Wednesday 31 December 2014

MMXIV: Highlights from 2014

During 2014 one of our most popular blog posts was 2013: The Year in Review. We've taken that statistic as a mandate for a similar post to recap some of our highlights from 2014.

Biographical Dictionary

It was the end of an era as we bid farewell to our much-loved Coorow-Waddy, Carnamah-Winchester and Three Springs databases. It wasn't bad news though, as they joined forces to become a new and improved Biographical DictionaryThe new online dictionary is much easier to search and navigate, includes photographs and streamlines contributions from members of the public.

Museums and Galleries National Award

Our Virtual Museum: to be known and distinguished as Carnamah was the Level 1 winner of the Permanent Exhibition category at the 2014 Museums and Galleries National Awards. The judge's summarised us as "A small society with an innovative solution to extending their audience and sharing a larger proportion of their collection with the community. The website is very creative with excellent production values and interpretative images and narratives."

Memories of the Midland Railway

The privately owned Midland Railway was purchased by the Government of Western Australia in 1964. To mark 50 years since the takeover, we accepted an invitation to collaborate with Rail Heritage WA to gather memories and stories of what was affectionately known as the family railway. Many of the stories have been featured in the book Memories of the Midland Railway Co. of Western Australia by Philippa Rogers. Copies of the book can be purchased at our museum or alternatively some of the stories can be read at the end of our virtual exhibition on the Midland Railway.

During the year we completed, in partnership with Ignite Your Audience, an education resource on the Midland Railway. It links to years five and six of the Australian History Curriculum and is freely available for teachers via our Education Resources page. We also published Jeff Austin's histories on the railway's Stations & Sidings.

Virtual Volunteering

We did it! Hundreds of online volunteers, and especially a dedicated few, have successfully text-corrected and transcribed all of our local electoral rolls for the Commonwealth subdivisions of Irwin and Moore from 1903 to 1969. We are presently amalgamating the transcriptions into a single index to be published online.

During 2014 our Virtual Volunteering website has also hosted the virtual transcription of WA Biographical Index cards for the State Library of Western Australia. Thousands of helpers have transcribed over 30,000 cards... but there's still plenty more to go!

Carnamah Museum

As with every year, we have been kept busy running our museum and caring for the state heritage-listed Macpherson Homestead. If you're ever in Carnamah or passing through, we invite you to come and say hello. Our museum is open Friday afternoons or at any other time by prior arrangement.

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