Like other tourist spots in the region. Mount Isa's Underground Hospital and Museum has not been able to welcome visitors this year but doesn't mean volunteer coordinator Erica Shaw has not been kept busy.
Ms Shaw has been managing several projects while the museum is closed including updating the inventory of all its exhibits.
Well actually three inventories,with separate ones for the Beth Anderson Museum, the Tent House and the Underground Museum itself.
"Last year we worked with Museums and Galleries Queensland on a year long program which looked at how we operated within a framework of good museum practices," Ms Shaw said.
They came back with some areas we needed to improve in to make sure we are under good governance. One area we need to look at was a collection policy which tells us what we collect and alongside that was an inventory of everything we collect in the museum."
With hundreds of items to be catalogued, this was easier said than done.
"We were able to find an old inventory started back when they opened the museum in 2001 which we printed off an old computer," Ms Shaw said.
"All those items had a number allocated to them however we found that over time it scrambled but not one single item matches up with the item."
So the volunteers got to work mapping the museum, numbering each room and each section, such as cabinets and display cases within each room.
"Then we look at each area and what is in each cabinet trying to find it on the list," she said.
"We are about three quarters of the way there, it's very time consuming. Some things are obvious, they have labels or manufacturer's name on them so we've been able to find them."
Once the item is found the inventory is updated with the number on the list but given the old and specialist medical nature of the items some remain beyond the expertise of the volunteers.,
This is why they put a call out on their Facebook page.
"Are you a nurse, pharmacist, optometrist, radiologist, midwife, pathologist, surgeon, doctor? Are you a health care professional training, working or retired? We need help to identify some of the items on display in the Beth Anderson Museum for our inventory," they said.
And Ms Shaw has been delighted with the response.
"I have no medical expertise at all, so we've had people say they could volunteer for a few hours and that's great," she said.
"I've asked people who specialise in areas like ophthalmologists and dentists to look at the things they are familiar with."
There was some critical conservation work they needed to do on the Tent House which is having with a $33,200 grant from the Community Gambling Benefit Fund.
"That work is to preserve the fabric of the structure, things like some floorboards had to be replaced in the kitchen, carpentry work and also painting and the canvas needed to be replaced," Ms Shaw said.
"That will preserve it for years to come."
As well they are having some work done on the rock walls nearby to fence it in and stop it from potentially falling on parked cars helped with a donation of time from North West Blasting and a donation of the Working at Heights platform.
When complete it will look great for next year as they have written off this year's season due to the pandemic.
"A lot of our volunteers are in that older age bracket so they are most at risk so it makes it very difficult for us to open," Ms Shaw said.
The Museum is always on the lookout for new volunteers as there is always lots of jobs that need doing.
If interested send a message through their Facebook page.
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