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About

The Sydney University Museums Collection Search contains data for the three Sydney University Museums collections: Macleay Museum, Nicholson Museum, and University Art. It also contains works by J W Power from the J W Power Collection which is managed by Museum of Contemporary Art.

This Collections Search is still a work in progress. New records, updated data and images are added every week. There may be mistakes or omissions, and in many cases museum staff will have more information that will be added to the Collection Search in the future.

Please contact us for further information if required.


Searching Tips

Use an asterisk (*) following a term to retrieve results including words beginning with, ending with, or containing the word entered. For example, searching for contain* will find contain, contains, container, containing etc. NOTE: This search may take longer than other searches.

Search for singular terms rather than plural terms. For example: bark painting rather than bark paintings

To search for a specific phrase put the search term in quotation marks. For example “Two Bridges Gundagai”



Basic search

The basic search is used to search broadly across the database and searches in multiple fields. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptive text, titles, maker’s and collector’s names, and museum reference numbers (see Museum numbers for an explanation of different formats). To search for words and terms within a specific field, for example a collector’s name, materials, or museum number, use the Advanced Search.

To begin your basic search, just type a term into the main search box and click ‘Search’.

You can limit your search to one of the Sydney University Museum collections by selecting Nicholson Museum, Macleay Museum or University Artfrom the drop down menu. Alternatively select Any to search across all Collections.

You are also able to limit your search to only those records with images, and/or only those records for objects that are currently on display by checking the relevant box.


Advanced search

The advanced search allows you to target your search to specific fields and will produce more focused results. The following fields relate to different types of information and will produce different results depending on your search terms:

Collection

The database contains data for the three Sydney University Museums collections: Macleay Museum, Nicholson Museum, and University Art. The database also contains works by J W Power from the J W Power Collection which is managed by Museum of Contemporary Art.

Select Any to search across all Collections or use the drop down menu to limit your search to one of the museum collections.

Sub-Collection

Each of the collections has sub-collections that reflect different disciplines or interest areas. In some instances there are Sub-Collections that relate to multiple Collections. For example there are numismatics in all three Collections, and textiles in Nicholson Museum and University Art Collections.
Use the drop down menu for options.

Collection area

Each object in the collections is grouped by associated geographical area, historical time period, or cultural grouping. In some instances there are Collection Areas that relate to multiple Collections. For example there are Australian Indigenous - Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander in Macleay Museum and University Art Collections.
Use the drop down menu for options.

Object category

Each object in the collections is classified by a high level category using a controlled language thesaurus.
Use the drop down menu for options.

Object sub-category

Each object in the collections is classified in a hierarchy related to its Object Category using a controlled language thesaurus.
Use the drop down menu for options.

Artist / Maker / Collector / Group

This box searches the name of artists, makers, manufacturers, collectors or cultural groups. You can enter full or partial names. For example if you search for Grace your results will be artworks by Grace Hartigan and Grace Cossington Smith. If you search for Grace Cossington Smith your results will be only works by Grace Cossington Smith.

Object Name / Title / Specimen

This box searches the name or title given to the objects by the cataloger, artist, maker, or scientific classification.

For the large majority of objects in the collections the name is given by the cataloger using standardised language. For example: Leaching basket; or Bronze mirror

Artwork names are either given by the artist/maker - for example Moss Vale Window, or Untitled - or if the work is unnamed then a brief description in square brackets has been assigned as a title by the cataloguer - for example [Painting of seated woman], or [Human and animal figures].

Photograph captions are written with single quotation marks. For example: ‘Two Bridges Gundagai’. NOTE: do not use single quotation marks when searching.

Natural History specimens are named using scientific naming conventions, for example: Pharomachrus mocinno de la Llave, 1832, and sometimes the common name, for example: Resplendent Quetzal.

Taxon (For Natural History)

This box searches the higher level taxonomic classification for Natural History specimens, such as family name.

Place

This box searches geographical locations where objects were made, collected, excavated, or have an association with. Terms used can be broad such as a country, or state. They may also be very specific such as a city, or suburb. All Australian place names will include the state or territory, abbreviated to NSW, NT, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, ACT, or TAS. Non-Australian locations will include the full name of the country, for exampleUnited States of America, or Fiji.

Please note that a geographical thesaurus is difficult to construct since it has to cover places over time, many which no longer exist, or which have changed their names or boundaries. Many archaic place names are also included.

Media and Material

These boxes search the materials from which an object is made.

Media contains broad terms and uses controlled language. Use the drop down menu for options.

Material contains more specific terms and is a free text field.

Acquisition credit line

The credit line records how an object was acquired by the Sydney University Museums, such as donated, purchased or transferred. It also records from whom the object was acquired and when.

Museum number

Each object in the collections has a unique number that is used to identify it. This number is called the registration number and is given to an object when it is first catalogued into a collection. The registration number follows a specific format (see Museum numbers for an explanation of different formats).

The museum number box also searches other numbers that may be associated with an object such as previous registration numbers if the object has been transferred between collections, or collector’s numbers that are written or marked on the object.

NOTE: publication numbers such as catalogue numbers are related to bibliographic information are not recorded in this field.


Museum Numbers

Sydney University Museum numbers are made up of three or four parts:
Part 1: Collection
Part 2: Sub-Collection, or Accession Year
Part 3: Running Number
Part 4: There is sometimes a fourth part (either number or letter) denoting an object part

Each number starts with a two letter prefix that relates to a specific collection. The second, third and fourth elements of the number are separated by a full stop. NOTE: There are no spaces in our museum numbers

PART 1

PART 2

Example

Collection

Code

Year

Format

Macleay - Ethnology

ET

until 1979

one letter code (see below)

ETC.340

1980-1999

two digit year

ET83.1

2000-present

four digit year

ET2004.1

Macleay - Entomology

EN

2012-present

four digit year

EN2012.403

Macleay - Historic Photography

HP

1972-1999

two digit year

HP87.3

2000-present

four digit year

HP2001.2

Macleay - Natural History

NH

present

letter code (see below)

NHB.123

Macleay - Scientific Instruments and Apparatus

SC

1972-present

four digit year

SC1977.158

Nicholson Museum

NM

1870

letter ‘R’ for Reeve catalogue reference

NMR.123

1898-1997

two digit year

NM62.2

1998-present

four digit year

NM2009.3

University Art

UA

1865-present

four digit year

UA1983.1

J W Power Collection

PW

1961-present

four digit year

PW1961.1

Sydney University History

XC

2007-present

four digit year

XC2008.2

Macleay – Ethnology Letter Codes

Macleay – Natural History Letter Codes

A

Apparel

A

Fossils

B

Bags

B

Birds

C

Ceremonial

C

Crustaceans

D

Domestic

E

Echinoderms

F

Stone and shell implements, fans, fire making equipment

G

General (mixed phyla)

H

Hunting

M

Mammals

I

Idols and carvings

MO

Mollusc

M

Musical instruments

P

Plant (also includes fungi)

N

Nautical

R

Reptiles (also includes amphibians)

P

Paintings

S

Sponges and corals, marine invertebrates

T

Torch

W

Worms