Ararat Gallery’s collection to be digitised under pilot project

Posted Monday 15 April, 12:44pm

Ararat Gallery’s highly valued art collection is about to become more accessible to the community through a significant new Victorian Government initiative.

Ararat Gallery, Textile Art Museum Australia (TAMA), has been selected to take part in an innovative pilot project which will see up to 1,200 items in its permanent collection digitally photographed. In turn, the images will be uploaded to the Victorian Collections website for easier access to researchers, teachers and the general public.

TAMA is the first Victorian regional gallery to undertake the project, which will continue through April into early May. The project is a partnership between Creative Victoria, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Public Galleries Association. After TAMA, the roadshow will move to galleries in Benalla and Morwell.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “Collections like TAMA’s don’t just have a significant economic value; historically and culturally they are priceless.”

“This regional roadshow and our broader digitisation strategy will ensure that Victoria’s cultural collections and their rich history are preserved for future generations and made accessible for anyone to explore and enjoy.”

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the Gallery was really excited to be taking part in the project as it meant the much-loved collection would be recorded digitally for the future.

Dr Harrison said it also meant the community could view selected parts of the collection that have not been seen in some time.

“During the project we will have specific times when the public can come in and view the collection being photographed,” he said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to see some rarely-viewed objects in our collection, including the Lady Grimwade costume collection and a collection of rare Japanese fabric and paper packaging.”

As part of the project, TAMA has had National Gallery of Victoria Head of Conservation Michael Varcoe-Cocks and Coordinating Conservator MaryJo Lelyveld visit to view the digitisation effort in action.

Dr Harrison said school groups had also been invited to watch the project unfold, and further talks about collection management and preservation are planned.

“The gallery team, including photographer Michelle Dunn, has worked diligently over the past two weeks carefully bringing out the collection items, setting up the correct lighting and then capturing each of them,” he said.

“It has been a procession line of beautiful objects and art works coming out of storage and the team has really enjoyed seeing each and every one of them. We hope visitors to the gallery will also enjoy watching the project as well when we announce the viewing sessions shortly.”