07 January 2010

Mystery box

In the ACT Heritage Library, we have a box labelled “assorted historical albums, documents and negatives”.


Every collecting archive has items and collections for which nothing much is known. Either information was not recorded when the collection was deposited, or the collection and its contextual information have separated. The items are just there.

It is a fascinating but time-consuming task to document these collections.

When the opportunity presents, we take an item from the box and invest time and resources in identifying it and deciding what to do with it. Over the past six years we have whittled down the contents of the box. Only five items remain.


  • one roll of wide white satin ribbon

  • one Cradle Roll certificate

  • one reel of 16mm moving image film

  • one box of medium format black and white photographic negatives

  • one manuscript diary 1885-1886

In 2010, the staff and voluneers of the ACT Heritage Library will put on our imaginary deerstalker hats and take up our magnifying glasses to investigate these items, documenting the items and the processes we use to identify and find appropriate homes for them. They will be a semi-regular feature on this blog.