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The Museum this year reviewed its policy for temporary and travelling exhibitions and developed a five-year schedule for its temporary galleries and travelling exhibitions program. Under the policy, the Museum's focus will shift from major temporary exhibitions to smaller travelling exhibitions of less than 300 square metres. Once every two years the Museum may develop a larger exhibition (of approximately 300-500 square metres) for the main temporary gallery, which will then travel to metropolitan venues and larger regional centres.
Travelling and temporary exhibitions form a fundamental component of the Museum's strategy to provide community access to the National Historical Collection.
Temporary and travelling exhibitions policy, February 2005
The Museum has three galleries that display temporary exhibitions and during the year presented a wide range of exhibitions.
The Museum developed this exhibition to explore the country's enthusiasm for the Queen during her royal tour in 1954, and Australia's relationship with the monarchy today. The exhibition was displayed in the Nation Focus Gallery from February to October 2004.
This exhibition was developed by the Australian Sugar Industry Museum and examined the history of South Sea Islanders in Australia's sugar cane industry. It was displayed in the First Australians gallery from March to August 2004.
Lost for 500 years: Sunken Treasures of Brunei
The Museum hosted this exhibition, developed by Art Exhibitions Australia, from August to October 2004. It presented the story of the discovery, exploration, archaeological excavation, conservation and research into the cargo of a late fifteenth-century Asian trading vessel that sank off the coast of the Brunei sultanate. The cargo included a diverse range of Chinese and mainland South-East Asian ceramics.
Photo (right): His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Brunei-Darussalem's Minister for Foreign Affairs, joins Sentaor the Hon. Robert Hill and curator Dick Richards in the Sunken Treasures of Brunei exhibition.
A World without Polio: Truly Remarkable
Rotary Australia developed this exhibition with assistance from the Museum. On display in the Nation Focus Gallery from December 2004 to February 2005, the exhibition looked at Rotary's work to eradicate polio around the world over the past 20 years.
Photo (right): The Hon. Kim Beazley, MP, shares his childhood polio experience with (left to right) Freda Hanley, Jenny Hertz, Bill Rowlings and Kris Klugman.
Extremes: Survival in the Great Deserts of the Southern Hemisphere
This major Museum-developed exhibition showcased the human and environmental histories of Australia's Red Centre, the Namib and Kalahari deserts in southern Africa and the Atacama Desert in South America. Following the Tropic of Capricorn, it took visitors on a journey through the archaeology and landscapes of these hard dry lands and provided a strong comparative perspective on Australian experience. The exhibition opened in December 2004 and will end in August 2005.
The Museum launched five scholarly books in association with Extremes , developed an education kit for schools, held a series of public forums on aspects of desert experience, and organised a highly successful family day.
Mirror Mirror: Reflections of Beauty
This exhibition, to be co-curated with the National Gallery of Victoria, was cancelled due to the unavailability of significant loan objects which would have compromised the quality of the exhibition.
The Museum also presented a number of short-term displays in the Hall. These displays included:
- Holden motor car display (January 2005), showcasing the Museum's collection of vintage Holden cars
- Mr Speedway display to coincide with the Annual General Meeting of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club in Canberra (March 2005). This display included two NHC items - the Golden Gauntlet and Silver Helmet trophies - plus the loan of two speedway motorbikes
- Royal Agricultural Society Challenge Shield which had been presented to Eastern Suburbs captain Dally Messenger in 1913, and donated to the Museum by his family in March 2005
- Hans Christian Andersen 2005 (June 2005), to celebrate the bicentennial of his birth.