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Canberrans share stories of emigration

23 MAY 2006

A popular exhibition that captures the powerful emotions of British emigration to Australia in the 19th century closes at the National Museum of Australia soon.

The Canberra show is the last chance to see the exhibition of 55 paintings and 20 fascinating objects, which will be returned to their owners around Australia and the world after Exiles and Emigrants: Epic Journeys to Australia in the Victorian Era closes on Sunday, 4 June.

The response to the exhibition has been excellent and many visitors have responded to an invitation to tell their story. Canberrans who have migrated from locations including the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and Asia, have contributed letters about their experiences and those of their ancestors.

'Exiles and Emigrants has proved popular with Museum visitors, many of whom have felt considerable empathy for those who left their homeland for a country so foreign and far away,' National Museum director Craddock Morton said.

The Museum is also hosting a Victorian era parlour performance this Sunday, 28 May, with poetry recitals, songs from the era, high tea and a talk about life in the 1800s.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Media are invited to a dress rehearsal for the Victorian parlour performance at 11am on Thursday, 25 May, in the Friends Lounge of the National Museum.

Exiles and Emigrants tells the emotional stories of the greatest diaspora in Western history and is the first time art and objects produced in the reign of Queen Victoria have been used to tell the story of the unprecedented exodus of almost 15 million people from Britain between 1837 and 1901.

An exhibition highlight is Ford Madox Brown's masterpiece, The Last of England, lent by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery outside of Britain for the first time. Other featured artists include Richard Redgrave, Elizabeth Butler, Charles Conder, Thomas Webster and Frederick McCubbin.

Exiles and Emigrants: Epic Journeys to Australia in the Victorian Era is a National Gallery of Victoria touring exhibition on show in the National Museum of Australia's Temporary Exhibition Gallery from 21 April to 4 June. Entry: $8 adult, $6 concession,
$3 children, $18 family. This exhibition has been generously supported by Tattersall's. Qantas is the support sponsor.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Leanda Kitchen on
02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or Ellen Peterson on 02 6208 5351 or media@nma.gov.au