Rosemary Wrench

Senior Collection Manager, Donald Thomson Collection

Rosemary Wrench
Rosemary Wrench with the Many Nations case of First Peoples.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

Rosemary Wrench works on the collection management, research, development and documentation of the Donald Thomson and Australian Indigenous collections in the Humanities department.


Rosemary has had a long association with Museum Victoria working as a researcher, collection manager and curator on various projects involving the Indigenous Collections. She was a member of the project team that developed Museum Victoria's EMu collections database, and wrote the first data entry manuals for the ethnographic collections. In 2008 in recognition of the significant cultural knowledge contained within the Thomson Ethnohistory collection, Rosemary initiated the inscription of this material onto the Australian UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Rosemary oversaw the rehousing and registration of the Thomson Ethnohistory collection during the relocation of this material to Melbourne Museum in 2000 and is currently assisting with the latest relocation of the museum's Indigenous collections.

Rosemary has been a researcher and Partner Investigator on two Australian Research Council Projects involving the Donald Thomson collection material from Arnhem Land and Cape York Peninsula. She has facilitated and participated in extensive collection based research for numerous academics, publishers, community groups, exhibition developers, educators, and film producers including for Rolf de Heer for his award-winning films Ten Canoes and 12 Canoes. Rosemary’s research interests are in the history of collections, the management of knowledge in the museum environment and in fostering new and sustainable connections between museums and community members.

Recent Major Projects

Rosemary was the Senior Curator of the Many Nations section of First Peoples at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum. She accessed over 16,000 objects at Melbourne Museum and 100,000 images from Australian and International collections and photographers during research for the exhibition. Rosemary pioneered the development and use of digital labels in Many Nations which include detailed narratives, audio and multiple photographs for each of the 500 objects from across Australia on display. She also co-created the scripts for a series of animations developed for young children visiting the exhibition as well as education guides and programs developed in line with the Victorian Schools curriculum requirements, suitable for all ages across Primary and Secondary Levels.

Current Activities

Rosemary is currently developing methodology for reconnecting the various elements of the Donald Thomson Collection. This work will enhance her earlier research into the history of access and use of this collection over the past 40 years. Rosemary continues to develop collaborative projects and enhance connections and documentation with various communities across Australia resulting from initial research and development for the First Peoples exhibition. Her work is interdisciplinary across the museum and involves staff from Education, Public Programs, Media Production, Bunjilaka Cultural Centre, Natural Sciences and Conservation.

She is a member of Museum Victoria's Community Engagement Reference Committee and the City of Whitehorse Visual Arts Committee.

Rosemary is participating as a collaborator on the University of Melbourne Health Sciences Gateway Interdisciplinary project: Venomous Encounter - virtual exhibition. 

Last updated 15 May 2014