Phillip Maisel, Order of Australia Medal recipient, and Head of the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s Video Testimonies Department, has received a prestigious Victorian Museum Award from Museums Australia (Victoria), the industry body for Victoria’s museums.
The 2016 Victorian Museum Awards were presented on 14 July at State Library Victoria by Museums Australia (Victoria) – www.mavic.asn.au – the peak body for 1,000+ museums and collecting organisations. The night was hosted by performer, writer, producer, and director, Diana Nguyen and featured a special address by Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries.
Phillip received the Museums Australia (Victoria) Individual Excellence Award (volunteer) for his outstanding contribution over twenty-seven years. Since 1989 Holocaust survivor, Phillip Maisel has been volunteering four days a week overseeing the Video Testimonies Project at the Accredited Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). The Testimonies Project has collected 1300 interviews capturing important stories from remaining Holocaust survivors to preserve their voices and provide a resource for researchers. Phillip has inspired the next generation of museum professionals to engage with this important aspect of museum work by sharing his experience of the project with Museum Studies and oral history students from several universities, and a range of overseas’ archives and academics who have made contact with him for their research work, including the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum in China. Their Museum had very few oral histories from Jews who passed through Shanghai during the war. Phillip provided material from the JHC collection and gathered and digitised additional testimonies from Melbournian Jews who had taken refuge in Shanghai during the war. Over his 27 years at the helm of the Testimonies Project Phillip has trained over 50 volunteers, and at 92, he continues to work with a team of five interviewers to collect more testimonies. Many museum professionals from local and international community organisations have spent time with Phillip to learn how to build an oral history collection.