A grey icon of a person

Mira (Mary) Morris (nee Lakic)

Senior Collection Manager and Curator, Ethnohistory Collection

About me

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The Ethnohistory Collection is a significant collection which comprises photographs, manuscripts, and film and sound material spanning 150 years and represents Indigenous people from all over Australia and internationally. I am responsible for the management and development of the collection. Key areas of my work include registration and cataloguing, developing and implementing preservation strategies, digitisation of collection material, acquisition and enhancement of the collections with further documentation and research.

Commencing in 1989, I have worked as both a curator and collection manager in the Indigenous Collections Department at Museum Victoria for more than 28 years and I have developed particular interests in the areas of visual anthropology, photography, and collection histories. Following on from my appointment in 1992 to this role, I have introduced and applied fundamental collection management principles to the collection and have, to date, delivered the registration, cataloguing and rehousing of over 32,000 items and undertaken numerous research and documentation and community engagement projects to enhance these records further. Information and database management is also an area that I have particularly focussed on recently.

Collating further documentation relating to the early acquisition records for Indigenous collections is a current joint project with Robert McWilliams.  I have also developed a keen interest in researching the early collections and photographs, attributing provenance and identifications of people through comparative studies and to develop narratives and biographies of key collectors, photographers, ethnographers and Aboriginal people depicted in the photographic collections.

I have facilitated the repatriation of copies of images to individuals, families and communities for personal use, photo documentation projects, cultural protocol development, family history research and community history projects and supported and assisted with hundreds of access and research enquiries relating to the Ethnohistory collections for a range of research and publication outcomes.

Between 2009 and 2013, I was a Partner Investigator on an Australian Research Council funded project entitled ‘Reconstructing the Spencer and Gillen Collection: Museums, Indigenous Perspectives and the Production of Cultural Knowledge’. Currently I am a Partner Investigator on the ARC Linkage Project titled; Howitt and Fison’s Anthropology: Using New Methods to Reveal Hidden Riches.

Current activities

  • Ongoing co-ordination, direction and supervision of the legacy registration project of Ethnohistory collection.
  • Research and publication regarding the relationship between Baldwin Spencer and John Lindt
  • Research and publication on Aldo Massola
  • RE Johns collection. Research and possible collaborative project with other institutions

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts; Honours (Archaeology)

Links

Projects and events

ARC Linkage Project; Howitt and Fison’s Anthropology: Using New Methods to Reveal Hidden Riches.

Publications

1989 Guide to Victorian aboriginal collections in the Museum of Victoria / compiled by Gaye Sculthorpe with the assistance of Michelle La Combe and Mira Lakic

1992 Domestic Technology in Women's work: Aboriginal women's artefacts in the Museum of Victoria /​Aboriginal Studies Department, Museum of Victoria.

1992 Dress and Ornamentation in Women's work: Aboriginal women's artefacts in the Museum of Victoria /​Aboriginal Studies Department, Museum of Victoria.

1994 Through their eyes : an historical record of Aboriginal people of Victoria as documented by the officials of the Port Phillip protectorate, 1839-1841 / compiled and edited by Mira Lakic and Rosemary Wrench

2005 The Distant View The photographs of Baldwin Spencer /​edited by Philip Batty, Lindy Allen and John Morton.

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