Issue 1
Monday, 26 February 2018
Charles Darwin University
Curator of the Nursing Museum Janie Mason with some historic NT nursing uniforms
Curator of the Nursing Museum Janie Mason with some historic NT nursing uniforms

Nursing Museum receives funding shot in the arm

By Leanne Miles

A museum that is preserving the unique stories of Northern Territory nurses has received support that will improve cataloguing and conservation.

The Nursing Museum, based at Charles Darwin University, showcases nurses and nursing practice in Australia’s remote tropical north and arid centre, with a focus on when the North was Australia’s frontline in war.

Curator Janie Mason said it was important to preserve the stories of NT nurses and the contributions they made to the community.

“Nursing anecdotes are told and re-told, in ward tea rooms and at nurses' reunions, and then too often they are lost,” Ms Mason said. “The museum at CDU collects nursing stories and artefacts to ensure this important part of our history is preserved.”

She said the museum had received an NT Regional Museums Support Grant of almost $13,000 that would fund work to continue to improve collection management of catalogued artefacts.

From humble beginnings of two empty glass cabinets in 1986, Ms Mason said the museum now held an extensive collection of artefacts, historical photographs and archival material.

“The (museum) collections hold national significance in Australia’s cultural heritage and are vital in continuing to tell the local story of nursing and nurses,” she said.

“There is a huge variety of memorabilia in the collection, including Imperial and Australian honours, hospital badges and certificates, registration papers, uniforms, photographs and text books, which have been loaned and donated by Territory nurses (past and present), local residents, relatives of nurses, and from deceased estates.”

The grant would fund work on the museum’s collection policies to ensure they are up-to-date with current museum best practice and examination.

“This work on the Trove online catalogue system will not only bring greater consistency of data stored for each artefact, but also allow for examination of artefacts for relevance and fit to collection policies.”

The permanent exhibition is on display in the nursing wing (Building Blue 5) and the Chancellery building (Building Orange 12) on Casuarina campus.

The grant is an initiative of the Northern Territory Government Department of Tourism and Culture to recognise the work of regional museums across the Territory.