March 2015: Lanyon Homestead

Lanyon is an historic homestead and grazing property located on the southern outskirts of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. It’s a fascinating place both for its history as an early homestead and as a case study for the management of historical homesteads as museums. As with many homesteads that have been occupied for long periods of time, each new head of the household at Lanyon made decisions about how they kept their house. Furnishing changed, the functions of rooms changed, rooms were added or taken away. When curating such a homestead, what story do you want to tell? Do you take everything back to one decade? Do you keep it as you have found it? The curators have gone to excruciating lengths to acquire objects and furniture that would likely have been in such a homestead during the 1860s. Where historical records and people’s memories of the place have allowed, they have tried to recreate some rooms exactly as they were during set times. I found the outcome of the two strategies very interesting.One of the things I really delighted in was the interpretation in the sheds out by the cafe – accounts from some of the people who laboured on the homestead. You can read more about the fascinating history of the homestead and its conservation management plan from the ACT’s Museums and Galleries website.