Manager, History & Technology Collections
Source: Museum Victoria
Ruth Leveson is Manager of the History & Technology Collections, and works with a team of staff at three museum sites.
As a young librarian working for the State Library, Ruth was seconded to the Science Museum of Victoria Library. A lifelong fascination with museums developed from this, and she undertook a Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies. After a short stint working on a council local history project, Ruth became a researcher on the Story of Victoria exhibition in 1984. This led to work as the Registrar for the Science and Technology Division. In this role she worked at Scienceworks after 2001. Eventually, Ruth became the Manager of the History & Technology Collections.
Ruth worked on the very early versions of the Museum’s database, and she was involved in the development of the EMu database management system.
In 1994, Ruth undertook a four-month staff exchange with Jenny Wetton, then a Curator at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
Ruth is a member of the Australasian Registrars Committee, and served on its Council for many years. She is currently a member of the Collection Development Advisory Group for the Museum of Chinese-Australian History, and a member of the Roslyn Lawry Award Committee for Deakin University Museum Studies students.
She will celebrate 30 years at the Museum in 2014.
What do museum registrars (also known as collection managers) do? They work with curators, conservators and photographers to document the collections on the EMu database; they manage data quality & database design; they tag, barcode and number the collections so they can be identified; they manage the storage, handling, and movement of collections, and they manage risk issues such as security, legal title, health and safety, and disaster response. Preservation is a big issue, especially for the image and audiovisual collections. When objects are required for loans, exhibitions and public enquiries, they make them available. All of these areas require constant improvement and standardization of procedures.
Ruth leads a team of staff who work across several museum sites: at Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and our off-site Collection Facility. She has recruited and trained many collection managers during her time at the museum, and they have contributed significantly to the museum profession.
Ruth is part of a working group which is undertaking a risk assessment project for the Museum’s collections.
A particular focus of her work is the Numismatics Collection. The coins, medals, tokens and banknotes are historically and aesthetically fascinating, and pose particular challenges for collection managers.