Staff profile: Patricia Egan

Position title:
Archivist
Section:
Archives & Records
Phone:
+612 9320 6148
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As an archivist with post graduate qualifications in history along with records and archive management I enjoy working in the archives of one of Australian’s oldest institutions.

The archive holds unique administrative and scientific papers of the Australian Museum. These records relate to the work of natural history scientists since 1836. The archival collection provides an interesting insight into how museums have changed the way they engage with society via exhibition and educational programs.

Given the national significance of our collection we also hold the personal papers and photographic collections of significant scientists who have contributed to the scientific understanding of Australia and the Pacific region.

I enjoy the challenges of working with and preserving various formats as our records are held as manuscript and printed material, letters, minute books, financial ledgers, field diaries, research notes, administrative and exhibition files, photographs, maps, plans, drawings and illustrations, newscuttings, audio and audio-visual material, historical museum artefacts and digital media. It is rewarding to see our collections used by researchers to discover new information or being taken out of their boxes to be put on public display.

Among my favourite items in the Archive are the delicate glass models of marine creatures made in Germany by the Blaschkas in the late 1870’s. Due to the fragile nature of invertebrate sea animals 19th century staff were unable to display actual specimens but, acknowledging the importance of providing access to these, the Museum purchased these life-like models for exhibition. I can only imagine the wonder on people’s faces as they viewed these exquisite, intricate, brightly coloured, sea animals. By providing digital photographs of these on line they can be enjoyed by people around the world.