The Importance of Being Earnest: An Inquiry into the Complex Role of a School-based Museum Curator

By Martin Charles Kerby and Margaret Mary Baguley.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

St Joseph’s Nudgee College, an Australian Catholic school for boys, has been operating since 1891 with a philosophy based on the Edmund Rice tradition. Recently there has been increased interest in the history of the college and the decision was made to establish a permanent museum and archives which could be actively used by the school community. Tensions became immediately evident in regards to what would be displayed and documented given that the older section of the school community nostalgically viewed the College’s Irish Catholic and outback traditions. The current demographic of the College, however, is representative of a much broader mix of nationalities and cultural backgrounds. The curriculum plan of the college seeks to educate students through a student-centered curriculum that aims to develop critically aware and culturally sensitive world citizens by addressing political, philosophical, environmental and gender issues. The curator has endeavored to remain true to the traditions of the college whilst also creating exhibitions, site tours and classroom resources which interrogate contemporary issues using the established values of the college to create a spirit of inquiry. The purpose of this paper is to document the beginning stage of the journey that has been undertaken by the curator, in conjunction with the college community, to create a collection which aims to be inclusive, educative and relevant in a 21st century framework, whilst also respecting and acknowledging the college’s history.

Keywords: Museum, Boys’ Education, Collection, Curator, Curriculum, Identity

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.29-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.143MB).

Dr. Martin Charles Kerby

Head, Information Services, Secondary Education, College Curator and Archivist, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Martin Kerby is the Head of Information Services and Museum Curator/Archivist of St Joseph’s Nudgee College Museum in Brisbane, Australia. He was also a foundation member of the Middle School program in 2001. He has written two books, Undying Echoes (2001) about the military history of St Joseph’s Nudgee College and Where Glory Awaits (2005) the military history of St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace, another boys’ school in Brisbane. Martin is currently working on a PhD examining the life of war correspondent Sir Philip Gibbs. In January 2008 he was awarded a place at the inaugural Australian Government Summer School in History held in Canberra.

Dr. Margaret Mary Baguley

Senior Lecturer, Senior Lecturer in Arts Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Margaret Baguley is currently a Senior Lecturer in Arts Education at the University of Southern Queensland. Her teaching and research interests are concerned with the role of visual art in the education of early childhood, primary and secondary students. She has an extensive teaching background across all facets of education, in addition to maintaining her arts practice. An interest in collaborative practice and exhibition underpins her teaching. Dr Baguley’s research supervision encompasses studies in visual arts education, children’s engagement with the arts, teacher development, museum studies and the value of the arts in the community. In 2008 Margaret received a national award to recognize her outstanding contribution to student learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC).


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