One of the side projects the team launched recently was the Australian Dress Register.
The Australian Dress Register will document significant and well provenanced men’s, women’s and children’s dress in New South Wales dating up to 1945. It aims to assist museums and private collectors to recognise and research their dress collections and support better care and management. It will engender an improved understanding of dress in its wider historical context and help to ensure information about its origins is recorded while still available and within living memory.
This is a collaborative database project which will have a series of public facing views being made available mid 2009. During the interim period volunteers in the community and in regional museums are using the backend to catalogue and upload significant examples of Australian dress from their collections (private and publicly held).
When the database starts to fill up the contents will be made avalable on the Powerhouse site as well as providing XML feeds to Collections Australia Network, D’Hub and other federated collection services.
Like most community projects the technology is the easy part. The difficult part lies in getting the community to form around them and use them. Fortunately the Australian Dress Register will utilise the regional reach of both the Museum’s own Regional Services Unit and also Collections Australia Network.