Museums and Collections

July 2018

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.


Ian Potter Museum of Art Miegunyah Student Project Award 2018

The Ian Potter Museum of Art is offering six competitive Awards of $1500 each to University of Melbourne students across all disciplines, for small projects focused on The Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection.

The Ian Potter Museum of Art Miegunyah Student Project Award scheme aims to give students experience in working in an interdisciplinary context with a significant and extensive material and visual culture collection. In recognition of the changing face of academic engagement these projects also give students the opportunity to think about how to share their research with a range of audiences and to make use of multiple modes of distribution.
Applications are now open for University of Melbourne students at any level, currently enrolled at the University of Melbourne at least until the end of October 2018. Projects will be undertaken during the 2018 Academic Year. Applications close 6 July 2018.
For full details of the application process, creative brief, outcomes and resources, please refer to the Ian Potter Museum of Art website. Queries can be addressed to Dr Kyla McFarlane, Curator of Academic Programs (Research), Ian Potter Museum of Art:

Image: James Alfred Turner, (The kangaroo hunt), 1873. The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Purchased 1994, The Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund

Buxton Contemporary announces new collection manager

Katarina Paseta has been announced as the new collection manager at Buxton Contemporary. Katarina has more than 20 years of experience working in leading public and university art museums and galleries specialising in collection and exhibition management, registration and curatorship. Most recently, she was collections and exhibitions manager at Heide Museum of Modern Art (2005–2017). In this role Katarina was responsible for all aspects of the care and management of Heide’s collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as the management of more than 60 exhibitions.
Prior to Heide, Katarina was collection manager at Monash University Museum of Art (1999–2004) and at the Australian National University’s Drill Hall Gallery (1996–1998). She has also worked as a project and collection manager for the Victorian College of the Arts and the RACV Art Collection in conjunction with the University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art. Katarina possesses extensive experience managing significant touring exhibitions both nationally and internationally. She has travelled to coordinate major projects in Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Katarina holds a Bachelor of Arts (Cinema Studies) from La Trobe University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Art Curatorship and Museum Management) from the University of Melbourne.

Image: Katarina Paseta

Cleaning the English Rare Book Collection

A team of four conservators from the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation recently completed comprehensive cleaning of the English Room Rare Book Collection at the Baillieu Library.
The collection comprises around 8,600 works from an array of 18th and 19th century British authors, including 2,500 volumes by Sir Walter Scott. While much of this collection is in excellent condition, collection maintenance and regular cleaning is essential to ensure it remains that way. Over time, dust and dirt build up on the cover, spine and textblock of a book, as well as on the surrounding shelves. Recent graduates of the Master of Cultural Materials Conservation program: Adele Barbara, Lois Waters, Mar Cruz and PhD candidate Sadra Zekrgoo, set to work on the cleaning process.
To clean this collection, each book was removed from the shelf, and the text block vacuumed with a HEPA filter vacuum, using a soft brush to loosen dust and dirt. To clean the leather or cloth covers, each book was gently wiped down with a microfibre cloth. Each shelf was also wiped down with a separate microfibre cloth, before every book was returned to its place. This method ensured that any dirt or dust could be removed without disturbing any elaborate gold tooling, or reducing the colour of the fine leather bindings. More

Image: Book text blocks being vacuumed with the aid of a soft brush to loosen dust and dirt

Grant to allow conservation of important photograph

The Medical History Museum was recently awarded a grant from the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund for the conservation of an important 1905 framed photograph of medical students that includes Gordon Clunes Mathison, the first Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. The conservation of the photograph will add to the collection of images the Medical History Museum has of Mathison, an internationally acclaimed scientist and medical researcher who was killed at Gallipoli in 1915.
A medical graduate from the University of Melbourne, Mathison was awarded a Sharpey Scholarship which enabled him to carry out research at University College London between 1908 and 1913. Mathison enlisted with the AIF at the commencement of World War I and landed at Gallipoli as a battalion doctor on 25 April 1915 (the original Anzac Day). His appointment as inaugural director of the new Walter and Eliza Hall Institute was finalised that same week, however he was fatally wounded on 9 May 1915. His death was lamented as a great loss to the science of medicine.  

The conservation of the photograph will allow for its display, along with other related images, each ANZAC day.

Image: Detail of the photograph of medical students showing Gordon Clunes Mathison

New Scholarly Services appointment

Angeletta Leggio recently commenced at the University of Melbourne in the newly created position of Manager, Cultural Collections (University Archivist) within Scholarly Services. This position manages the University of Melbourne Archives, Special Collections and the Grainger Museum. Over the last five years, Angeletta has been the Partnerships Programs Manager at the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), where she led the Institutional Engagement team and a number of the funded programmes.
Prior to this she worked at various cultural heritage organisations in Australia and overseas, including the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Canada, State Library of Victoria, and the National Library of Australia, where she held various roles relating to loans and exhibitions, collection management, conservation, preservation, and digital asset management. She Holds a Masters in Applied Science from the University of Canberra and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Fine Arts, Media from RMIT University.

Image: Angeletta Leggio

News from The Dax Centre

Situated on the University of Melbourne grounds, The Dax Centre provides University students and staff, as well as the general public, with access to the Cunningham Dax Collection of art created by individuals who have experienced mental health issues. The Centre works closely with artists and communities who contribute their work and life stories to the Cunningham Dax Collection. The Centre also partners and collaborates with organisations that share a common interest in improving mental health and promoting mental well being by increasing understanding of mental illness and psychological trauma.
As of 1 July 2018 The Dax Centre will merge with SANE Australia, a national mental health charity working to support those affected by complex mental illness, with Charmaine Smith to take up the position as new Head of the Centre. This merger confirms the future of The Dax Centre ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for the University community and wider public to access.   
Image: The Dax Centre exhibition gallery 

Hats off to Grainger!

Two students in the Museums and Collections Projects Program, Crystal Baptist and Sharon Wong, are working on a project in the Grainger Museum with Curator Heather Gaunt, to rehouse the large collection of hats.
Crystal and Sharon will be working on a multi-stage collection management project, redistributing the hats over an increased number of storage boxes for conservation reasons, packing each hat internally to support delicate fabric and structures, photographing any hats that do not have digital image records, and updating the new data and locations on our collection management software. It is a wonderful opportunity to see the diversity and richness of this part of the collection. When all the data is loaded, digital images and item data will be available to the public on this part of the collection via the Grainger Museum's online collection catalogue.
The Grainger has some 68 hats, ranging from bowler hats to bonnets, and beanies to balaclavas, and multiple hat accessories such as veils and nets. They were all purchased and worn by either Percy, Ella or Rose Grainger, between the late 1890s and 1960s.
Image: Sharon Wong rehousing one of the many hats held in the collection

The Ursula Hoff Internship now open

Dr Ursula Hoff bequeathed funds to the University of Melbourne to establish a Fellowship for the study and promotion of prints held in the print collections of the University of Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria. In recognition of Dr Hoff’s scholarly and professional achievements, the Fellowship is awarded annually to a candidate displaying a commitment to research into prints, the history of print collecting and the scholarly activities of museums and universities.
The Fellowship is open to an early career researcher who has completed a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Art, Art History, Arts Management or Art Curatorship at a recognised Australian university. Applicants must nominate a project dedicated to research into prints and the history of print collecting in Australia, based on the print collections of the University of Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria. The value of the Ursula Hoff Internship is $30,000. Visit the Fellowship's website for further details and application form.
For information on the University’s print collections visit the websites of the Baillieu Library Print Collection and the Ian Potter Museum of Art.

Image: Marcantonio Raimondi after a drawing by Raphael, The Judgement of Paris [detail], 1510–1520. Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne. Gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton 1959


Dark imaginings floor talk 

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, Tuesday 3 July 2018, 12.00pm to 1.00pm

Join exhibition curator Jen Hill for a walk through the exhibition Dark imaginings: Gothic tales of wonder, which explores the expression of the Gothic from the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th century, as represented in the University's Special Collections. It marks a number of important gothic anniversaries, including the bicentenary of the first publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the 200th birthday of Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights.

This curator's floor talk is offered as part of the Melbourne Rare Book Week program of events.
Image: Mary Shelley (1797–1851), author; Theodor von Holst (1810–1844), artist, Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus. London, 1831. Rare Books, Special Collections, University of Melbourne

Malcolm Fraser personal library tour

Malcolm Fraser Room, Melbourne Law School, Friday 6 July 2018, 3.00pm to 3.45pm
Katie Wood, Archivist, University of Melbourne Archives, and Carole Hinchcliff, Law School Librarian, University of Melbourne, will show highlights of The Malcolm Fraser Collection at the University of Melbourne, which currently consists of one hundred metres of family and personal records relating to the former Prime Minister of Australia, the Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser and his personal library.

This tour is presented as part of the Melbourne Rare Book Week program of events.

Free event. Further information and bookings.  

Image: Malcolm Fraser as a young man at Nareen station, c.1958. University of Melbourne Archives

Object-based learning masterclass

Ian Potter Museum of Art, Tuesday 17 July 2018, 11.00am to 12.00pm

Object-based learning (OBL) is a mode of education which involves the use of authentic or replica objects in the learning environment. The University of Melbourne uses specimens, artefacts, artworks, manuscripts, rare books and archives in its OBL teaching. Since 2010 OBL has been used at The Ian Potter Museum of Art by the Academic Programs team who teach visual observation and describing to all disciplines and faculties at the University.
Research into OBL has found that the use of objects can inspire, inform, engage and motivate learners at all stages of their education. Engaging with objects encourages the use of all senses and helps develop the important skill of drawing conclusions based on examination of evidence. This multi-sensory approach also has proven to enhance the relationship between the learning experience and memory, creating long lasting connections.
The Arts West OBL laboratories were opened in 2017. They provide greater access to University of Melbourne’s many museums and collections for the purposes of teaching and research and offer students a unique learning space. Join us for an exclusive look at these exceptional teaching spaces which are otherwise not publicly accessible. In this masterclass Fiona Moore will introduce you to the object labs and Sharyn Volk will lead a hands-on investigation when you will have the opportunity to engage with rare ancient artefacts out of their display cases.

Free event. Further information and bookings

Image: Object Based Learning Laboratory, Arts West, University of Melbourne. Photography John Gollings

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

No one is watching you: Ronnie Van Hout  

Buxton Contemporary: from Thursday 12 July 2018

This ironically titled exhibition shines a spotlight on Ronnie van Hout, a Melbourne-based New Zealand-born artist best known for his distinctive brand of existential absurdism. Bringing together works that span more than twenty years of practice, No one is watching you: Ronnie van Hout encompasses sculpture, video, photography, embroidery and text, and features major new installations.

Van Hout’s tragicomic oeuvre references a wide range of sources, from science fiction, cults and cinema to art history and popular and celebrity culture. He frequently draws upon childhood experiences and recollections to create wryly amusing yet heart-rending micro fictions. Casting fragile, lonely figures in the midst of perplexing scenarios, van Hout masterfully evokes familiar and yet strange interior worlds. His unsettling tableaux unleash deep social anxieties and feelings of self-consciousness, triggering the impulse to simultaneously laugh and cry. More

Image: Buxton Contemporary

State of the Union

Ian Potter Museum of Art, from Tuesday 24 July 2018

State of the Union explores the relationship of artists to political engagement through a focus on the labour movement and trade unions. The exhibition presents artworks that investigate industrial action and labour issues alongside the work of artists who draw upon the traditional visual strategies of protest, such as banners, posters, and collaborative actions. In addition to artworks that take trade unionism as a subject matter, the exhibition includes a consideration of artists whose practices are a form of cultural activism through which they advocate for fair working conditions, including those of artworkers.
This exhibition takes place at a time when unions and trades councils are working together to win back lost ground. In this moment of renewed momentum, State of the Union provides an opportunity to explore the historical relationship between art and the labour movement, and to consider how this collaborative advocacy for workers’ rights might continue into the future. More

Image: Operative Painters & Decorators Union of Australasia, Victorian Branch banner [detail], 1915. Courtesy of Museum Victoria and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)


Ian Potter Museum of Art, from Tuesday 24 July 2018

Eavesdropping used to be a crime. According to Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769) ‘eavesdroppers, or such as listen under walls or windows, or the eaves of a house, to hearken after discourse, and thereupon to frame slanderous and mischievous tales, are a common nuisance and presentable at the court-leet.’ Two hundred and fifty years later, eavesdropping isn’t just legal, it’s ubiquitous. What was once a minor public order offence has become one of the most important politico-legal problems of our time, as the Snowden revelations made abundantly clear. Eavesdropping: the ever-increasing access to, capture and control of our sonic worlds by state and corporate interests.
Curated by Joel Stern (Liquid Architecture) and Dr James Parker (Melbourne Law School), this project pursues an expanded definition of eavesdropping; one that includes contemporary mechanisms for listening-in but also activist practices of listening back, that are concerned with malicious listenings but also the responsibilities of the earwitness. Eavesdropping is a unique collaboration between Ian Potter Museum of Art, Liquid Architecture, and the Melbourne Law School, comprising an exhibition, a public program, a series of working groups and touring event which explores the politics of listening through work by leading artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world. More
Image: Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis in volume 1 of Rome by Francisci Corbelletti [detail], 1650. Rare Music, Special Collections, University of Melbourne

Dark imaginings: Gothic tales of wonder

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, to Tuesday 31 July 2018

In 18th century Europe a revolutionary shift in literary and artistic expression took place that became known as ‘the Gothic’. Nightmarish images of barbarity, oppression and the supernatural were abstracted from an earlier medieval (or ‘Gothic’) age and fused with a Romantic focus on imagination and emotion, resulting in works of frightening and thrilling originality. Leading exponents of the gothic set their creative works in dark and claustrophobic spaces or wild, threatening landscapes and infused them with melancholy, gloom and fear.

Dark imaginings: Gothic tales of wonder explores the expression of the Gothic from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries. The exhibition marks several important gothic anniversaries, including the bicentenary of the first publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the 200th birthday of Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights. More

Image: Graphic by Janet Boschen based on: Robert Burns (author) and John Faed (artist), Tam O’Shanter. Edinburgh, 1855. Rare Books, Special Collections, University of Melbourne

Synthesizers: Sound of the future

Grainger Museum, to Sunday 9 September 2018

Presented by Grainger Museum and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio

Today’s musical hackers, sound artists and digital musicians who patch and share and experiment with sound are the direct beneficiaries of innovators in electronic sound in the second half of the twentieth century. The Grainger Museum was at the heart of musical experimentation in Melbourne in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when University of Melbourne composer and teacher Keith Humble, and composer and Grainger Museum Curator Ian Bonighton ran a renegade electronic composition studio with early analog synthesizers, including the EMS Synthi 100.

The exhibition Synthesizers: Sound of the future explores this Melbourne scene and, more broadly, the evolution of the commercially produced synthesizer by EMS (Electronic Music Studios Ltd, UK) in this period. The exhibition features key instruments on loan from the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. More

Image: Portable analogue synthesizer EMS VCS 3, made in 1969, at the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio. Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) Collection. Photograph Amber Haines

The art of healing: Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice

Medical History Museum, to Saturday 29 September 2018

The art of healing: Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice 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. These are shown through contemporary art practice and examples of plants and medicines.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue with the perspectives of Indigenous communities represented. The key to this exhibition is revealing that traditional Indigenous healing is a current practice informed by the past, and an intrinsic part of the life of Indigenous people in Australia. More

Image: Judith Pugkarta Inkamala, Bush Medicine, 2017. Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne

Liquid form: Ancient and contemporary glass

Ian Potter Museum of Art, to Sunday 28 October 2018

Liquid form: Ancient and contemporary glass celebrates the luminous medium of glass. Displaying significant artefacts from the Egyptian and Roman periods alongside the work of contemporary makers, Liquid form examines the development of faience and glass manufacture in the ancient world and demonstrates how these methods have been reinvigorated and extended in the modern era.

Highlighting the treasures in the University of Melbourne’s Classics & Archaeology Collection, Liquid Form is the first major exhibition of glass at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. The exhibition also showcases significant works from major collections around Australia, including the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Melbourne; the Dodgson Collection of Egyptian Antiquities at Queens College, the University of Melbourne; the John Elliot Classics Museum, the University of Tasmania; the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, the University of Queensland and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. More

Image: Egyptian necklace, 1550BCE-395CE. University of Melbourne Art Collection. Classics and Archaeology Collection. Gift of Miss D Kilburn, 1962

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

The Professor Sir Joseph Burke Gallery, Trinity College

Buxton Contemporary

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

University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 22 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine will be available soon. Join the Friends of the Baillieu Library and receive two complimentary issues of the magazine annually.

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