Archives Outside

For people who love, use and manage archives

Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

So our boss woke up at 3am … and this is what happened (an exhibition revival)

So our boss, State Records Deputy Director Jenni Stapleton, woke up at 3am one morning with a vision. This vision said rail, it said exhibition, it said Western Sydney Records Centre, it said Web 2.0 and it said website.

Articulating the vision

Articulating the vision. Note the good-looking Aesthetics Committee

The streaming thoughts on this morning at 3am ran something along these lines:

  • We have a great public space out at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC) and have been looking for ways to use it to promote our collection.
  • So why not re-visit an exhibition that had previously hung at the State Records Gallery in the city office?
  • This Gallery space will no longer exist once the city reading room closes on June 30.
  • All this lovely past exhibition material is starting to make its way to the WSRC…how can we use it rather than store it?

Making the vision a reality

Step 1

Send an email out to all victims, sorry volunteers, congratulating them on their new membership to the “Aesthetics Committee” (carefully omitting the “Exhibition” word).

Committee Meeting (Meet the "Vounteers")

Committee Meeting (Meet the “Volunteers”)

Step 2
The committee meets to discuss this vision, some feeling a little trepidatious. They were not wrong to feel this way; there was a two week deadline for “vision realisation”.

Step 3

Scare the bejesus out of a member of the conservation team by turning up in the Conservation Lab with a humungous poster measuring two and a half metres long with a large dent punched almost all the way through from the back.

Humungous Poster

Humungous Feature Poster

Step 4

Conduct an expedition to discover and locate items from previous exhibitions (no small matter given the size of the complex at WSRC; it’s so big our retrieval staff clock up roughly 14km a day.

Store room

Store room of forgotten dreams

Step 5

Take supplies for long trek to store room…aha, we found display cases and a lounge, too!

Tally Ho!

Tally Ho! Lots of goodies unearthed

Step 6

The awesome team in digitisation work their magic and find some previously unused images for the exhibition. Blowing up postcard sized images to A3 sized posters proves challenging…

Awesome images

..but not impossible! Wonderful images

Step 7

The amazing team in conservation work their magic to fix holes and inadvertently become experts in double-sided tape application to mount posters onto thick card.

Awesome conservation team at work

Our conservation team at work

Step 8

More members of the Committee convince a lovely roofing guy (who happened to be here with a drill, a level, and a tape measure) to hang the pictures and posters.

Lovely Roofing Guy

Lovely Roofing Guy

Other Committee members tackle the double-sided tape posters.

Easy said….right?

Iphone Leveling

Smartphone levelling (yes, there’s an app for everything) …risky?

Iphone Level Success

Yes, but successful! Go smartphone

Roof repairs also tackled.

Step 9

Clean out display cases and start filling them with items. Print out labels for all items.

Hands at work

Hands at work…careful now


And look what one committee member had hiding at home! Now proudly on display

Step 10

Go all out crazy and get a transparency poster printed up to hang on one of the front windows.

Transparent Vision

Transparent Vision

Installation in progress

Installation in progress…bubbles prove to be persistent

Transparency Complete

Transparency Complete. Hasta la vista Bubbles

Step 11

Sit on lounge and rest

Vision Realised

Vision Realised. No, don’t sleep…not again…didn’t she say this was just Phase One?

Date of Vision: 27 April 2012

Installation Complete: 14 May 2012

This was a great collaborative effort across the whole organisation with “Aesthetics Committee” members coming from the Executive, Digitisition, Conservation, Information and Communication, Archives Control and Public Access. Special mention to our Facilities Manager, everyone’s go-to guy. Oh, and the lovely roofing guy!

And yes, it was fun.

Go team!

Downstairs before installation


Downstairs – BEFORE

Downstairs after installation


Downstairs – AFTER

Upstairs before installation


Upstairs – BEFORE

Upstairs after installation


Upstairs – AFTER

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Update July 2012: The Romance & Industry exhibition originally ran from August 2005 to February 2006 and was introduced in Vital Signs Issue 8 in the article Globalisation, Nostalgia & Cultural Heritage (PDF, 1.2mb). The Vital Signs magazine was published from March 2002 until September 2006 and had a significant impact on the cultural, archives and records management communities during the period.