A $15,000 grant from the Gordon Darling Foundation was enough to enable the Geelong Art Gallery to put its entire collection online last month. Registrar Veronica Filmer and her team at the gallery had been working towards this goal since 2003 when they bought the collection management system KE EMu. But they did not have enough money to take the last step to make it happen. ‘Without the grant we wouldn’t have been able to do it now. It would have been years before we did it,’ Ms Filmer said.
Geelong Art Gallery registrar Veronica Filmer
KE EMu was installed and linked to the Intranet in 2004 but they could not afford to link it to the Internet at that stage. The Gordon Darling grant covered the website design ($3000), an additional KE EMu licence ($5000) and an upgrade to the server so that images could be accessed quickly online ($2000). The remaining $5000 covered photography equipment so that high quality images could be taken of the 5,300 items in the collection. Ms Filmer wanted the website to reflect the calibre of its collection — which includes works by Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Eugène von Guérard — so the majority of the items were rephotographed and transparencies rescanned.
The barter, Eugène von Guérard, 1854, courtesy of Geelong Art Gallery
Copyright clearance forms were sent out to 588 artists and estates, 455 were located and 70% responded to the Gallery’s request – all of them delighted to have their works reproduced on the website. While every work in the collection is online, those works that have not been given copyright clearance appear without an image.
Ms Filmer’s next step is to continue the copyright clearance process and put more images online. In the future, she hopes to utilise the narratives function in the KE EMu software, like the National Gallery of Australia and Museum Victoria have started to do. That way she can start to build education kits based on the Geelong Art Gallery collection.
The next round of Gordon Darling Foundation funding closes on May 31. To find out more, email or call Aileen on 03 98203168.