The core function of any museum is to collect objects which were in use in bygone days and show them to the current generation. We have now been doing that for 40 years and have over 14000 in our collection. The Redland area was settled by European immigrants from 1850 and for the next 100 years was a farming community mainly supplying primary produce to nearby Brisbane. It is also a coastal region with offshore islands, so marine activities were also common. It is not surprising then that much of our collection reflects this heritage.
The collection work is carried out entirely by volunteers. Most objects are donated by locals and an accession committee decides if an object meets the criteria for acceptance. It is then given an Accession Number and brief details entered in a register. It then goes to a volunteer who enters comprehensive details into a form. It is good if the donor provides some provenance but mostly this is not the case and some research is necessary. Sometimes repairs and cleaning are required. The object is photographed and the image file associated with the other details. All data then is entered into a database by another volunteer.
Another decision is where to put the object. We like to display as much as possible, but our area is limited. For the overflow there is a storage area and currently 50% of items are in storage. Many will eventually come out as displays are changed. There is also a de-accessioning procedure for objects no longer meeting the criteria.
We like to restore objects where warranted but are limited by time and expertise. We do have volunteers skilled in mechanics and woodworking and most of our restoration work is in these disciplines.
The bulk of the collection is in the main building at Cleveland, but there is an outpost located on Russell Island, one of a group of offshore islands. It holds approximately 700 objects and they have their own group of volunteers doing the collection work. They have their own web based database on which their objects are recorded..
As an adjunct to the collection, there is a small reference library containing some 1000 items. Most are donated and can be borrowed by members
We have selected a limited number of objects which we believe have wider interest, and they can be accessed from the link on the top right of this page. For anyone interested in further details of the collection and the collection policy, below is a link to a PDF file.