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News > Visitors to The Mitre > The ODU hosts a high tea for some very high calibre visitors

The ODU hosts a high tea for some very high calibre visitors

St Cyprians, Rondebosch, Jan van Riebeeck, Springfield, Timour Hall and Rustenburg Alumni where all represented at the informative talk lead by Kathy Wheeler from the ODU Museum and Archives.
Kathy Wheeler presenting to the archivists from schools in Cape Town
Kathy Wheeler presenting to the archivists from schools in Cape Town

We were delighted to have visitors from so many other Alumni offices yesterday afternoon.  Our current Museum Curator and Archivist, Dr Kathy Wheeler gave a short presentation on how the Bishops Museum digitised its collection.  This was well received and each person had much to contribute to a very stimulating and congenial afternoon.

  • Sigi Howes, retired Head of the Education Museum at the Centre for Conservation Education in Wynberg, said:

it is surprising how many schools have their own museums, ranging from a single display cabinet to a custom-built museum building. Most schools, even those in disadvantaged areas, are proud of their heritage and tradition.

  • Helena Le Roux, Manager Alumni office at Jan van Riebeeck High School, who has many roles to fulfill in addition to taking care of their museum, was excited to get ideas from Kathy about how to digitise documents and will be visiting us again soon to find out more about that.
  • Jenny Kerby, Librarian at Timour Hall, is also responsible for taking care of all items that belong in the museum and she spoke about some of the challenges of safeguarding the histories of schools.
  • Jenny Leak, old music teacher but now archivist and Springfield Old Girl's Union, has many years of experience and was able to pass on her knowledge about working in school museums.
  • Andre Ross from Rondebosch Old Boys' Union shared stories about memorabelia that often isn't recognised as valuable and how many pieces get lost in large schools and about his amazing discovery of the admissions book of the very first boys at Rondebosch.  He brought with him a very special guest, Winston Kew who is the father-in-law of Mr Shaun Simpson, the current Headmaster of Rondebosch.  Winston himself is a historian with a wealth of experience.  It was wonderful to have him join us for the afternoon.  
  • Monika Ehrentraut from St Cyprians and Mary van Blerk from Rustenburg were our other two  guests. St Cyprians has a substantial museum and archival collection, as does Rustenburg, that they are attempting to sort through in order to have an inventory of everything.  No small task.

During the afternoon broader connections with other schools were also spoken about.  An interesting mention of the German School was made and the long history we have with Germany as a nation.

Kathy Wheeler has helped Herschel, a few years ago, to update and organise their archives.  She compiled an inventory for them to help them to digitise.

We, at Bishops are incredibly fortunate to have our well kept museum and the potential to continue to develop it.  This is largely due to Dr Paul Murray who has been the archives champion.  He was visionary when he decided to digitise the content of the archives and museum a while ago.  As Kathy said:

This was very insightful in the light of the losses sustained by UCT in the recent fires.

We are also eager to harness the expertise of Dr Kathy Wheeler during her time with us so that we can learn as much as possible about how best to continue to preserve everything in our museum.

She is one of the first museum curators to become involved in digitizing collections, Kathy has managed and compiled databases for a number of important collections in Cape Town. While at Bishops she will be compiling a database for the current collections and from there she will formulate a master plan to take the museum to new heights when Dr Murray returns after his time away in Cambridge.


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