Report Brief

Report brief
The DCF project proposal states that ‘research is needed to establish the significance
of the collections in the context of other material in this country and abroad'.
- Digitally photograph the collection and write accessible captions for each object.
- Produce a summary of the collection and collectors.
- Produce a summary of previous work on the collection.
- Assess the collection's importance in relation to other museums.
- Research the collection's geographical, historical and cultural background.
- Obtain books and information relating to the collection for future use at RAMM.
- Prepare a bibliography for future use at RAMM.
- Make suggestions for future work with the collection.
- Examine and digitally photograph the objects in the collection.
- Collate related material from RAMM's database and archives.
- Identify and contact other museums with related collections.
- Identify libraries, archives and specialists with relevant information.
- Visit libraries and archives and contact specialists as appropriate.
- Literature and Internet research.
Prior to this project, the Amazon collection had been packed and organised. There
was a basic record sheet and database entry for each object (just over 420 accessions),
which had been compiled from the accession register.
About a third of the objects already had exhibition captions, and during the project,
captions were written for the remainder. With approximately 35 slides and over 100
digital images, about 150 objects (a third of the collection) had already been
photographed, and during this project most of the remainder were imaged. 43 objects
were on permanent display in the World Cultures gallery with text panel and label
information, while others had recently been on temporary display in the recent Into
the Amazon exhibition.
The objects for which further identification and detailed information were available
were those currently on permanent display and those which had been used for Into the
Amazon project. Research, including field research in Brazil, had been undertaken by
Morwena Stevens and Monica Lima de Carvalho for Into the Amazon - before this,
the collection was virtually undocumented.
Other than material relating to Into the Amazon, there was little archival material and
no historical photographs relating to the collections. RAMM had about 25 books with
information about Amazon art and culture, from very general illustrated books to
reference works and detailed ethnographies.
A researcher, whose name is not known, had undertaken basic biographical research
on collectors who contributed to the natural history department, many of whom are
also represented in the ethnography collections. All of this material has been used to
inform the current project.