Combined Australian Museum/Library

Museum - Mastiff statueMuseum - Mastiff statue

There are many Government Grants available for preserving Collections and Reference Resources. A permanent combined Australian Museum/Library could well attract a sizable grant to build a marvelous permanent promotion for our entire dog world.

Museum - Statue - PugMuseum - Statue - Pug

The VCA Library recently received a Victorian State Government Grant of $13,900. Under the State Government Local History Grants Programme, this amount was granted to digitally archive, and make available to the general public, our KCC (Kennel Control Council) Gazettes from 1932 to 1970, as well as the KCC 'Annuals' produced from 1933 - 1938. Now everybody can read these publications on line on the 'Trove' website.

'Trove' is a free Australian online resource run by the National Library of Australia, in Canberra. 'Trove' contains historic newspapers, books, images, maps, music, archives and so much more. Although other countries have similar resources, our 'Trove' is unique. We in Australia do not have to pay fees to access any material on their website. For pedigree researchers accessing our old KCC Gazettes, this presents a wonderful opportunity to look back on Litter Registrations, photographs and other published material about our beloved dogs' ancestors. This way, it can even go close to serving as the 'Stud Book' Australia has never had!

Part of MuseumPart of Museum

Last year, Heather Simpson, Chairperson of the VCA Library Committee, applied for this Grant on behalf of the Library. The success of her application demonstrates the significance of the material housed within the Library. The VCA Library had previously attracted another grant from the Frankston City Council, the local Government for KCC Park. This grant paid for uniform magnetic label strips for all our Library shelves. Congratulations, Heather, on these two initiatives!

The Library and Museum were initially set up some 25 years ago as separate entities. Nobody could have predicted how groups of amazingly passionate volunteers could have overseen the growth of these two collections. Today, as separate entities, they are becoming National Resources.

Terrier Chess SetTerrier Chess Set

The Museum was initially set up as an independent Trust for the safe keeping of canine memorabilia and artefacts. In contrast, the Library was set up as a subcommittee of the then VCA. At that time, it was believed that because much of the collection was donated by VCA members, that the library should also be owned by VCA members. Over the years, the library subcommittee has gradually lost control of its collection.  This resulted in the Library being effectively dismantled for the past six months.

It is always easy to be wise in hindsight. Maybe the way the Museum was set up is a safer way to go to safeguard the future of our Library collection!

With the instigators of both the Library and the Canine Museum aging - some even octogenarians, it is now up to the next generation of dog people to look to the future of these two irreplaceable collections. Perhaps we could move forward with the idea of these two collections uniting as a "National Resource". This should attract substantial Government funding. If we consider this option, a legal agreement needs to be drawn up setting out exactly what is entailed with a Library/Museum amalgamation.

Beer MugBeer Mug

With this concept in mind, the Museum has already prepared plans for a combined new building. As our 'home', KCC Park, consists of some 82 acres, we certainly have enough land on which to build such a development! Imagine how popular an Australian Museum/Library would be as a National Resource! It would also probably generate enough income to pay for permanent staff instead of relying on volunteers!

A combined library/museum would require ANKC backing. Passing a motion supporting this concept would be a start. It would then need co-operation from all the other States and Territories. No matter what is needed, these valuable collections must be correctly preserved and secured. In addition, both these collections should be displayed to the general public as well as present and future dog lovers to use, admire and enjoy.

So how about it, Australia?

References and Further Reading

2019 - Jane Harvey, 'Combined Australian Canine Museum/Library', in Dog News Australia (Top Dog Media Pty Ltd Austral NSW) Issue 3 May 2019, Page 8