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What is the Colly-gator up to?

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: At The Museum, Date: 19 May 2011

Colin Johnson, an exhibition project officer (aka "the Colly-gator") is one of the team working on the restoration and conservation of our oldest showcase. What is he up to?

Emptying the crocodile case

 © Australian Museum

This is what the Colly-gator emailed to the Team last Thursday:

Hi guys, I have removed all the sand from the base and I have cleaned up the entire base now. The idea is we will paint the 2 stands on the big Croc a matt black, this is what Ray (our heritage consultant) suggested, as the colour was originally black. Now as for the base itself, Ray suggested an antique white paint. I’ll leave that up to the team what you think we should do. We could keep it as is, and still it shows all the details of where the very labels went, and even a shadow of a small croc which must have been in the case for a very very long time, under the big croc. Or I can paint it Antique white and that will bring out all the details more of the specimens when they go back in. I’ll have to have a decision on this before Sheldon [our Conservator] begins work on the big croc, as I could make dust with patching a seam. I won't paint it until Sheldon is then finished doing the big croc. The last thing will be the painting of the base, and then return of specimens.

What to choose? A real dilemma - keep the integrity of the case or enable the specimens to shine in a more modern form? I chose the former as I felt that the conservation work is as much about the showcase itself as an object as it is about the specimens inside.

I'll let you know what we decide.