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.

October 2014: An afternoon in Yass

Cobblestone Cottage, Yass. Source: Wikipedia, Mattingbh

One fine afternoon after a long drive from Balranald with nothing but myself, the God awful Amarok and an even more God awful (but fun) Matthew Reilly audiobook for company, I found myself wandering the streets of Yass like some kind of reprobate. And like all reprobates of calibre, I found myself in the local historical society’s museum. People, we need to stop a moment and appreciate tiny little leather boots and hand drawn cardboard cut outs of Yass’s historical street scape with photos. And Hamilton Hume’s telescope. And fossils! I had a great chat with the historical society member at the desk about the value of a historical streetscape and the threat of urban sprawl from Canberra before continuing down the street, ducking in and out of op shops. I stopped to admire a beautiful old cottage down near the park along Yass River and found myself chatting to its devoted owners. That beautiful cottage turned out to be one of the oldest buildings still standing. Cobblestone Cottage was built as a store and Post Office and an extension hosed the first Commercial Bank in Yass. The owners had poured a small fortune into its upkeep and its facade gleamed like the glossy and full coat of a living creature that was well loved. On cottage dwellers’ recommendations I continued my explorations with a walk along the river. Eventually the sun began to set and I wandered back to the motel and fell into an exhausted sleep. Learn some more about Yass here.

The Mildura Arts Centre and the Rio Vista House

The roads (and planes) in my life often lead to Mildura on the banks of the Murray River. Population of around 30,000. Award winning vanilla slices, an excellent Thai restaurant, one of the many stomping grounds of Big Lizzie, riverboats, wine and all the amenities one needs to set out on an adventure to the Murray/Murrumbidgee/Darling Rivers wonderland. In a July visit this year, I visited the Rio Vista Homestead, once the home of the Chaffey Brothers and now a regional art gallery and museum. I learnt interesting things about irrigation, took in some art and then nursed a cup of tea as I read Mildura Living and eavesdropped on other people’s conversations.

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June 2014: Melbourne and a museum

There have been times in my life when I have struggled with tremendous doubts and low self esteem. Not any more, now I know my true worth! Melbourne Museum, keep up the excellent work. Fossils, great use of interactive displays to show time and spatial relationships.  I felt like a god making volcanoes erupt all over Victoria, tsunamis along the shoreline. Mwahaha etc. Can’t get to Melbourne, be bemused with the virtual exhibition – 600 million years: Victoria evolves.

Pure gold!

Pure gold!

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More treasures from the Melbourne Museum

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Pip pip Royal Exhibition Centre, you and your plague of siblings across the globe.

Allowing fish stocks to replenish

One of the highlights of our trip to Paris was sneaking into the Louvre on our expired Museum Pass and picknicking on the steps of one of the galleries. We carefully ate our baguettes and smelly cheese over the free museum guides before being scolded and moved on by the security guard. Not a single crumb was spilt and no artwork was harmed. Because really, the people who can’t afford the seven euros in the museum cafés for an espresso coffee and three half mouthfuls of cake don’t deserve low blood sugar.
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Next time maybe we should try for the fastest time through the Louvre.
Bande a parte vs the Dreamers
We stayed until closing time, greedily eyeing every painting and statue we could as the staff gently corralled the lingerers towards the exits. Magic.
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Natural History Museum of London

Back on the road and visiting museums.
It’s a crabby starfish!
20131111-193338.jpg And dinosaurs. Skeletons and miniatures and robotic dinosaurs. It was weird. New York’s display still me favourite.
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The geology section of the Natural History Museum was fantastic. Great demonstrations, interpretation and specimens.

The Sunday stone shows white barium sulphate that settled in a water trough at a mine and during work shifts was blackened by coal dust. It’s a soft, recent stone that can be read as a calendar
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A Link to a blog about the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi

Magnus Reuterdahl has some great pictures up on his blog from the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.

Testimony of the spade

I recently was in Georgia on a wine-tour in combination with EWBC. Now Georgia also poses lots of interesting archaeological finds and some of the oldest that can be connected to wine and wine producing.

We visited the Georgian National Museums archaeological exhibit and also got to see some finds that as yet has not reached the exhibit. If you go to Georgia this is a museum not to miss, lots of nice and interesting finds that shows both relations to West Europe, the Middle East and Asia – there’s really no question that you are on the Silk road.

Most of these finds are found in graves and there are several fantastic gold and silver artifacts. The exhibition represent the history of Georgian gold smithery from the 3rd millennium B.C. To the 4th century A.D. So lets get ready for some archeo- artifact – pornography!…

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