Suzanne Bravery is a curator, museum manager, social historian and educator, who holds a Master of Arts (with Merit) degree in Fine Arts and a post graduate Diploma in Museum Studies (with Credit) from the University of Sydney and a Diploma in Education. She is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy on house museum interiors and heritage values. Suzanne is committed to sustainable collections.
Suzanne’s considerable experience is in the conservation management and interpretation of cultural heritage, particularly house museums. As Curator, Senior Curator and Curator/Manager with the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (HHT, now Sydney Living Museums) from 1986 to 2008, she was responsible for the conservation and interpretation of sites of significance including Elizabeth Bay House, Vaucluse House, Elizabeth Farm, Rouse Hill House and Farm and Meroogal. This included writing Operational Reviews, Reports and Manuals, such as the Housekeeping Manual for Museum Guides HHT 1993, drafting Conservation Management Plans for Vaucluse House and Elizabeth Farm, and extensive project management. Training staff and volunteers, engaging with diverse internal and external stakeholders, writing business plans with budgets, developing and delivering exhibitions and public programs, ensuring a high standard of daily property presentation, co-ordinating the conservation treatments of built and movable cultural heritage and encouraging conservation housekeeping across the organisation. She was responsible for the concept and co-ordination of, and was a contributing author to, the award winning Art of Keeping House Hardie-Grant 2004.
This experience has been strengthened as Manager of the Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne (2011-2013), the public face of an internationally significant archive and artefact collection in excess of 100,000 items. Suzanne was responsible for a small specialist team, collaboratively developing a Strategic Plan, strengthening key university and external stakeholder engagement and developing and delivering major annual temporary exhibitions with public programs including ‘Sidelights and cross-references: 75 years of the Grainger Museum’ and ‘Life Under a Shadow: John Harry Grainger: Architect and Civil Engineer’.
Three years as General Manager, Programs and Services, of the peak body Museums and Galleries NSW (2008-2011) brought responsibility for a small team serving regional NSW in program delivery. This role covered Museums Standards, professional development including organisation of key seminars and workshops, and small grant funding including Mentorships and Fellowships and touring exhibitions.
Developing and delivering public programs, volunteer management, and hands on collection work continued for Suzanne when she became Manager of Eryldene Historic house and garden in 2014. Collection management, volunteer management, historical research, exhibition development and interpretation as Senior Curator, Historical Services at North Sydney Council also enabled a re-engagement with local communities and with archives in 2015.
Suzanne presents at conferences and to councils, lectures at universities, mentors young professionals and interprets collections to diverse general and specialist audiences, including primary and high school students.
During Suzanne’s 30 years in the cultural heritage sector, she has volunteered with community organisations, and held leadership roles with professional associations most recently as member of the National Executive and Treasurer with Museums Australia and currently as Executive committee member of ICOMOS Australia.
Suzanne at Eryldene Historic House Arts Open weekend with Chinese performer, 2014.