Find message sticks in collecting institutions

A foundational aim of the Australian Message Stick Project is to identify the locations of message sticks in collecting institutions across the world.

Most of this work is done by relying on publicly available information. In the best cases, a collecting institution will have a searchable public register of objects or will have substantial archive of digitised documents available online. More often, information about the collection is only available on site or by contacting responsible archivists or curators. In some cases, the online materials represent only a fraction of the collection.

We require volunteers to search public records of collecting institutions in order to look for message sticks. Even when no message sticks are found in an institution this is crucial information since it narrows the field when searching for missing objects.

The work entails querying public documents and databases and updating a shared spreadsheet. In some cases you may be required to contact institutions by email. Full instructions will be made available after you have contacted the project team to express interest.

Trace outlines and motifs of significant message sticks

Using image editing software such as Inkscape (free) or Adobe Illustrator you will be required to trace the outlines and surfaces of important message sticks from existing photographs. This is done using a standard process of adding transparent digital layers on top of the photographs and tracing what you see beneath them. Contact the project team for full instructions.