Collection
Policy

 

Charter of the Bradman Museum

The Museum shall collect, conserve, research and exhibit our cricketing heritage in order to raise the public appreciation of the game and the impact it has had on the development of this country. The objective shall be to promote cricket as a valuable cultural and sporting force within the community.

Policy Objective

It is the intention of this document to provide guidance in the acquisition, handling, display and interpretation of the collection for the benefit of staff, the board, members of the public and other stakeholders of the Bradman Museum.

Scope of Policy

The primary emphasis of the collection will be on Cricket as played at the highest level in and/or by Australians but it will also reflect the game played at all levels including at the community and social level. The Museum will undertake research into the collection and energetically disseminate the results through its exhibitions, publications, public programs and web-site for the benefit of the Australian community. A high standard of scholarship, integrity and management of the collection is paramount to this objective.

Background

It was Sir Donald Bradman’s expressed wish that the Museum would ‘honour and strengthen the game of cricket’ and that its role was to ‘encourage and inspire the young people of Australia to serve their nation with courage, honour and humility’. (Sir Donald Bradman 1996). The Museum has an abiding and ongoing obligation not only to fulfill this expectation but to continue to develop as a cricketing museum of international relevance. The collection, representing as it does the history of Australian Cricket in general and Sir Donald Bradman in particular, is the platform upon which the Museum’s many programs depart. The collection is therefore the cornerstone of the Museum.

Collection History

The Bradman Museum Trust* commenced acquiring cricketing memorabilia in 1987 and formal accessioning of the collection began in 1989 with 227 objects registered. Acquisition rates since that time have averaged 196 objects per year. The most intense acquisition year was 1996 (654 objects registered much of which comprised the Fred Bennett and Swan Richards Collections) while in 1990 and 1997 only 66 objects were registered.

Material acquired covers a broad range of cricket memorabilia, including equipment, clothing, trophies, documents, artworks, letters, literature, tapes and film (Acquisition Policy, Undated). All donated items within the collection have been accepted only after the donor has signed the Museum’s Donor Gift Agreement thereby formally giving the Museum legal title to the object. Purchased collection items are receipted.

As at July 2002 the Museum’s accessioned collection numbers 2,547 items (2,172 catalogued) but the entire assemblage is ‘believed to be in excess of 4,000 objects’ (National Library Community Heritage Grant Application 28/5/2001). It is important that retrospective cataloguing of the unaccessioned material occurs promptly to secure those objects and their associated data into the collection.

*Known as The Bradman Foundation from 1994.

Guiding Principles

The Museum will acquire objects by donation, purchase or bequest.

This policy is based on the commitment to collect cricketing material for both exhibition and research. Bradman Museum staff have an obligation to inform prospective donors of the importance of the research value of their donation so that expectations for the item’s immediate or even eventual display are not inaccurately heightened. Consequently, at acquisition, objects will be assessed for their exhibition and/or research potential. Strenuous efforts will be made at acquisition to secure all relevant associated information and for that information to be physically and electronically associated with the object for efficient retrieval.

The Museum will collect and interpret both physical objects and information. Cricket is closely associated with vast quantities of information, statistics and data and the Museum should expand its role in the meaningful dissemination of this information via its exhibits and publications.

The Bradman Museum’s Collection will be representative of the game of cricket as played in Australia and/or by Australians with emphasis on the game at the Test and First-Class level. Objects representing all eras of the game will be featured in the collection.

Given that the Bradman Museum is the sole institution in Australia dedicated to collecting cricketing memorabilia it will vigorously seek to acquire material across its subject area notwithstanding cricketing collections held in other museums and libraries. The Bradman Museum seeks to retain its status as the paramount Australian cricketing museum.

Selection Criteria

Objects will be considered for collection only when they adequately satisfy the following criteria* for historical significance;

Documentation; Objects must be supported by clear documentation that may, in part, define its significance or association. Verbal information provided by the donor is acceptable but ideally should be confirmed by written secondary sources.

Physical character; Every object must be complete to the point that an observer could visualise its former function. It is important that objects acquired are in good or excellent condition because otherwise the time, expense and effort required to conserve the object place too great a burden on the Bradman Museum. Only the most historically significant objects should be acquired if they are in fair to poor condition.

Provenance & Historic Associations; Objects will be accepted if they have a proven historical association with a known individual, event, period or place associated with the game of Cricket.

Educational value; The object must contain information or lend itself to interpretation which will lead to a greater understanding of cricket.

Rarity; The Bradman Museum is interested in acquiring rare and uncommon objects that relate to Cricket in Australia. The Museum’s long-term appeal lies in its ability to amass uncommon objects relating to the game or ‘common’ objects formerly belonging to well-recognised players.

Representability; The Museum is not generally interested in collecting pristine examples of commonly available generic cricketing material. However, certain objects reflecting major change or technological advancement may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Additionally if the object has strong associations and good documentation, such as a factory prototype, it may also be considered for acquisition.

Social Value; The Museum is interested in collecting cricketing objects that are valued by the community for their cultural, spiritual/religious, scientific or educational associations.

Technological/creative value; The Museum is interested in collecting objects that demonstrate a degree of technical or creative achievement relating to cricket.

Size/cost implications; The Museum will only acquire material that its infrastructure can support. For example exceptionally large items such as wicket rollers, scoreboards or drinks buggy’s will not be acquired because of their cost, maintenance and handling requirements.

Objects will not be collected just because they are old, strange, have doubtful or distant associations or promote nostalgic or sentimental responses.

Objects will be collected primarily by donation. Highly desirable objects may be purchased in exceptional circumstances. Objects may be bequeathed to the Museum by prior arrangement.

The Museum will take all reasonable steps to ascertain the bona fides of the donor prior to acquisition thereby confirming their right to offer the item(s) to the Museum. The Bradman Museum will only accession objects upon receipt of a Donor Agreement Form signed by the donor or donor’s agent and countersigned by an authorised Bradman Museum staff-member (Director, Curator, Curatorial Assistant). The Form will be legally binding and the donor will forgo all right and title to the Bradman Museum upon signing.

The Museum will at all times uphold the laws of Australia in its acquisition program by not acquiring illegal items such as objects containing hazardous materials.

The Bradman Museum will collect both historic and contemporary objects relating to the game of Cricket. The aim of collecting contemporary material will be to obtain items in good condition before they become damaged, lost or sold to overseas buyers.

The Museum may chose to accept early newspaper articles on cricket subject to the donor agreeing to the following provisos;

  • The article(s) will not be formally accessioned into the collection.
  • No donor agreement form will be signed.
  • At the time of donation the Museum staff-member will explain that given the notorious instability of newsprint the article(s) may be copied at some future date and the original destroyed at the Museum’s discretion.

However, Newspaper Billboard’s may be accessioned into the collection.

The Bradman Museum may from time to time accession some of its commercial products.

There will be no so-called ‘permanent loans’ of any type as these place the burdens of administration, moral responsibility, cost and lack of certainty on the Museum.

*All criteria will be considered when assessing an acquisition. However it is not necessary to find evidence of all criteria to justify and object’s eligibility. An object may be highly significant if only one or two criteria apply.

Collection Media

Consistent with the objective to collect both objects and information the Museum will also collect and interpret, archival material, film, sound recordings, photographs and information relevant to the Scope of Policy. Cricket is a game crowded with statistics and data and the Museum should become an agent for the meaningful dissemination of information through its exhibits and publications.

Collection Themes

Cricketing history; Objects will be acquired because they hold a direct association with a specific era in Australian Cricket from colonial times to the present day. The collection may be broadly divided into the following periods in Australian cricket; Colonial beginnings (1788 -1850), Inter-colonial cricket (1850 – 1862), The Early Test Era (1862 – 1880), The Ashes and the Golden Age (1880 – 1914), Post war recovery 1914 – 1928) The Bradman era (1928 – 1948), World Expansion (1948 – 1967), Test Cricket (1968 – 1977), World Series Cricket (1978 – 1980), Test and One-Day Cricket (1981 – 2000) and The Contemporary Game (2000 – ).

The Ethics of the Game; Objects will be targeted that reflect individuals and events illustrating how the game is played. In particular the way the game has often crystallised the best and worst of human nature will be explored. Examples of objects in this category might be the equipment, correspondence or media comment associated with controversial games (the ‘underarm’ ball, the tin bat etc.) or games where Australians have overcome personal or team adversity.

Elite athleticism; Objects associated with the highest achievements by individuals and teams at both the Test and First-Class level will be a collecting priority.

Women and cricket; The contribution of women to the game both directly as Test and First-Class players and indirectly as administrators, umpires and in support roles will be reflected in the collection. Object types will include sporting equipment, uniforms, correspondence, decorative material etc.

Cricket technology; Cricket has always relied on the latest technology to assist in the playing, umpiring and listening/watching of the game. From the ‘Synthetic’ Tests to ‘Stumpcam’ there are numerous technologies linked with cricket that should be reflected within the collection. Now as never before technology is being employed to improve player performance, assist with umpiring, and enhance match broadcasting.

Cricket as Popular Culture; Cricket is deeply entrenched on the national psyche with the game appealing to Australians of all ages, gender and background. The collection should reflect the warm regard with which it is held nationally through examples of popular culture from all eras such as cartoons, game banners, artwork and souvenirs. In particular the collection should reflect the impact the media has on how the game is/has been perceived by Australians.

Indigenous contribution; Australian Aboriginal people have participated in the game at the highest level and continue to play cricket in both mainstream and indigenous teams. Their contribution should be marked through the acquisition of equipment, badging/branding and other cricketing media.

The Museum Library

The Museum has a large and comprehensive library of cricket books which will continue to grow. These books are either purchased or have been donated. The Library has its own numbering and record-keeping system distinctly separate to the Museum collection including a ‘Rare Books’ section.

The Library actively acquires books by purchase and funds these purchases by sale of duplicate copies. Donors of books are informed of this practice at the time of donation and are asked to confirm their permission that their book(s) may be used for this purpose.

To avoid duplication and confusion between the two holdings the Museum will not accession any books into the main collection unless the book is of extremely high historical significance. Books of this category may include those that have been personalised by individual or collective Test Players through signatures or additional information. Individual book copies directly associated with major cricketing events may also be in this category.

Role of Permanent & Temporary Exhibitions

The Museum will permanently display part of its collection within the chronological ‘Story of Cricket’ and ‘Sir Donald Bradman’ sections. This will remain the core of the Museum’s interpretation/public interface and will serve to consistently remind visitors of the Museum’s two key subject areas. Elements of these exhibitions will be renewed to accommodate newly acquired objects and rest the more sensitive material. In addition new display techniques may be employed to re-interpret existing subject matter especially as new display technologies become available.

In support of these core attractions a range of temporary exhibitions focusing on specific subjects, individuals or events associated with cricket will be staged to regularly renew and re-invigorate the attractions at the Museum. These exhibitions may also assist the Museum acquire quality items for the collection as lenders see the benefit of exhibiting their material and the professionalism of the Museum. Possible subjects could include the fastest bowlers of all time, player conduct, politics and cricket, the games great controversies, sports health and training etc. The Museum will also selectively solicit/accept manageable travelling exhibitions on a case by case basis as part of this program.

In delivery of its exhibitions the Museum will seek to employ the best available and most cost efficient display techniques to promote its collections as positively as possible. In order to attract and retain younger audiences interactivity will be a major objective within display’s. This need not necessarily be expensive computer-based interactivity but could utilise simple mechanisms such as handling, discovery or observation.

Loans Policy

The Bradman Museum will regularly borrow material to support its temporary exhibitions or public events programs. Objects and lenders will be specifically targeted according to the exhibitions’ thematic content. A series of criteria will be met to ensure that the objects are handled carefully ensuring their safe return to the donors in an unchanged condition. The Donor(s) and the Museum will co-sign a loan form acknowledging;

Nominated timeframe; A finite period will be marked on the form confirming the physical time parameters of the loan. This period will not exceed 24 months.

Agreed condition of the object; Marked as Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor and Complete or Incomplete. Any marks, faults or anomalies will be duly noted. In addition the Museum will take a photograph of the object upon arrival.

Insurance value; The Donor and Museum will agree on an object value and the Museum will arrange insurance against, loss or damage for the duration of the loan.

Duty of Care statement; The Form will stipulate a clause outlining the Museum’s Duty of Care while it is held by the Museum.

Donor Permissions; The donor will nominate whether the Museum has permission to photograph and/or clean/conserve the object while it is in the Museum’s care. In addition the Donor and Museum will agree and determine and record how the object will be physically returned to the donor at the end of the loan period.

Form of display acknowledgement: The Donor and Museum will agree on the wording for acknowledging the Donor. This exact wording will appear on the object’s exhibition label.

Outgoing loans: The Museum will consider, upon request, items of its own collection for loan to other agencies. Each request will be individually considered and the borrowing institution will agree to meet all conditions stipulated by the Bradman Museum in its Outgoing Loan Form prior to the dispatch of the object(s).

Deaccessioning

The Museum may determine to deaccession items from its collection from time to time although this will be an infrequent activity.

Reasons for deacession may include:

  • Duplication; The acquisition of an identical object in better condition and/or with better documentation than an existing object.
  • Condition; The identification of any object whose physical condition is so poor that it is uninterpretable or threatens the condition of other objects.
  • Substantiated request from the donor or their successors; The Museum may determine to return an object to its donor following a substantiated written request but this will be wholly at the discretion of the Museum given the unconditional title held by the museum through the signing of the Memorandum of Gift Form. The Museum is under no moral or any other obligation to return any accessioned object.
  • Lack of significance; In the event of significance or selection criteria being modified by the Museum certain objects may become irrelevant to the collection.
  • Any object earmarked for deaccession will be approved by the Director/Board prior to formal disposal. There will be a 90-day pre-disposal period following the Director’s/Board’s approval.
Disposal

At disposal the Museum will endeavour to utilise the following options in their listed order from most to least preferred:

1. Return of object to the donor or their family. The donor or their representative will sign that they have received the object at the time of return.

2. Transfer the object to another cricket/sporting museum or collecting agency

3. Use within the Museum as an educative/handling item/prop

4. Destroy or recycle

Duty of Care

By accepting objects into the collection (upon receipt of a signed Donor Agreement Form) the Museum undertakes to care for the objects in perpetuity. As part of that care the Museum will;

Fully catalogue the item: This means registering the object, assigning and marking on it a permanent and dedicated number, accumulating all relevant information about the object, recording that information onto an electronic record keeping system and establishing a dedicated object file. Information recorded will include;

  • Its accession number
  • Date of accession
  • Confirmation of the existence of a signed Donor Gift Agreement
  • The correct and colloquial name (if any) for the object
  • Its location within the Museum
  • A detailed description of the object noting media, colour, inscriptions, assembly details, condition and dimensions
  • Where and when the object was made
  • Where and when the object was used
  • How the object was used
  • Donor details including name, address and telephone number
  • Form of acquisition (donation, purchase or bequest)
  • Direct or indirect references to the object (or its associated owner or event) in the historical record
  • A contextualising paragraph on the object’s primary associations such as the former owner/user, event or place
  • A statement of historical significance of up to two paragraphs based upon agreed selection criteria (previously listed in this policy)

Secure stable storage for the object’s long-term survival; The Museum will meet its obligation as a long-term preservation facility by providing conditions and infrastructure to ensure the extended security and safety of the objects from immediate (burglary, fire, flood) and extended (temp/RH fluctuations, high light levels, insect infestation) threats.

Safe and secure display conditions

Undertake ongoing research into the collection to add value to its asset

Disseminate information about the collection via the Museum’s public programs, publications and other initiatives

Anonymity of Donor; The Museum will protect the identity of the donor and their contact details unless directed otherwise by the donor

Research Protocol

The Museum will provide free supervised access to its Library by prior appointment for those researchers who can travel to Bowral. In addition it is intended that both the Library catalogues and Collection will be available on-line in time.

For those researchers who cannot visit the Museum in person the Museum will provide an information service. Given that the Museum is a not-for-profit privately funded organisation and due to the extended staff-time that is required to service some requests, the following (nominal) fee structure will be applicable.

Note that relatively small amounts of information can sometimes take a long time to extract. Hence the fee structure is based on time taken rather that information volume.

Up to 1 hour: Free

Up to 3 hours: $50.00

3 – 6 hours: $100.00

6 – 12 hours: $250.00

More than 12 hours: By negotiation

The Museum will provide an indicative number of hours for each enquiry and following agreement by the research inquirer will supply an invoice together with the information sought.

Most queries will be answered within 5 working days. More complex queries may take up to 4 weeks.

For large queries the cost of materials will be added to time taken to service the query.

The Museum will provide photographic or electronic copies of images upon receipt of a $100.00 reproduction fee and confirmation by the recipient to honour any copyright obligations associated with the use of the image(s). The Museum will inform the recipient of any copyright obligations prior to agreeing to reproduce any of its images.

Review

It is hoped that this policy will initially act as a discussion paper to be tested, and modified if necessary, before adoption.

The collection policy should be regularly reviewed every five years by staff of the Bradman Museum for ratification by the Board.

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