Registering Aboriginal Artefacts with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
REGISTERING ABORIGINAL OBJECTS WITH ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS VICTORIA (AAV)
In association with the video Registering Victorian Aboriginal Object Collections these notes give regional and community museums and the general public a simple step-by-step guide on how to register indigenous artefacts and precious objects with AAV.
Many community museums are custodians of significant Victoria Aboriginal objects and artefacts. It is important to ensure these objects are catalogued and registered in a uniform way to give increased access to collections both to Aboriginal people and to the broader community.
Ensuring that this essential information is available allows for greater understanding of the significance of these objects and the stories that surround them. It also provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to re-establish connection with these collections.
Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) look after cultural heritage in a particular area to assist in development of cultural heritage management plans. RAPs are a rich resource of local cultural information and advice.
In addition to enabling sharing of information, it is required by law to have these Aboriginal objects and artefacts registered with AAV under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.
This law has straight forward objectives:
• To recognise, protect and conserve Aboriginal cultural heritage objects in ways that are based on respect for Aboriginal knowledge and cultural practise.
• To recognise Aboriginal people as the primary knowledge holders of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
• To give traditional owners appropriate status in protecting heritage objects.
To best achieve these goals it’s important to:
• Form new collaborations and partnerships to increase opportunities for learning and growth.
• Manage collections & access the resources and skills to ensure collections are properly maintained.
• Identify and present the important stories surrounding these significant objects and collections. It’s important that Aboriginal people are the ones to tell these stories.
When a collection is registered it is added to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register (VAHR) which records information about Aboriginal cultural heritage places and Aboriginal collections in Victoria.
AAV maintains the VAHR, it also has an administrative role to uphold the legislation and to facilitate the traditional owners being involved in the registration process.
AAV will support community museums through the registration process. Other organisations that may be able to support you are MA(Vic) and the Koorie Heritage Trust.
THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS
The registration process can take time, but the investment can have terrific results for all involved, and for all Victorians for that matter.
1. Ring Aboriginal Affairs Victoria for advice about how to go about having the collection registered.
2. AAV will arrange for someone from the region to visit the museum and assess the nature and extent of the collection and the type of information needed to contribute to the registration record.
3. This may involve AAV staff coming to the museum to identify the artefacts, photograph them, and document their characteristics. Often the local Registered Aboriginal Parties are involved in the cataloguing process.
4. Once assessment is complete and necessary information has been collated, AAV staff will fill in the forms for the VAHR and submit them along with the collection catalogue.