that response efforts were supported. The MDO Blog played an important role in the dispersal of information and informed peers and the general public of the work being undertaken. The MDOs developed a professional relationship with these organisations based on mutual respect and understanding. They returned to Gayndah in October where they assisted in the conservation of the paper and photographic material that had been frozen immediately after the flood event. The MDOs were able to train the volunteers, thus allowing them to complete the process of first response action right through to reinstating the collection and its ongoing management.
Image: Helen Pithie, Deborah Bailey, Josh Tarrant, Lydia Egunnike, Ewen McPhee and Dr Joanna Wills with Hon Ian Walker, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. Photographer: Chelsea Sipthorp
In choosing the 2013 Queensland Museum MDO Flood Response as the Winner in this category, the judges acknowledged the Museum Development Officer Program’s outstanding leadership in harnessing their training and knowledge to provide front-line support to communities in recovery. Their demonstration of best practice, and the creation of a learning environment for all involved (including themselves), resulted in a streamlined approach to the care and safeguard of collections at risk. The judges also recognised not only the professional support provided to these organisations by the MDOs, but also the personal commitment – living in campervans and working side by side with affected volunteers and staff in the midst of mud, water, mould and debris.
For a full list of other gamaa winners please see the Museum and Gallery Services Queensland website here.