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Nicole McLennan

Nicole McLennan, Curator

My latest blog post

Not all horse play

By Nicole McLennan
04 Feb 2014
Nowadays when you talk about a ‘work horse’, you are probably referring to a ute, truck or some other form...
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About Nicole

Portrait of Nicole McLennan
Nicole McLennan. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

In 1999, I joined the National Museum of Australia as one of a team of curators developing the Horizons gallery for the Museum's opening day exhibitions in Canberra.

Since then I have worked in a range of cultural institutions in Australia and in the United Kingdom. My role has frequently entailed working with local communities to engage with, record, preserve and exhibit their histories.

I returned to the National Museum of Australia in 2012 to work on a temporary exhibition project about the history of the horse in Australia.


Tel +61 2 6208 5311


Horses in Australia, new National Museum temporary and travelling exhibition on the history of horses and humans in Australia, opening in 2014. Role: curator.

Home Away From Home: London's Irish County Associations, Temporary exhibition staged at City Hall, London and the London Irish Centre, Camden (UK), 2011. Role: curator and project manager.

Women of a 'High Lean Country', Travelling exhibition curated with five museums in the New England region and staged in Gunnedah, Tamworth, Narrabri, Inverell and Glen Innes, 2007. Role: curator and project manager.

Pens and Presses: Education and Print in Nineteenth Century New England, joint temporary exhibition with the Museum of Printing at the New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, 2003. Role: co-curator and project manager.

Horizons: The Peopling of Australia since 1788 gallery at the National Museum of Australia, 1999-2001. Role: co-curator, content development, program management and delivery.


Unlocking Regional Memory. Archival project jointly conducted between the archives at the University of Wollongong, Newcastle and New England, 2002. Role: content development of New England material.

Select publications

‘Eric Dunlop and the origins of Australia’s folk museums’, in reCollections: a journal of museums and collections, vol. 1, no. 2, September 2006, pp. 130-51.

‘Collecting and Presenting the Past’, in Alan Atkinson, JS Ryan, Iain Davidson & Andrew Piper (eds), High Lean Country: Land People and Memory in New England, Allen & Unwin. Sydney, 2006, pp. 263-75 (co-author with Alan Atkinson, Bill Oates and Andrew Piper).

‘Henry Van de Velde’, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 16, MUP, Carlton, 2002, pp. 435-6.

‘Christopher James Perrett’, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 15, MUP, Carlton, 2000, pp. 593-4.

‘Glimpses of Unassisted English Women Arriving in Victoria, 1860-1900’, in Eric Richards (ed.), Visible Women; Female Immigrants in Colonial Australia, Vol. 4, Australian National University, Canberra, 1995, pp. 59-84.

We also want to investigate how these objects help us understand the diverse relationships and powerful bonds that have formed between horses and people in Australia, and to ask what these connections look like from the horse’s, as well as the human’s, point of view. We hope this will help us think and talk more broadly about how Australians might, into the future, imagine and construct the lives we share with our other-than-human companions on this continent.