Museum Policies

Introduction and Mission

The Australian Golf Heritage Society (AGHS) Museum collection policy is a public document that guides the management and the development of the collection. It outlines why, what, where, how and when the museum collects, and how and why items may be deaccessioned, transferred and disposed of. This policy covers the three collection areas of the AGHS: the museum, the research archives and the library.

The AGHS’s objective is:

  • Encourage the collection, recording and preservation of information that is connected to the history of golf in Australia,
  • Verify the authenticity of physical items associated with the history of golf in Australia and provide a means of storing, restoring and displaying these physical items,
  • Inform golfers, golf clubs and the wider community of this information and display these physical items in a manner which tells their story, and
  • Promote hickory events as a celebration of the origins of the game.

To this end, the Museum will collect, conserve, research and exhibit objects and information of golfing heritage to raise the community’s awareness of the development of the game and its place in society.

The collection is a source of knowledge, ideas, stories and memories. It is developed and managed as a community resource to inspire, educate and inform the community and visitors, and to contribute to the conservation of the history and heritage of golf in Australia.

The AGHS Collection Policy will be reviewed every three years in association with the development of the Strategic Plan.

History of the AGHS and the Museum

The AGHS began as the private collection of golf professional Tom Moore, who began collecting old golf clubs in 1973 after a trip to the United Kingdom made him realise the importance of preserving Australia’s golfing heritage. Mr Moore’s collection was formalised when he donated it to the Golf Collector’s Society, which he helped form in 1995. The Golf Collector’s Society changed its name to the Australian Golf Heritage Society in 2008 to give a more representative description of the Society’s interests and scope: the museum, the Historians’ Group, the Society newsletter The Brassie, and playing events.
In 2000, the collection was moved to its present location on the first floor of Golf Mart Granville. The AGHS Museum is predominantly run by volunteers, and is open to the public Sunday from 10am to 4pm and by appointment.

Purpose and Significance of the Collection

The purpose of the AGHS’s collection is to build a historical resource related to the history and heritage of Australian golf to educate and inform golfers and the wider community. There are few comparable collections devoted solely to golfing history in Australia.

The collection documents social history as well as sporting and technical history and includes golf clubs, club carriers, golf balls, tees, photographs and prints, tournament badges, membership medallions, green-keeping equipment, trophies, clothing, club records, ephemera, and a library containing Australian and international golfing books, magazines and annuals.

Golfing equipment and technology is a strength of the collection. Particularly strong is the collection of clubs, carriers, balls and tees, some of which were used by historically significant golfers and some which are representative examples of styles and technologies over time from the craftsmanship of traditional makers to the science of the research and development department of modern golf equipment manufacturers.

Within the collection are items of national significance. These are:

  • Frank Eyre Ball trophy
  • Betty Dalgleish golf club collection and bag
  • 1930s film footage of Sir Donald Bradman receiving golf training
  • 1960 PGA Mutual Share Certificate

Rare items include:

  • Golf ball testing machine
  • Pro-swing practice club
  • ‘Sunshine Rebuild’ golf ball
  • ‘Empire’ club carrier
  • Nylon headed putter
  • Carnegie Clark steel golf head manufacturing reference collection
  • 1978 Golf Tek Swing Analyser
  • 1970s Australian Ladies Golf Union uniform

Key Themes

The AGHS Museum will collect historic and contemporary objects relating to golf that demonstrate a clear link to at least one of the following core collection areas:

1. The story of Australian Golf: This theme focuses on the development of golf in Australia, in both a national and - to a lesser degree - international context. This includes golf’s origins in Scotland and the great players, courses and club-makers of the 19th century.

Collection Policy

The AGHS aims to build a unique historical record about the history and heritage of golf in Australia through the collection of objects, archive materials and related projects. The museum will identify priority themes as a focus for research, strategic collecting and documentation on an annual basis. The specific policies determining the items to be collected are as follows:

  1. Objects and collections may be acquired as donations, bequests, purchases, transfer or commissions.
  2. The museum will only acquire objects that can be properly stored, documented and managed.
  3. The museum provides community access to the collection through exhibitions, access to collection information, response to public enquiries and other means.
  4. The museum only acquires items that have significance to and will help interpret the key collection themes of the AGHS. Items of lesser significance but with educational or interpretative value in ‘telling stories’ of relevance may also be acquired as props. They will be catalogued separately and can be used in hands-on situations. Nevertheless, the capacity of the museum to properly store, document and manage items must also be addressed in deciding if items should be accepted into the collection.
  5. No objects or collections will be acquired or accepted with conditions or restrictions on the way they might be used or displayed in the future.
  6. The museum will ensure that the donor or vendor of a proposed acquisition has declared clear legal title to the item. Where possible the museum will record the owner’s memories of the object.
  7. The museum will adhere to the Copyright Act 1968 (amended 1 January 2005) and the Australian Copyright Act guidelines in all collecting activity including new objects for the collection. Where possible, the museum will obtain copyright and reproduction rights for new objects at the time of acquisition. No item will be acquired or accepted where copyright cannot be obtained.
  8. The Collection Policy is a public document that is readily available in the museum for inspection by visitors and volunteers.

Acquisition and Assessment Policy

The AGHS Museum is a small museum with limited resources. Donated items come with obligations and unseen costs, particularly the requirements to manage, conserve, store and, as appropriate, display all items taken into the collection. Effective collections are built on sound policy and being selective and firm about what comes into the collection.

  1. The museum will keep accurate, up to date and detailed records of all items in the collection in MOSAIC v.10. This information will be regularly backed-up and stored in a safe location.
  2. Significance is the basis for considering new acquisitions, and relevance to the museum’s mission, purpose and collection themes. Four primary assessment criteria apply when assessing significance:
    • Historic
    • Aesthetic or artistic
    • Scientific or research potential
    • Social or spiritual.

    All criteria are considered when making an assessment but not all will be relevant to an   item or collection. It is not necessary to find evidence of all criteria to justify that an item is significant.
        Four comparative criteria evaluate the degree of significance:

    • Provenance
    • Rarity or representativeness
    • Condition or completeness
    • Interpretive potential.
  3. The museum will establish object files with a Statement of Significance for the most significant items in the collection and all new acquisitions.
  4. Potential items for acquisition will be assessed against the key themes and content of the museum’s collection. The assessment must determine whether the proposed acquisition would contribute to or strengthen the story and interpretation of a particular subject or group of items.
  5. Duplicate items will not be accepted into the collection unless the proposed acquisition is more significant than already held items, for example, better provenance or condition or the item is considered suitable for the Education Collection.

Acquisition Procedures

Items may be acquired for the museum by donation, bequest or purchase.

  1. Objects offered for donation may be accepted on Society premises for consideration and assessment for acquisition upon completion of a Receipt and Deed of Gift form.
  2. A receipt will be issued when an object is received as a possible donation. The receipt will have two copies: one to be issued to the donor and the other to stay with the object until the object is acquired (after which it is to be kept in the object file). The original receipt will be kept in the receipt book.
  3. The object will be tagged with the receipt number for identification purposes.
  4. Full provenance is to be determined as much as possible upon receipt. Where possible the donor should be requested to write down the history, associations, context and significance of the object being donated on the Object Information Form. Alternatively the person receiving the object should make notes on its history. This information should be kept with the receipt to allow a proper assessment of the object’s significance.
  5. All objects accepted for donation or bequest to the Society should satisfy the following conditions:
    • The donor confirms that all title and interest in the gift including copyright (if applicable) is transferred to the Society;
    • The donor guarantees true ownership of the gift and that no other person has or claims to have any right to ownership or possession;
    • The donor acknowledges that the gift may be placed on public exhibition or not and may be used for educational and other purposes or disposed of when no longer required at the sole discretion of the Society.
  6. The Collection Manager and/or Museum Management Sub-Committee will assess the significance of the object and consider the proposed acquisition against the collection policies, themes and acquisition criteria. It is also the responsibility of the Sub-Committee to assess if the museum can properly care for and manage the item.

Deaccessioning Policy

Deaccessioning is the process of deregistering an object from the collection for clearly stated reasons, and disposing of it in accordance with approved policies and procedures. Caution and transparency are essential in the deaccessioning process. A responsible approach must be taken, especially when objects have been donated by local people, as any ill-considered decision may tarnish the Society’s reputation and put at risk future donations to the Society.

  1. Objects identified for possible deaccessioning from the collection will be assessed against the museum’s mission, the collection policy and themes, and the Significance assessment criteria. The assessment will be undertaken by the Collection Manager and Museum Sub-Committee.
  2. The criteria for deaccessioning include:
    • Little or no significance as determined by the assessment process and significance criteria, including poor condition and provenance;
    • Lack of relevance to the museum’s mission, purpose and key historical themes;
    • Duplication in the collection; and
    • Inability to safely store and manage the object.
  3. In identifying priority items for de-accessioning, the museum will give priority to larger items that take up storage and display space, objects in poor condition, items that are hazardous or that create particular problems for management or visitors.
  4. The Museum Sub-Committee and/or the Collection Manager will prepare a short statement indicating why the object is being de-accessioned and a photograph taken.
  5. Items proposed by the Museum Sub-Committee for deaccessioning will be formally approved by the AGHS Board. Where there are reservations or disagreement about the significance and relevance of items proposed for deaccessioning, the museum may hold items until agreement is reached. Items proposed for deaccessioning will be available for inspection, together with a statement detailing the reasons for deaccessioning.
  6. The methods of deaccessioning include:
    • Transfer to an Education Collection;
    • Return of the item to the donor;
    • Transfer to another museum;
    • Sale;
    • Disposal, recycling or destruction.
  7. Objects of lower significance may be transferred to an education collection for active hands-on use.
  8. The donor of the object, if known, will be informed and offered the item, with an explanation of why it is to be deaccessioned.
  9. Alternatively, deaccessioned items may be transferred to another institution. The Museum will ensure the item is appropriate to the organisation’s mission and collection policy.
  10. Deaccessioned items may be sold through public auction or other methods of sale. All funds raised through the sale of deaccessioned items will be used for collection development or new acquisitions, or reserved for collection conservation. Raising money for the Museum through the sale of deaccessioned items is not a valid reason for deaccessioning.
  11. In other cases, where the item is incomplete, in poor condition, and of no value, it may be destroyed, recycled or disposed of.
  12. The reasons for deaccessioning must be noted in the acquisitions register and catalogue. This record must not be deleted. All correspondence, including the above completed information, must be recorded in the collection database system and in a register of deaccessioned objects with a note about the method of disposal.
  13. No AGHS members, volunteers, staff, or committee members, or their relatives, may benefit or in any way acquire objects valued at over $200 that have been deaccessioned unless approved by the Board.


  1. No objects will be accepted on indefinite or long term loan. Loans in or out may only be arranged for fixed periods and for specific purposes.
  2. Before accepting or making a loan, it shall be photographed and a detailed description of the object’s condition recorded. In particular, details must include:
    • Description of Object;
    • Condition of Object;
    • Purpose of Loan;
    • Collection and Return of Object;
    • Conditions in which object will be displayed or stored; and
    • Insurance.
  3. A written and signed Loan Agreement between the Museum and the lender or borrower is to be prepared detailing the condition of the object and a fixed time span for the loan. The signed loan agreement and detailed description of the object’s condition are to be kept on the Museum's Loan Agreement file for the duration of the loan.
  4. It is the responsibility of the Collection Manager to ensure that any items lent from the museum’s collection are displayed in appropriate environmental conditions and in places with adequate security and supervision.

Exhibition and Education Policy

The mission of the AGHS is to enhance understanding and appreciation of golf’s history, particularly in Australia. To support this, the Museum will make the collection accessible through well-researched and interpreted exhibitions and events.

  1. The AGHS will endeavour to establish links with representative golf organisations such as Golf NSW and the PGA of Australia, other golf history organisations and golf clubs.
  2. An education collection will be developed comprising objects of lower significance which may be used for demonstrations, hands-on access and education activities. Such objects will be clearly identified in a separate register.
  3. There will be an active research and publication program to inform the golf community of the Society’s activities. This includes:
    • The Historians’ Group to provide advice and assistance to members setting out to collect, research and write about the history of their golf club. It may also conduct seminars of interest to golf historians;
    • The Brassie newsletter published three times a year and distributed to members and others interested in golf history;
    • Displays of objects and traditional club making skills at golf events;
    • A website to promote the Society, its collection and the history of golf and to make the collection accessible via the web; and
    • Explore social media possibilities to increase awareness of the Society, the museum and its activities.

Collection Management

The collection and its management will be the responsibility of the Collection Manager, who will develop a designated collection management team of volunteers to undertake specified tasks.

  1. Volunteers working on the collection will be provided with training which may include participation in workshops and conferences. Priority training areas will be identified.
  2. A clean, secure working space for collection documentation, research and significance assessment will be established for use by members of the collection management team.
  3. Significance assessments of objects in the collection will be undertaken, particularly for those identified as of importance, and for all new items. Items of low significance or duplicated may be deaccessioned.
  4. The condition of the collection on display and in storage will be regularly monitored. Any concerns identified regarding the condition of specific items or groups of objects is to be reported to the Collection Manager.
  5. A stocktake or audit of the collection will be undertaken every five years. Designated sections of the collection may be audited on a more regular basis.
  6. Storage facilities will be upgraded to ensure the proper protection of all objects.
  7. Objects made from organic materials, for example textiles, costumes, leather, bone and original paper items, will be not be kept on permanent display as they deteriorate over time.
  8. Original historic photographs will be digitally copied and stored, with the copies printed as required for exhibition. The original photos kept in secure storage and only shown for limited periods of time. Historic photographs in their original frames and mounts are to be considered as objects and kept intact. If displayed, they should be rotated so individual photos are on display for strictly limited periods.
  9. Before conservation or restoration work to any item in the collection, a statement of significance will be prepared for the item with an outline of the proposed treatment. Specialist conservation advice will be obtained before starting work. Any restoration or conservation work on the item will be photograph and documented, with the results placed in the object file, including details of all materials used, processes and people involved in the work.
  10. The Collection Manager will develop an annual work program for collection and the Board shall ensure there is an annual budget line for collection management expenses and training.
  11. The Museum’s annual report will include a section on the collection management work of the preceding year.

Future Collection Development Priorities

Regular reviews of the significance of the collection are likely to identify additional priority areas for active collecting. These priorities will be incorporated into the Collection Policy during future reviews and subject to available funds and resources.


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