Intern Willy Kwong talks about why the Australian Museum needs and values the work of the Archives and Records section.

From general observation, it is easy to question why a museum needs an Archives and Records department. Wouldn’t a big storage facility be just as good in doing the same thing?

Actually not quite. Archives are assets to any organization, community, state or nation. It is incredibly helpful to the Museum especially when managed well. Archives are much needed when you are involved in keeping records. They will help future generation understand what kind of actions are taken in the past that lead to choices that are made today. It also houses the collective memories of the Museum.

When someone needs to read up on something it is extremely helpful when a department is close by managing this information. Not only that, Archives and Records are also responsible for keeping them in good enough condition so they don’t fall apart. For example, the glass plate negatives I am handling date back to the 1910s. If they aren’t re-housed on occasion, they become damaged sooner or later and can be lost for all eternity. So it is important that an Archives and Records department is there to manage them

The oldest known photograph of the Australian Museum, about 1855
The oldest known photograph of the Australian Museum, about 1855 Image: Unknown
© Expired, Courtesy of Mitchell Library