Curator, Domestic and Community Life, Images and Image Making
Source: Museum Victoria
Fiona Kinsey collects, researches and interprets material culture relating to life in the home, the manufacture and consumption of domestic appliances, and photographers and the photographic industry.
Fiona Kinsey has been a collector of ephemera ever since she was a child and is fascinated by a weird and wonderful variety of historical subjects. She could not imagine a more appropriate place to work than Museum Victoria’s History and Technology Department, where she has been a curator since 1998.
Fiona has worked on a wide variety of collections at Museum Victoria, ranging from photography and leisure to information technology and domestic life. She has contributed to exhibitions on a diverse range of topics including the Melbourne Story (currently on display at Melbourne Museum), horology (clocks and watches), CSIRAC (Australia’s first computer), tools of trade, Kodak Australasia, and Museum Victoria’s Treasures.
Fiona has an Honours degree in History from La Trobe University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies from Deakin University, and a Masters degree with first class honours in Australian Studies from the University of Melbourne.
Images and Image Making Collections
Fiona is researching and managing collections relating to commercial and amateur photographers, and the broader photographic industry in Melbourne in the 19th and 20th century.
Kodak Australasia Heritage Collection
Fiona is working with the History and Technology Department collection managers and a team of ex-staff from Kodak Australasia on a long-term project to identify and document the newly-acquired Kodak Australasia Heritage Collection. This extensive collection, comprising thousands of photographs and artefacts from the company’s operation in Melbourne, was acquired by Fiona in 2005 from the now defunct Kodak factory in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne. The collection is being registered and photographed, and oral history interviews undertaken with former staff, with the aim of providing online access.
In collaboration with museum collection management staff, Fiona is researching, registering and re-housing collections relating to commercial photographers. These collections include the studio equipment collection of Melbourne commercial photographer Norman Wodetzki, and the Jim Payens Aerial Photography image and camera collection.
Melbourne’s Biggest Family Album Collection
The vernacular photographer and their work can tell us a great deal about our history, and is of immense interest to Fiona. In 2006, Fiona and a small team of curators, collection managers and photographers embarked on a community collecting project. The result was the “Melbourne’s Biggest Family Album” collection of over 1000 images, dating from the 1880s to the 1980s. Reproductions of selected photographs are on display in the Melbourne Story exhibition at Melbourne Museum, and the full collection can be viewed on the museum’s website.
Photography and Women’s Cycling
In 2009 Fiona completed a thesis on Australian women’s cycling in 1890s, using historic photographs and newspapers to explore the diversity of women’s cycling and examine representations of femininity. She has presented many conference and seminar papers on the topic, including at the 2009 Australasian Cycle History Conference in Melbourne and the 2009 ‘Visual in Sport History’ conference in Bristol, UK.
Domestic Life Collections
In 2004 Fiona and her colleague Matthew Churchward, curator of Engineering and Transport, acquired the Hecla Collection. A significant Melbourne manufacturing company, Hecla Electrics Pty Ltd became a household name in the 1920s making small electric appliances such as heaters and kettles. The collection consists of photographs, trade literature, small appliances, and design and patent documentation. This collection is being registered and, along with the broader domestic appliance collection, is the focus of a study into domestic technology manufacturing and consumption in Melbourne by a Monash University PhD student.