Many will be aware that the Collections Australia Network (CAN) currently hosted by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (formerly the Powerhouse Museum) will shortly go off line, permanently.
The CAN website provided a ‘first’ in online support and resources for museums across Australia. CAN had a can-do attitude making web-based training and networking facilities available through CAN-talk, CANnotices, CAN-jobs and the CAN outreach blog.
CAN’s predecessor, Australian Museums Online (AMOL) pioneered the territory by making collection items from large institutions like the National Museum of Australia, Picture Australia, the NSW State Records and Museum Victoria, available online. AMOL was superseded by CAN in 2005 and expanded the brief by publishing the first online exhibitions specifically tailored for the web environment. Its reach extended to community museums and their many untold histories.
In 2011 the Cultural Ministers Council withdrew its funding from the project and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has been kindly maintaining the site since.
Last year the site and its contents were officially archived with the National Archives of Australia and very soon the website will be no longer accessible.
Last week M&G visited CAN at the generous invitation of Michael Parry, Director Public Engagement at Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. M&G spent time with the web team taking copies of content relating to the collections, exhibitions and stories from NSW as well as copies of some of the sector resources including reCollections.
Our intention in doing this was two-fold. If time and resources allow, M&G intends to return some of the stories to an online environment. Much of the material has currency and represents solid research by small and volunteer museums into their heritage and past. Additionally, we felt it important to have an accessible copy of the conservation and collection management material in case the current versions of these documents aren’t held by other institutions. Some of these documents may be suitable as online resources on our website. We will keep you posted on this review process.
Much of the material has currency and represents solid research by small and volunteer museums into their heritage and past.
M&G urges organisations with material held on the CAN website to make copies by downloading the content in the next few weeks. It’s also important to retrieve and review any documents containing links to material on the CAN website. In the short term these links will be directed to a static page advising users that the site is no longer active, which means the end point of the link will be terminated making the linked information unavailable.
Thanks go to Michael Parry, Geoff Barker, Luke Dearnley and Dan Collins for their tireless support of the CAN project and their time in providing M&G smooth access to the site’s content.