Over the past couple months I have assisted the registration department at the Australian National Maritime Museum as a student intern. The internship is a component of my master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Sydney.
At the museum I am involved in the lengthy process of meticulously documenting and photographing new objects in the collection. The group of objects I am working with are from three Dutch shipwrecks off the coast of Western Australia – Batavia, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck. The ships sailed from the Netherlands to trade goods in faraway lands before their voyages were cut short, off the western coast of the Australia in 1629.
In the 1970s the objects were excavated from the shipwreck sites. Over 1500 of these objects are now part of the museum’s collection. They include silver coins, cannons, cannon balls, bottles, pipes and elephant tusks. From these objects we can learn more about the trading patterns from the period.
The remaining objects to be registered consist of hundreds of coins. Each coin will need to be carefully described, measured, weighed, photographed and given a museum number before it is ready to be packed for storage.
My work at the museum follows on from a number of other internship students who have diligently been working to register the collection. A selection of objects from this collection can currently be seen in the recent acquisitions showcase in the gallery.