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Output 1.3 The National Collection

An outstanding national collection of historical material with provenance that is related to Australia’s military history and heritage.

1.3.1 Continued development and maintenance of a National Collection of items relating to Australia’s military history, including collecting from recent and current conflicts and operations including peacekeeping and some peacetime operations that add to the story of Australia’s military history and heritage

Target: Items appropriate for the National Collection are identified, acquired and conserved in accordance with AWM policy

Analysis: Major acquisitions/commissions in the reporting period included:

  • Two curatorial deployments undertaken to Middle East Region – OPERATIONS Paladin (UNTSO Israel) and Mazurka (MFO Sinai) and identified key items for collection, with 17 oral histories collected and 200 photographs accessioned into the National Collection
  • The Military Working Dog memorial sculpture, Circling into sleep by Steven Holland, was completed and dedicated on 24 February 2020
  • Acquired 11 art works (from Napier Waller Art Prize 2019, including the winning submission Natalie Duncan’s You are in danger and I am far away
  • Accepted donation of the 1885 NSW Sudan Contingent uniform of Private Arthur Barrett. The first military force ever raised and deployed overseas by an Australian colony, this is the only known complete surviving example of uniform worn by a member of the contingentReceived commissioned series of work Flight or Fight by Megan Cope, the Memorial’s first female Aboriginal official war artist
  • Received transfer of research papers of Brigadier Sir Neil Hamilton Fairley, Australian Army Medical Corps in both World Wars, covering medical research in tropical medicine and malaria control
  • Received transfer of official records of the Australian Army in East Timor of the INTERFET period
  • Accepted donation of the medals of First World War pilot Captain Alfred Youdale MC and two bars from his descendants; they had previously been on display in New Zealand
  • Bronco aircraft restoration project completed in December 2019
  • Commissioned Australian composer Max Lyandvert’s audio-visual work entitled Witness to highlight the Memorial’s Holocaust collection and to note the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen–Belsen concentration camp

Total new acquisitions for the National Collection: 16,804

Source: Australian War Memorial corporate reporting against business plan, and Collection Management System reporting

1.3.2 Implementation of a comprehensive collection management strategy including regular reviews of collection priorities and setting of long term conservation and digitisation standards and targets

Target: Collection Management Strategy implemented; reduction in frequency and severity of unplanned conservation activities and costs

Analysis: Collection Management Strategy implemented in accordance with the 2018-19 ANAO audit recommendations to include:

  • National Collection Preservation Plan implemented to prioritise collection preservation programs and plan resourcing in line with upcoming strategic priority project
  • National Collection Documentation Plan implemented to set documentation standards, review and ongoing management framework. This plan also prioritises strategic documentation projects to continually improve the standard of collection documentation
  • Treloar Logistics Project continued to implement storage plan for the National Collection to allow for growth and upcoming logistics movements associated with the Memorial Development Program

Source: Australian War Memorial corporate reporting against business plan

1.3.3 The Memorial maintains a cost recovery based outwards loans and digital access program to support other organisations in telling stories of Australian service and sacrifice through the use of elements of the National Collection

Target: National Collection material is used by museums, media and others to enrich and enhance exhibitions, articles and online material to tell stories of Australia at war

Analysis: The Memorial continued to share the Australian experience of war and to tell the stories of Australian’s service and sacrifice:

  • The Memorial’s outward loans program has delivered or maintained 425 loans to 53 institutions both within Australia and overseas during the reporting period
  • The Memorial’s official establishment loans program has installed or maintained 127 loans to 27 government and military offices both within Australia and overseas during the reporting period

Source: Australian War Memorial corporate reporting against business plan.