Edith Cuffe

Troweling up the past at The Abbey Museum

The Abbey Museum in Caboolture, Queensland holds one of Australia’s premier collections of international antiquities. The displays cover from the Palaeolithic to Victorian eras in Europe, and the Classic and Ancient Worlds including Egypt, the ancient Near East, Etruria and the Asian cultures of India, Burma, China and Japan. The Museum annually attracts thousands of students to view the displays and participate in one of its engaging programs. The Archaeological Dig program is one of the most popular. It offers students an opportunity to have a hands-on experience of working on an archaeological site.

The Museum is currently running two themed digs. The first is an Egyptian burial site and the second, the remains of a Romano British villa. These themes were chosen to best fit with the school curriculum and also to maximise visitation, as schools will use the program when studying archaeology and also ancient Egypt or Rome.

Students engage in a practical experience of archaeology from gridding the site to excavation, sieving and recording finds. They are encouraged to research their finds and are introduced to identification and dating processes. Finally each group present their finds, describing artefacts and explaining or hypothesising its relevance to the whole site.

Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture (QLD)
Link to Abbey Museum


Edith has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology for the past seventeen years. As CEO, she is responsible for the daily management and administration of the Museum, the instrumentation of policies and Strategic and Operation planning; coordination of staff and volunteers and development of public programs. Edith has initiated the development, implementation and presentation of several innovative curriculum-based educational programs, which provide hands-on experiences for both primary and secondary students. These include two archaeological dig programs for senior students and workshop-based Time Traveller programs for primary schools – I Dig the Middle Ages and I Dig Egypt. For the past fifteen years, Edith has been coordinator of the Abbey Medieval Festival – the Museum’s primary fundraiser. During that time the festival has grown to become a major event in Queensland attracting over 27 000 visitors and participants in 2011. This event has won the Moreton Bay and Islands Tourism Award in the ‘event’ category for the past two years and was also finalist in the Queensland Tourism Awards in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, Edith was awarded an Order of Australia Medal. The citation acknowledged her contribution to the museum and galleries sector of the Visual Arts, and wider Caboolture region.