Museums and Collections

July 2019

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.


Highlights of The Art of Healing: Australian Indigenous bush medicine touring to London and Berlin

Originally curated for the Medical History Museum, The Art of Healing: Australian Indigenous bush medicine follows the premise of Tjukurrpa (dreaming). It looks at traditional Indigenous healing practice as past, present and future simultaneously. It presents examples of healing practice from the many distinct and varied Indigenous communities throughout Australia through contemporary art practice.

A selection of twenty works from the exhibition are touring internationally to Bush House, King’s College, London (15 May to 28 June 2019) and The Berlin Museum of Medical History of the Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin (24 October 2019 to 2 February 2020).The exhibition in London was opened by the Australian High Commissioner George Brandis and attended by over 200 guests on Tuesday 14 May.

The exhibition is a culmination of network and strategic partnership building over the last three years between King’s College and the University of Melbourne—notably its Poche Centre for Indigenous Health—to spearhead the internationalisation of Indigenous Knowledge research and teaching.

A series of cultural programs partnered with the Menzies Centre of King’s College London included a lecture by Rene Kulitja and Pantijiti Lewis Ngangkari from the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council (NPYWC) in Alice Springs and Professor Sandra Eades, Aboriginal Child and Adolescent Health, University of Melbourne.

Image: Rene Kulitja and Pantijiti Lewis Ngangkari in front of Bush House, London

New Research for Old Quad

The newly renovated Old Quad is pleased to bring Imogen Colton on board as a Research Intern for the next ten weeks. In keeping with the strategy to engage the community with the ceremonial heart of the University, student-led research will bring to life the history of Old Quad.

Wading through the layers of architectural and social history, Imogen Colton has a large task ahead of her. Imogen noted that ‘Recent travels to the north-eastern United States, combined with the experience of my history degree, fostered in me a keen interest in the restoration and conservation of objects, artworks and spaces. My research on the Old Quad will be focused on documenting the recent architectural restoration of the Old Quad (including the integration of Passivhaus systems), in view of its architectural history, conservation principles and its current role in University life.’

The Old Quad looks forward to welcoming further student engagement via the University of Melbourne’s Museums and Collections Projects Program.

Image: Library, Old Quad, University of Melbourne. Photograph by Christian Capurro

Citizen Science at the University of Melbourne Herbarium

The University of Melbourne Herbarium (MELU) is currently hosting a Citizen Science expedition entitled Monocotyledons of the Burnley Horticultural College Collection. The expedition can be accessed on the Atlas of Living Australia DigiVol platform.

Volunteers are being sought to transcribe the label data of four hundred and sixty-five herbarium specimens that were collected by the faculty and students of the University of Melbourne Burnley campus. The specimens include horticultural, agricultural, weed and native species of the orders Asparagales and Liliales, and include many orchid specimens. The Burnley campus dates back to 1861 when the Horticulture Society of Victoria established experimental gardens on the site. These specimens are now housed in the University of Melbourne Herbarium.
Help us unlock the diversity that has been hidden away in the Burnley Horticultural College Collection by digitising the data associated with these specimens. In this way the collection will be made available to a global public via the University of Melbourne Herbarium Online Collection and The Australasian Virtual Herbarium.

The Monocotyledons of the Burnley Horticultural College Collection expedition was launched on 24 June and will run until the labels of all specimens have been transcribed.

Image: A specimen of Stypandra glauca that will be digitised as part of the Monocotyledons of the Burnley Horticultural College Collection expedition

New exhibition of Arnhem Land barks opens at Trinity College

A new exhibition of Arnhem Land barks opened on the 30 May 2019 at the Burke Gallery, Trinity College. Timed to coincide with the University’s broader activities around National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June), Revealed: Arnhem Land Barks from the Anita Castan Collection – Yirrkala and Milingimbi showcases an extraordinary collection of bark paintings acquired in the mid-1960s by the young American collector, Kenneth Neybert.

The collection’s founding coincides with a pivotal decade for the Yolngu peoples of northeast Arnhem Land. In 1962, the Australian Federal Government granted rights to bauxite mining company Nabalco on the Gove Peninsula, without prior consultation with the Traditional Owners. The event prompted the Yirrkala Bark Petition the following year, an assertion of Yolngu traditional custodianship of the land, and triggered an eight-year long legal action known as the Gove land rights case. Although ultimately the case failed in 1971, it paved the way for the widely known overturning of the notion of terra nullius in the Mabo Case in 1993.

Kenneth Neybert’s collection was eventually acquired by Anita Castan in memory of her brother-in-law, the late Ron Castan QC, senior counsel in the Mabo Case and one of the lawyers involved in the original Gove land rights case. Brought back from the USA in 2001, this extraordinarily significant collection from two major art-producing communities in Arnhem Land is both rich in cultural and artistic traditions.

The exhibition is on display until 5 September 2019 in the Burke Gallery in the Gateway Building, on Tin Alley, and open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Image: Opening night of Revealed: Arnhem Land Barks from the Anita Castan Collection – Yirrkala and Milingimbi


Sounds Unheard: Bell Curve student performance

Grainger Museum, Friday 5 July 2019, 1.00pm to 2.00pm

As part of the How It Plays: Innovations in percussion exhibition at the Grainger Museum, Victorian secondary students are invited to take part in an immersive and intimate performance of Bell Curve, showcasing Speak Percussion’s innovative use of percussion instruments, new technology and creative approaches to site-specific performance.

Twelve young musicians will be spread throughout the museum, performing on Victoria’s beautiful Federation Handbells. Through the use of click track technology and complex networked temporal relationships, they move seamlessly in and out of sync from stunningly complex rhythms to perfect unisons. More

No bookings required.

Image: Bell Curve. Image curtesy of Speak Percussion

Rare Book Week 2019 - Innovations in Music

Grainger Museum, Monday 8 Jul 2019, 1.00pm to 2.00pm

As part of Melbourne Rare Book Week 2019, Dr Heather Gaunt, Grainger Museum Curator, will provide an overview of the Grainger Museum, its fascinating history, thought-provoking collections and future aspirations. The talk will focus on the current major exhibition How it plays: Innovations in percussion.

Bookings and further information.

Image: Display of mallets for percussion instruments, c.1930s. Various makers including J.C Deagan (instrument maker). Grainger Museum collection, University of Melbourne


Japanese Wonders: Beautiful items from Rare Books

Leigh Scott Room, level 1, Baillieu Library, Tuesday 9 July 2.00pm to 3.00pm

Public lecture

Japan has long been known for its sense of the aesthetic, from beauty and subtlety to strong bright graphics. The way things look is part of Japanese everyday life. Join the Curator of Rare Books, Susan Millard, to see items showcasing paper, textiles, fan design, matchbox design, woodblock print creation, kimono design, manga and other curious items from the University of Melbourne Library’s Special Collections.

This event is one of the programs of activities for the 8th Melbourne Rare Book Week - Friday 5 July to Sunday 14 July 2019.

Bookings and further information

Image: Tokuriki Tomikichirō & Kamei Tōbei, Shin Kyōto meisho, c.1955. Special Collections, University of Melbourne Library

Sir Redmond Barry: The Bibliophile

Leigh Scott Room, Level 1, Baillieu Library, Wednesday 10 July 2019, 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Learn about Sir Redmond Barry, the bibliophile, his style of book collecting as reflected in his personal library and the on-going project to re-create Barry’s library. We will also examine Barry’s influence on developing the first library collection at the University of Melbourne. A selection of Barry’s writings and books associated with Barry will be displayed. Presented by Carole Hinchcliff and Wallace Kirsop.

Bookings and further information.

This event is one of the program of activities for the 8th Melbourne Rare Book Week - Friday 5 July to Sunday 14 July 2019.

Image: George Folingsby, Sir Redmond Barry KCMG, 1881. University of Melbourne Art Collection

Percy Grainger and the Century of Percussion

Grainger Museum, Sunday 21 July 2019, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Join Professor Chalon Ragsdale (University of Arkansas) as he illustrates how Percy Grainger’s philosophy, and his practical applications of that philosophy, helped determine the directions of percussion writing and performance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Using musical examples ranging from Bach and Grieg to Stravinsky, Bartok, Grainger and Grainger’s pupils, composer Henry Cowell and Bernard Herrmann, Professor Ragsdale will trace the life and work of Percy Grainger, the “Genius from Australia.” More

Bookings and further information.

Image: Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne

Open House Melbourne: Buxton Contemporary

Buxton Contemporary, Saturday 27 July & Sunday 28 July 2019

Visit Buxton Contemporary for free talks and guided tours to celebrate Open House Melbourne and the opening weekend of Bauhaus Now!

11.30am Saturday 27 July: Bauhaus Now! exhibition walk-through with curator Ann Stephen and Professor Philip Goad, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Chair of Architecture, the University of Melbourne and a contributing editor to Architecture Australia.

1.00pm Sunday 28 July: Fender Katsalidis Architectural tour.

Image: Buxton Contemporary. Photograph by John Gollings

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

A New Order   

Buxton Contemporary, to Sunday 7 July 2019

There are innumerable ways to join the dots and build connections between the works in A New Order, all of which have been selected from the Michael Buxton Collection. Within the exhibition and the work of the 12 artists represented, we encounter many interconnecting styles and themes: a will to order or to react against it, a tendency for systematic and serial methods, a push and pull within processes that favour chance as much as rules. Patterns become structures that can be seen as more than compositions, as intrinsic to the content of a work or even as its central subject. More

Image: Diena Georgetti, Split panelled shadow chart, 2011. The Michael Buxton Collection, University of Melbourne Art Collection. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael and Janet Buxton

National Anthem

Buxton Contemporary, to Sunday 7 July 2019  

Presenting a cacophonous array of artistic voices and perspectives, National Anthem brings together 24 artists, from a range of generations, who critically address Australian national identity. Built around key works in the Michael Buxton Collection, together with works sourced from beyond the collection, this project reflects on the ways that the desire for a singular national identity often excludes Indigenous histories and denies the multiplicity of voices, cultures and experiences that enrich, contest and enhance Australian life.

Channelling humour and satire and engaging in tactics such as play, intervention and confrontation, the artists in National Anthem seek self-determination and collectively hold a mirror up to contemporary Australia, prompting new representations of who we are or who we might aspire to become. More

Image: Juan Davila, Un-Australian, 2014. The Michael Buxton Collection, University of Melbourne Art Collection. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael and Janet Buxton

Bauhaus Now!

Buxton Contemporary, from Friday 26 July 2019  
Guest curated by Ann Stephen

In the year of its centenary the Bauhaus returns to haunt our museums. How do contemporary artists re-imagine a relationship to this legendary school? Are they scavengers raiding the ruins of modernism, appropriators of ‘good design’ kitsch or acolytes of an unholy sect? Bauhaus Now! explores its legacy in Australia—both for contemporary artists and for art education—highlighting its visionary, collectivist ideals and its radical practices. More

Image: Peter D Cole, Elemental landscape 2009-19 (detail), enamel on brass, 52 parts, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist, © the artist

Fabric Culture

Grainger Museum, from Saturday 27 July 2019

An interdisciplinary collaboration project between the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the Grainger Museum, Fabric Culture highlights the patterns and threads of cultural connection through the mediums of sound and vision. The exhibition will feature works by students and academics of the Faculty, and will also showcase a new collaborative audiovisual work, Pattern Loops recently created by MCM Interactive Composition and VCA Animation students in response to the ideas, patterns and clothing designs of Percy and Ella Grainger. Fabric Culture will open from 27 July until 29 August 2019. More

Revealed: Arnhem Land Barks from the Anita Castan Collection – Yirrkala and Milingimbi

Burke Gallery, Trinity College, to Thursday 5 September 2019

This incredibly significant collection of bark paintings from two communities in North East Arnhem Land is both rich in cultural and artistic traditions. In 1963, Yolngu elders had presented the Yirrkala bark petitions to Australia’s federal parliament asserting their traditional custodianship of country. This was a pivotal moment in Australia's march towards Indigenous reconciliation. Formed by Ken Neybert, a young American collector in the mid-1960s who recognised the beauty in Yolngu bark paintings, Anita Castan acquired the collection in the US and returned it to Australia. It remains a deeply important body of art works for the Yolngu communities who produced them. More

Image: Opening night of Revealed: Arnhem Land Barks from the Anita Castan Collection – Yirrkala and Milingimbi

Ancestral Memory

Old Quad, to Friday 11 October 2019

The newly refurbished Old Quad is thrilled to inaugurate its Treasury gallery with the exhibition, Ancestral Memory, from Maree Clarke (Mutti Mutti/Wamba Wamba/Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung). A renowned cultural ‘revivifyer’, Clarke has been active in reclaiming the visual/material culture of her Ancestors and re-thinking this in line with her lived experiences as a contemporary southeast Australian Aboriginal artist.

Ancestral Memory tells the story of water on the lands of the Kulin Nation. Diving into the history of Old Quad’s location, the Kulin Nation cultural advisor Jefa Greenaway says, ‘[w]hat transpired from this research was that the story of water has always been and continues to be very important to this place. It is a story that traverses the campus.’

A central feature of the exhibition, Clarke’s dramatic glass eel trap shares both ancient and contemporary connections. Displayed alongside two woven eel traps, the distinctive patterns and methods of weaving connect these items to place; to a series of waterways running thick with eels and ancestral memory. Greenaway assures us that ‘[t]he eels continue to swim through the storm water pipes of the University. They rear their heads up in some of the ponds and storm water grates that exist on the campus.’

A powerful demonstration of resilience, Clarke’s Ancestral Memory launches the Old Quad into the next chapter while keeping a firm grasp on the past.

Image: Installation view of Ancestral Memory. Artist Maree Clarke. Photograph © Christian Capurro

The Women’s: Carers, advocates and reformers

Medical History Museum, to Saturday 2 November 2019

The Women’s: Carers, advocates and reformers exhibition explores the work of The Royal Women’s Hospital through the contributions of many remarkable individuals; public education and health campaigns; the training of nurses, midwives, doctors and other health professionals; and public policy and research. It follows the institution from its modest East Melbourne origins to its location today in the Parkville medical precinct, while also presenting the stories and knowledge of the traditional owners. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue highlight items from the Women’s Historic and Archive collection, Medical History Museum collection and the Victorian Public Records Office.

The Women’s has played a critical role in the life Melbourne since its beginnings. As historian Janet McCalman explains: 'The Royal Women’s Hospital opened in August 1856 as the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital and Infirmary for the Diseases Peculiar to Women and Children in a terrace house in Albert Street, East Melbourne. Melbourne was in the midst of a gold-rush that would bring half a million people through the colony in the decade. Women were abandoned, pregnant and destitute, while their husbands and erstwhile lovers tried their luck on the goldfields. The need for a charity lying-in hospital for women without homes was urgent.'

Image: Dr Kate Campbell (1899-1986) examining a premature baby in an isolette, 1974. Gift of Winifred Crick, Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne

How it plays: Innovations in percussion

Grainger Museum, to Friday 20 December 2019

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


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 photographic, 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: Visitors at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. Photography by Jody Hutchinson

University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 23 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine is now available. Join the Friends of the Baillieu Library and receive two complimentary issues of the magazine annually.

In this issue read about remnants of Piltdown Man in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology; the story behind a replica of an ancient bronze statue of a Greek god; strange creatures found in the Baillieu Library Print Collection; the Kipp generator that transformed chemistry teaching in the 1950s and much more.


News from the Grainger Museum

Subscribe to the Grainger Museums e-News to receive monthly updates on exhibitions, events and news about the collections and activities.  

Read the June issue to find out about the Grainger's new exhibition, How it Plays: Innovations in Percussion, which is now open. 

Image: Percy Aldridge Grainger, In a Nutshell Suite, No.2 ‘Gay but wistful’ [detail]. Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne
Museums and Collections website | Forward to a friend | Privacy policy | Disclaimer
Explore our collections

Copyright © 2019 University of Melbourne Cultural Collections Unit,
all rights reserved.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
University of Melbourne Cultural Collections Unit · Room 120, Baillieu Library, · University of Melbourne · Melbourne, Vic 3010 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp