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Postcard from Kenneth Blyth to his family in Tasmania.

Significant work for Tasmania’s movable cultural heritage

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A number of small museums and collections have recently completed projects with Arts Tasmania’s Roving Curators with two collections undertaking significance assessments.

Significance assessments are a planning tool for small museums to help them articulate the meanings and values of a cultural heritage item or collection. They can also assist those caring for the collection with making decisions about the management of the collection into the future.

The Devonport RSL sub branch operates the Jack Mason Memorial Museum. Their aim is to ensure the preservation of the memory, records, and artefacts of the district members that have served and suffered in the service of the nation. Part of their collection includes a number of postcards sent by Kenneth Blyth to his family in Tasmania, while he was serving in Europe during the First World War.

The Jack Mason Memorial Museum is open by appointment.Captain Samuel Horton's Washstand, Photographer: Margaret Young

The Tasmanian Wool Centre (TWC) was established in Ross to tell the story of the fine wool industry and to promote the history and heritage of the Ross district.  A Roving Curator worked with TWC staff to undertake the significance assessment.

They noted
“Having the support and guidance of Arts Tasmania’s Roving Curator has enabled the TWC staff to keep on track and see the project through…the outstanding success has been the result of the research undertaken of each significant object. While this was a labour-intensive process, the depth of knowledge obtained has greatly enhanced the interest of that object, its place in the collection and its interpretive potential.”

One of the objects examined was Captain Samuel Horton’s Washstand. Captain Horton was an important figure in the history or Ross. He established the property Somercotes, and was key in the founding of Horton College, a boarding school for boys. Captain Samuel Horton of Somercotes used this piece of furniture during his service in the Merchant Navy.

The Washstand is Georgian in vintage, dating to about 1780. The timber appears to be an Asian hardwood such as padauk, with secondary timbers such as pine used in the internal sections.

The Small Museums and Collections program provides support to assist the curatorial and collection management practices of smaller public and community collections and museums.

See the Cultural Heritage Program page for more information.

Image credits:

(top) Postcard from Kenneth Blyth to his family in Tasmania. The postcard reads: Claremont, Tas 1915. Dear Hilda, This is a card of ‘the heads’ in charge here.  I wish you would go to Spicers & get me 6 of cough lozenges & post to me as soon as you can as I’ve got a bit of cold. Yours Ken. Photographer Glenn Morse.

(bottom) Captain Samuel Horton's Washstand, Photographer: Margaret Young