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February 2020
 
Welcome to the latest issue of e-news from The University of Melbourne Museums and Collections. This electronic newsletter is circulated each month and provides information on current exhibitions, events and news items from the University’s museums and collections. For details of the individual collections explore the Museums and Collections website.

News

International Museums and Collections Award - Birmingham blog

Ruby Kerrison, a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Australian Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne, and 2019 recipient of the IMAC Award has recently commenced her month-long placement at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Based with the Research and Collections Unit, she has been working closely with collections staff on collection management and curatorial projects across their museums and cultural collections.

In addition to developing her professional skills in these key collection areas, Ruby has a specific research interest in the historical representation of gender and race, and will examine these themes further within the context of the curatorial practices she encounters in Birmingham's museums and galleries. Ruby is also very much looking forward to exploring the University of Birmingham campus, the city of Birmingham itself and the wealth of cultural experiences the region has to offer.  

You can follow Ruby’s IMAC Award experience and other cultural adventures in Birmingham via her blog.

The IMaC Award provides a unique international exchange opportunity for students between the University of Melbourne and the University of Birmingham. Recipients of the Award take part in a month-long placement working with the collections and museums of the partner university. The Award enables them to develop professional skills in collections management, enrich their studies and provides the opportunity to consider collections within an international context.


Image: Ruby Kerrison working on one of her the University of Birmingham collection projects 

Old Quad explores music, past and present at the University of Melbourne with upcoming exhibition, 'Multivocal'

The upcoming Old Quad exhibition, Multivocal, will celebrate the creation, performance and experience of music at the University of Melbourne, past and present. Curated by Dr Heather Gaunt, this exhibition will showcase the cultural collections of the University that focus on music in its many forms. The objects in the exhibition provide a platform for contemporary responses to a long history of musical activity in this place, in the form of new commissions and performance-based events.

This exhibition ranges across a spectrum of engagement in music, including academically-driven formal musical education in performance, therapy, research and innovative compositional practice, to student-led musical societies. It encompasses musical traditions and contemporary practice across Indigenous and international music. Multivocal opens windows onto the great diversity of ways in which music has enriched the lives of people in the University community and beyond.

Multivocal is supported by the Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne Library Special Collections, University of Melbourne Archives, Victorian College of the Arts Special Collections, University of Melbourne Art Collection, Ed Muirhead Physics Museum Collection, Australian Performing Arts Collection, Trinity College Collection and generous private lenders.

Multivocal opens on 24 February 2020.


Image: Sebastian and Pierre Errards [makers], Orchestral harp, 1835. Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne

Julie Banks appointed Head of Strategic Collections

The University of Melbourne welcomes the appointment of Julie Banks as Head of Strategic Collections. This is a key role in the new Museum and Collections Department and integral to delivering the University of Melbourne’s Cultural Commons vision.
 
Julie joins the University from the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) where she has been Acting Director Collections and Research. With more than 20 years experience in the museums and galleries sector, she has occupied strategic roles including major infrastructure and collections governance projects.
 
As Head of Collections and Major Projects at MAAS, Julie led the development and implementation of a large-scale project to digitise, document, and relocate the 338,000 items in the collection at the Powerhouse site to a new storage and collections management facility. She has also held key roles at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and National Gallery of Victoria.
 
The University of Melbourne’s cultural collection is one of Australia’s largest and most important encyclopaedic university collections and highlights more than 150 years of collecting. Of particular significance is the First Peoples’ Donald Thomson Collection, which was inscribed onto the Australian UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2007. In addition, the University’s other collections include the Ian Potter Museum of Art and Buxton Contemporary collections, extensive Scholarly Special Collections including rare books, prints and rare music; as well as scientific collections including botanical, geological, paleontological, veterinary and zoological specimens.
 
Working alongside colleagues across the University, this new role will develop and deliver a vision, road map and strategic framework focused on access and global engagement.

 
Julie commences at the University of Melbourne on 23 March 2020.


Image: Julie Banks

Australian Red Cross 'Gift to the Nation' Collection

On Tuesday 3 December 2019 the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) celebrated the conclusion of the official transfer to the University of the Australian Red Cross collection, 'Gift to the Nation'. The transfer was an enormous undertaking spanning five years and involved the rehousing and listing of the collection.

Gwenda Thomas, Director Scholarly Services and University Librarian, acknowledged the gift and noted that the selfless acts that have resulted in these records are the real gifts of the Australian Red Cross. Garry Nolan, Vice-Chair, Australian Red Cross Victorian Advisory Board, also spoke about the importance of the project for the Victorian and Australian Red Cross. A group of extraordinarily committed volunteers were also acknowledged for their individual contributions to the project.

The UMA holds records of both the Australian Red Cross National Office and the Victorian Division of the Australian Red Cross. Details of the collection can be found on the UMA's online catalogue


Image: (L-R) Gwenda Thomas,  Garry Nolan and Marilyn Rudd, daughter of WW2 veteran Bill Rudd who sponsored the digitization of 60,000 missing, wounded and prisoner of war inquiry cards that were gifted as part of the Australian Red Cross collection

Collision Commission 2020: Expressions of interest now open

Calling all engineers, scientists, artists, tech-heads, tinkerers, fixers and dreamers.

The School of Computing & Information Systems and Science Gallery Melbourne are planning a Collision Commission, a small multi-disciplinary team to work with the awesome Robin Fox to create a major new high-tech art commission for the opening of Science Gallery Melbourne in 2021.

Be part of the first ever Collision Commission and make new connections and collaborations. Bring your expertise and expand your horizons into new disciplines.

We are looking for people with expertise in any of the following areas: sound, performance, lasers, graphics, electronics, production, mechanisation, making, robotics, art installations, IoT, algorithms, lighting, project management, arts management, systems design, human-computer interaction, immersion … or parties?

Expressions of interest close 11.59pm AEDT on Friday, 14 February 2020. Find out more and register your interest.

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver  

Buxton Contemporary, to Sunday 9 February 2020 

Featuring fantastical creatures, iridescent other worlds, uncanny objects and unsettling organic forms, Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver explores the multidisciplinary practice of one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

While Weaver is best known for her whimsical, thought-provoking sculptures of animals, Between appearances features more than 100 works in an array of media including sculptural installations, paintings, drawings, printmaking, collage, textiles, movement and sound. The exhibition spans three decades of the artist’s practice and reveals Weaver’s longstanding interests in fields as diverse as visual culture, art history, natural history, science and design.

Curated by Melissa Keys, Between appearances unfolds across all four of the galleries at Buxton Contemporary. It traces her gradual shift from early figurative forms and compositions through to abstract paintings, objects and sound environments, comprising an overview of Weaver’s richly imaginative, critical and compelling work from the early nineties through to the present. More


Image: Louise Weaver, From the House of Fabius Rufus 2008 [detail]. Collection of Peter Bate and Wendy Foard, Melbourne

Quad Collections   

Old Quad, East Bay Room, ground floor, from Monday 24 February 2020

Integral to the identity of the University of Melbourne are the myriad ways tradition underpins all areas of university life. To launch each new year, a Wominjeka (Welcome) event on the Parkville Campus acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, upon whose land we study and work. This Welcome to Country, which includes a Smoking Ceremony, is arguably one of the oldest rituals in the world.

Following this traditional welcome, each academic year proceeds in conjunction with the ceremonies that underscore the purpose of such an institution. Graduations, announcements, openings, processions, dedications, retirements, awards, orientations, and even memorial services all come together to define the unique identity of an institution still holding strong to its values of tradition while simultaneously progressing its own contemporary identity.  

The Quad Collections display at Old Quad showcases the University’s most significant ceremonial objects. These tangible pieces of history shed light on the communities that came together to build the University of Melbourne, and include the heritage Council Chamber furniture, the University mace, and Mandy Nicholson’s possum skin cloak, among other highlights.

Image: Mandy Nicholson, Possum Skin Cloak, 2014. University of Melbourne Collection   

A National Museum

Old Quad Library, level 1, from Monday 24 February 2020

Viewing by appointment only

Old Quad has functioned in many different capacities over the last 160 years. In one of its many iterations, the Old Quad housed the National Museum of Victoria (now Museum Victoria) between 1856-63. Championed by original professor, Frederick McCoy (1817-99), the University’s own collection rapidly grew to include items from the areas of zoology, mining technology, geology and agriculture, which today form part of the earliest cultural collections held by the University of Melbourne.

This display embraces not only the history of the National Museum at Old Quad, but this moment as a pivotal spark towards a legacy of University-wide collecting. Today the University's cultural collection is one of the largest and most significant collections in Australia, representing 60,000 years of Indigenous knowledge, 200 years of engagement with European heritage, and generations of migrant stories up to and including the present day.

A National Museum is supported by the Tiegs Museum, the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, and the F.A. Singleton Earth Sciences Collection.


Image: Rainbow Lorikeet. Tiegs Museum, University of Melbourne. Photograph Lee McRae

How it plays: Innovations in percussion

Grainger Museum, to Thursday 7 June 2020

How it plays: Innovations in percussion is a collaborative exhibition and performance project including Grainger Museum, Federation Handbells (Museums Victoria/Creative Victoria), Speak Percussion, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the Melbourne School of Design.

The exhibition explores radical innovations in percussion, focussed on Melbourne, that have changed the way we can all hear and play music, ranging from Percy Grainger’s ‘tuneful percussion’ in the early twentieth century, to the present, with the Federation Handbells and the trailblazing organisation, Speak Percussion.


Image: J.C. Deagan (designer/maker), Percy Aldridge Grainger (designer/maker), Staff Bells, 1916. Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne. Photograph Peter Casamento

The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community

Level 1, Main Administration Building, University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, to 28 June 2020

The exhibition The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community offers an insight into the history of Burnley Gardens and the Burnley campus in the Victorian landscape. Eight panels with historical photographs and documents illustrate the strong connection people had – and still have – with Burnley.   

The exhibition is a walk through time from the beginnings of the campus as experimental gardens to today’s modern University campus. Opening in 1861, the Burnley site has continually adapted to cater to the needs of the community. With content primarily sourced from the archives collection, the exhibition not only reflects on this rich history, but provides an outlook on the future of the Burnley campus. Curated by Meg Hibbert and Jane Wilson.


Image: Perle des jardins glass slide, Burnley Campus Archives, University of Melbourne

Dentistry: Innovation and Education

Medical History Museum, to 30 August 2020

2019 celebrated the 135th Anniversary of the establishment of the Odontological Society of Victoria in 1884, which brought about the development of the first dental school in the State. The organization consisted of a group of trained dentists and was modelled on the Odontological Society of Great Britain, established in 1856. The Australian College of Dentistry was established in 1897 and affiliated with the University of Melbourne in a process that formalised dental education and further legitimised dental practice and research.

This exhibition showcases the development of dental practice, education and public health in Victoria through the collections of the Henry Forman Atkinson Museum, Medical History Museum, Australian Dental Association (Victoria) and University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Image: Dental students, 1912, Presented to J. Iliffe Esq. from the Melbourne Dental Students' Society 1912 [detail]. Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum, University of Melbourne

Awaken

Arts West, to Tuesday 1 October 2020

One of the most important anthropological collections in the world, the Donald Thomson Collection includes almost 7500 artefacts and 2000 biological specimens collected mainly on Cape York, Arnhem Land and from the Great Sandy Desert and the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, during the University of Melbourne anthropologist's 50-year career. Donald Thomson's ethnohistory collection is included in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register.

Professor Thomson's wife Dorita Thomson made a generous gift of the collection of objects into the care of the University of Melbourne. This, along with the photographs, film and field notes owned by the Thomson family, have been on long-term loan to Museums Victoria from the University and the Thomson family since 1973. The Thomson family's own collection is featured in the Awaken exhibition, including handwritten notes, postcards sent to his family and Professor Thomson's typewriter.


Image: Installation view of Awaken, Arts West, University of Melbourne

More exhibitions

For a full list of exhibitions and associated events at the University of Melbourne, visit the websites of the individual galleries and museums.

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

George Paton Gallery

The Dax Centre

Science Gallery Melbourne

Burke Gallery, Trinity College

Buxton Contemporary

Old Quad


Image: Medical History Museum

University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 25 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine is now available.

In this issue read about the VCA Film and Television Collection; women’s art in the Germaine Greer Archives; early 20th-century anthropological plaster casts in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology; the Japanese Room in the Glyn Davis Building and much more.


 

News from the Grainger Museum

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Image: Installation view of How it Plays: Innovations in percussion
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