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31 May 2004

Ten Australian cities and towns are being invited to open wide and come inside to Hickory Dickory Dock a travelling National Museum of Australia exhibition exploring the changing face of Play School.

Hickory Dickory Dock traces the history of the iconic ABC children's program and is visiting Shepparton, Wagga, Perth, Chinchilla, Geelong, Toowoomba, Launceston, Albury, Ipswich and Kalgoorlie on its national tour.

The tour starts in Shepparton this week, with popular Play School presenter, actor and comedian Rhys Muldoon officially opening the exhibition at 5.30pm on Thursday, 3 June.

'Hickory Dickory Dock was extremely popular with visitors when it first went on show at the National Museum in Canberra two years ago, because Play School's appeal is multi-generational,' National Museum curator Sophie Jensen said.

'I'm sure many more visitors will be taken back to their childhood, or that of their children and grand children, when they see Big Ted, the rocket and flower clocks and their favourite presenters.'

The exhibition centres around iconic props donated to the National Museum after a set redesign on Play School, which this year clocks up 38 years on Australian television.

'We meet the characters Humpty, Jemima and the rest of the toys along with archival footage of the 'people with games' presenters including Noni Hazlehurst, John Waters, John Hamblin, Jay Laga'aia and Deborah Mailman,' Ms Jensen said.

Hickory Dickory Dock peeks behind the scenes and celebrates some of Play School's regular educational features telling the time and exploring the outside world through the famous arch, round and square windows.

Hickory Dickory Dock was developed with the assistance of the ABC and is supported by Visions of Australia.

Hickory Dickory Dock is on show in 2004 at: Shepparton Art Gallery, 4 June - 11 July; Museum of the Riverina, Wagga, 16 July - 29 August; Museum of Early Childhood, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 9 September - 15 December. The 2005 venues are: Chinchilla White Gums Gallery; National Wool Museum, Geelong; Cobb & Co Branch, Queensland Museum, Toowoomba; Queen Victoria Art Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. The 2006 venues are: Albury Regional Museum; Global Arts Link, Ipswich; and the Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Leanda Coleman, National Museum of Australia, 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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