This will be by far the cheesiest title I will ever use for a blog post. I have been volunteering at the Queensland Police Museum for a year now so I thought I’d write a bit about my time there. I should premise this by saying as a child I was practically raised on CSI and Law and Order. My father is an avid member of the British Police Memorabilia Club. It seems only logical that my fascination with the police and all things police-related led me to this wonderful museum.
I say wonderful for a few different reasons. The main being that I am constantly reminded when I go to this museum of why I want to get into this industry. Everyone who works there is not only passionate but so welcoming and devoted. I see a group of people who are in a museum for all the right reasons and this has encouraged me more than they probably realise.
I also say wonderful because the work I have been doing over the past year has suited my organising personality all too well. Initially I helped publish a few of the historical police uniforms to the Australian Dress Register Website. The Powerhouse Museum runs this amazing project that basically publishes any piece of clothing before 1970 that may be able to tell a story. All you have to do is research it, measure it, describe it, photograph it and contextually analyze it. A whole lot of work goes into each item. It’s really amazing being able to take a jacket etc off its hanger and tell its story. A green dress, for example, can all of a sudden become a symbol of women’s acceptance into the police force once you know what you’re looking at. Not only that but I have seen some incredible uniforms! One of the first uniforms for policewomen in 1965 and a Commissioner’s uniform from the early 20th century have definitely been the highlights so far.
Since we have put a few up on the website to be considered and published I’ve been helping out organising some of the uniforms and labelling them. Once again my organising-obsessed personality means this is actually fun for me.
So in only year I’ve been able to pick up on so many things in a museum. Significance report writing, storage and conservation, managing collections – there is too much to list! I have been very lucky with this opportunity.
Check out the two uniforms we have published here using these links:
The photos are of me at the Queensland Police Museum and me at the NYPD Museum in New York – I had to visit when I was over there and check out their uniforms!
Cover photograph: an image from the Museum of Brisbane workshop on textile conservation that I completed during my volunteering.