Meet the registrar: Philippa Cox
Want to know what is in the State Collection?
Ask Philippa Cox.
The TMAG registrar is at the pointy end of knowing what is where when it comes to the 830,000 objects that make up the State Collection TMAG is charged with maintaining.
Philippa makes sure the collection is properly stored, any risks to the objects are identified, it is properly secured as well as the demanding business of overseeing loans to other institutions, and the transport of new acquisitions.
“It’s a busy job but a great job as well. Not just working with some amazing items but some interesting people such as our curators and conservators.”
At the moment Philippa is busily managing the team removing displays and their objects from galleries around the Museum, in preparation for the Redevelopment work to start in September.
The six month project involves half a dozen staff decanting all the objects from the Henry Hunter galleries, assessing their condition, checking their registration details, preparing them for transport and placing them into storage.
That’s Philippa’s bread and butter.
Registration, at its heart is a painstaking, time-consuming, team effort, that is all about risk management. It involves the management of items from the time they come into TMAG’s custody, including providing accurate records, safe and secure storage, and specialist handling skills.
While the preparations for the Redevelopment is a significant task for Philippa and others involved, it doesn’t compare to the biggest job she’s faced while working at TMAG.
“The biggest job, and the most interesting, was moving all our collection objects to the new Rosny facility. That was three years’ work dealing with over 700,000 items!”
It seems a fair question to ask what some of her favourite objects from the collection are.
“Probably a glass butter dish that has a frosted glass cow as the lid in the Decorative Arts collection. It’s incredibly kitsch. There’s also an amazing fossil in the Geology collection from the USA. It is a flat piece of sandstone that has hundreds of tiny fish fossilised into both surfaces. It’s just beautiful. ”
Philippa and the team will be decanting the Wong Gallery from 9 May as part of the Redevelopment preparations.