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The end of Eternity

29 May 17

Eternity: Stories from the Emotional Heart of Australia

In the 16 years that Eternity has been open it has featured the stories of more than 130 people, grouped within the exhibition’s ten distinctive emotional themes. This was a dramatic departure from themes used in more traditional museums and opened up exciting ways to examine the lives of Australian people and connect these lives in a new way, to the lives of our visitors.

As one of five permanent exhibitions developed for the National Museum's opening in 2001, Eternity is familiar and much loved. Eternity’s task was to examine the theme of ‘Australian people’ – it was a broad brief! Our ambition was to make an exhibition that was distinctive, unpredictable and unique – showing a new way in Australian museology and history. I believe that we achieved this.

  • Montage of neon signs with text in various colours and fonts reading: 'chance, thrill, mystery, devotion, fear, separation, joy, loneliness, hope, passion'.
    Emotional themes
  • Smiling elderly lady wearing a lilac jacket and pearls
    Nancy Bird-Walton
  • A woman talking to another woman in a wheel chair, in front of a large display cabinet with various objects.
    Heather Rose
  • Two women in conversation.
    Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton
  • Man in sequined top adjusting colourful adornments on a costume that is worn by a mannequin
    Ron Muncaster
  • Man standing with his hand resting on a mannequin displaying a white t-shirt with an image and text on the back
    Simon Quayle
  • Man wearing a gas mask and clothing displaying words of protest
    Benny Zable
  • Young man in a patterned shirt, standing in front of a large glass exhibition display case
    Tim Sharp
  • Large group of men wearing leather jackets, inspecting an exhibition display
    Vietnam Veterans

Touching lives

Eternity is an exhibition that has touched many lives. It has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the people featured, as well as their families, colleagues, friends and descendants. People have loaned or donated objects, they have shared their letters, their diaries, their thoughts, their laughter and their tears. They provided insights into the range of human experience within Australian history.

Lengthy … but not eternal!

The closure of Eternity will make way for exciting developments in the permanent exhibition spaces at the Museum. However, before moving on to the new it is time to thank all of the people that made the Eternity exhibition possible and to celebrate this remarkable and memorable exhibition.

Eternity closes at 5pm on Thursday 1 June 2017.

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