|Part of my presentation|
|Christine Cargill's presentation|
These discussions raised issues about increased non-scientist access and security; the increased value of physical collections in a digital world (and also the importance of an online presence); the role of volunteers; the idea of establishing an Australian Natural History Museum; who the stakeholders of these collections are; and how and who we can lobby effectively for an increased awareness about the importance of these collections.
There were tours of three CSIRO collections: The Australian National Insect Collection; the Australian National Wildlife Collection and the Australian National Herbarium. I chose to go to the Herbarium again as I haven't been for a few years. The ANWC was fully booked as there were limited places and lots of delegates who worked in the fields of taxidermy and conservation of animals and birds. ANIC was also a very popular tour but I had been there not too long ago.
Brendan Lepschi, the Curator of the ANH, spent an hour taking us through the various aspects of the collection, which was greatly appreciated by the students and interstate visitors who had never been behind the scenes before.
|Brendan Lepschi in the ANH showing how specimens are kept|
|Herbarium sheets showing how small orchids are mounted|
|Small plants can also be preserved in jars although they tend to |
|Specimen of Eucalyptus collected by Joseph Banks on|
Captain Cook's first Voyage
As with most conferences, the highlight is always meeting like-minded people, finding common ground and talkking about collaborative projects that could be realised in the future.
A very big thank you to Alison Wain for not only organising the conference but ensuring everything ran smoothly over the two days so that maximum time was spent sharing information and strategies for ensuring natural history collections are seen as vibrant resources of information, not dusty old exhibits locked away in dark cabinets of curiosity.