The Trevor Kennedy Collection at National Museum of Australia

Royal Worcester Waratah Ceramics

This is an exhibition selected from a large group of artefacts donated by Trevor and Christina Kennedy and their family. Trevor Kennedy began collecting artefacts connected to Australian history while he was living in London in the 1960s. His collection became enormous as his vision sought to fill a gap he saw in collections of Australiana.

This exhibition is a small example of a personal collection of furniture, home wares, domestic objects, and jewellery. The quality of the selected items is great. I look forward to lots of further exhibitions from the collection.

This exhibition will continue till October 10 2021 Opening hours Mon to Sun 9am-5pm Website:

History of the world in 100 Objects @ National Museum of Australia

I finally got to see these objects in a room close enough to touch them. I heard these wonderful 10 minute podcasts off the BBC website over a decade age. There were pictures and text on the website and the choices and range of the objects were extraordinary.

I loved it then and to have them bring 100 objects of such historical significance all the way to Canberra filled me with a sense of awe.

The objects cover rock axes through to modern technology. The curators have drawn items from every continent, lots of different historical epochs and have woven in some remarkable historical anomalies. The striking thing about the exhibition for me is how creative humans are across the ages. Lots of the functional items are turned into items of striking beauty with artistic decoration and craftsmanship.

I will put some pics but say no more as it is best to see this one.

20161029_110520 20161029_110915 20161029_111108 20161029_111729 20161029_112147 20161029_113703 20161029_113911 20161029_115938 20161029_120419 20161029_120533 20161029_121032

Happy Birthday Play School : Celebrating 50 years @ National Museum of Australia

Its Canberra visit closes tomorrow July 24. For such a major part of Australia’s last half century the exhibition is small (surprisingly so). My thinking is that it was done that way so it can tour the nation and be managed by regional galleries.

Everything that a viewer wants to see is in the room. There are sections devoted to Ted, Gemima, the Rocket clock, the windows and heaps of the familiar parts of Play School. The layout enables people to see in real forms the things that have gripped chidren for the last fifty years. They have included a full list of the presenters, story boards, scriipts and many clips supplied on tablets.

This sort of exhibition is an important part of telling the nation’s story to the nation. There are some sample pics below.

20160716_142259 20160716_142353 20160716_142450 20160716_142529 20160716_142742 20160716_142932 20160716_143124 20160716_143201 20160716_143649

Encounters from British Museum @ National Museum of Australia

Encounters is a collaboration between the British Museum andsome Australian Indigenous people. The objects were chosen by Australian indigenous people to tell their stories. It  is a truly delightful experience to walk through the space and have stories told about indigenous life via objects taken from Australia over the last two hundred and 30 years.20160123_113646 20160123_114756 20160123_114802 20160123_114933 20160123_115749 20160123_120136 20160123_122301 20160123_122604 20160123_122632

I wept over some of the object linked stories

Here are some pics


The Home Front @ National Museum of Australia

Another of the plethora of exhibitions celebrating the mythical accretions flowing from the 100 years since WW1. The Home Front is a small temporary exhibition at the National Museum that walks the visitor through the experience of people in Australia while the war was being fought in Europe. There are panels of unionism, conscription campaigns, care packages, production and social adjustments that were driven by the Australian commitment to the European war.

The National Museum mounts these exhibition with a charm and creativity that is delightful and they bring out some remarkable treasures. Imagine this they have the hat, habit rosary beads and patent leather shoes warn by Archbishop Mannix. There is a fabulous timber easel on which someone has attached maybe a hundred fundraising buttons. There are profiles and pictures of a wide range of people whose link to the war effort is sometimes surprising. Overall it was nice to have this side of the story told with a sympathetic but not too romantic approach.

The NMA page for this exhibition is at

20150414_115704 20150414_120150 20150414_120217 20150414_120332 20150414_120434 20150414_121133

Warlpiri Drawings – Remembering the future @ National Museum of Australia

It has taken a few months to get to this one but it was worth it. So much Indigenous art I have seen has been grand scale paintings. This is a set of works done largely in colouring pencils on A4 sized sheets. The layout gives you a chance to walk and embrace a big collection of Indigenous images in their distinctive style. I will include below a few of my favourites even though you can see all on the website. The text with the exhibition is helpful and I enjoyed the show.

The National Museum website page for the exhibition has all the images on it for your perusal.

20150414_123606 20150414_123712 20150414_123805 20150414_123817 20150414_123827

Spirited – Australia’s Horse History @ National Museum of Australia

It took me months to get to this because of the other stuff on in town. With the summer break shutting lots of galleries I finally got there. I am glad I did. This is an exhibition that the NMA needed to put on. In telling Australians their stories it would be a bad mistake not to tell this one. I am city. I rode on horses as a kid – Canberra was a much smaller place with less to do so we went horse riding. As a nation horses have been such a central part of our formation and developent and this exhibition tells this story well.
I love it when curators put together complex stories with great materials. This is that type of exhibition. There is the early history with accompanying artworks. That is interwoven with great depictions of industry, family life, exploration, warfare, business, farming, sport and other horse uses all illustrated with big and small related objects and lots of well written supporting text.
Below are a few pics taken in the exhibitionIMAG3153







The NMA page

Old Masters @ National Museum of Australia

I love the title of this exhibition. The term is often used to refer to the Rembrandts of this world. Here it applies to a great group of traditional bark paintings in traditional indigenous communities in remote parts of Australia. None of them are particularly old but they all point back and engage an ancient tradition of cultural mapping and transfer that dates back well before Rembrandt.

The exhibition is grand. It is in the large temporary exhibition space. The bark paintings are hing on tall white walls interspersed with curved and angled panels of either gold or black.  The paintings are grouped in family groups and the educational panels are informative. There is a sit down space for a video on the artist groups included in the exhibition which we found entertaining and informative.

Over the years I am becoming more impressed with the quality and range of of art work generated in Indigenous circles.  This is a limited curation based on a type or tradition but it is rich, engaging and simply beautiful to look at.  At only $15 it was a wonderfully enjoyable way to spend an hour or so.

The website page at the National Museum for this is:


Glorious Days @ National Museum of Australia

An exhibition opened recently at the National Museum of Australia titled Glorious Days. It brings together a marvelous collection of artifacts and information about a large range of facets of Australian society in and around 1913.
In sport Fanny Durak went to the 1912 Olympics and Victor Trumper played in the Paterson.Shield. Professionalism in sport was becoming an issue were popular collectables. A boxer named Baker won a silver medal in the Olympics at 1908 and with backers parlayed it into a business success.

In nation building Australian currency and.postage developed. Our first banknote and.two stamps were made. A debate about appropriate images of the king verses a kangaroo ensued. May Gibbs registered copyright and the foundations for Australia House in London were laid.

The exhibition takes you through art, education, indigenous life, photography, transport, exploration and relations with places like Papua. My only disappointment was that having listened to a few of the hits of the year playable on a touch screen I could not buy them at the merchandising shop on the way out.  I would have thought that the copyright holders would leap at a re-release in conjunction with the show.

The website for the exhibition