In 2016 while on holiday from their home in Belgium, Mr Jozef (Joe) Putcuyps and his wife Elena Mustafina visited the WA Museum’s Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle and the Museum of Geraldton. Joe and Elena, both retired from distinguished careers in the oil and gas sector, have strong interests in the history and the significance of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in early international trade.

Joe and Elena, appreciating the significance and impact of these early voyages to the history of WA and the State’s shared history with Europe, were impressed by the WA Museum’s collections, depth of information and displays of Batavia and VOC material, so much so, that they contacted the Foundation for the WA Museum to discuss how they could gift their significant personal collection accumulated over decades, to the WA Museum.

Joe worked with the Foundation over the next two years to identify the best way to gift their collection and provide further support the Museum’s leading research in maritime archaeology and history.

In February 2018 the Museum welcomed the receipt of two crates of VOC related objects from Joe and Elena’s personal collection including artworks, rare books, chinaware, ships models and artefacts. Significantly they also generously provided the Foundation an endowed cash gift to support this collection and the Museum’s leading work in Maritime Heritage. This endowed fund, known as the Putcuyps – Mustafina Maritime Heritage Fund, will continue to grow and support the Museum work in maritime archaeology, history and related activities in perpetuity.

The Foundation for the WA Museum and the WA Museum wish to acknowledge and thank Joe and Elena for their generosity and foresight. In providing these remarkable gifts they have enabled the Museum to build its significant collection of VOC material, continue its valuable research and communicate these fascinating stories of early exploration and trade to Museum visitors.