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Speakers at the From Collections to Exhibitions symposium discuss the nature and uses of collection material and objects for display.

From collections to exhibitions – welcome and keynote address

Peter Stanley welcomes guests to the 2009 National Museum Collections Symposium and key speaker Howard Morphy looks at the significance of artefacts and the stories they can tell.
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Presenters: Howard Morphy and Peter Stanley

What was it like: a perspective on history in museums

Museum consultant Brian Crozier considers how material culture might be interpreted by museums for popular rather than academic audiences and examines the cultural contributions that museums make in the study of history.
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Presenters: Brian Crozier

A load of old rubbish: displaying archaeology of the modern city

Curator Charlotte Smith outlines the development of an exhibition at Museum Victoria based on urban archaeology. She discusses the challenges in interpreting the ‘rubbish’ and creating a snapshot of life in 19th-century Melbourne.

No presence in the case: looking for Tahiti in world museums

The presence of objects from Tahiti in museums across the world is examined by historian Jenny Newell. She discusses the representations of Tahiti over the years and suggests how museums might renew Tahitian exhibitions and collections.
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Presenters: Jenny Newell

Dead museum animals: from ‘order of nature’ to chaos of culture

Libby Robin looks at the use of dead animal collections in museums. She examines the scientific precedents behind these collections and how they are evolving from representations of science to components of social history and art studies.

A cast of thousands: redevelopment of Circa

National Museum curators and researchers discuss the development of the Museum’s introductory Circa rotating theatre. They examine its function and the use of new narratives to explore the National Historical Collection.
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Presenters: Bronwyn Dowdall, Martha Sear and Jennifer Wilson

Objects to stories: using thematic studies to develop exhibitions at volunteer museums in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region

Curator Liz Gillroy discusses the development of exhibitions at volunteer museums in northern New South Wales, examining methodologies, education, training and support from the wider museum sector.

Flora Pell: Australia’s first domestic goddess

Alison Wishart examines the challenges of displaying rare cookery books in museums. She focuses on Flora Pell’s Our Cookery Book, published in 1916, and suggests display methods to allow better visitor interaction.

From flat things big things grow!

Elspeth Wishart outlines the challenges facing the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in exhibiting important two-dimensional artefacts. She relates how the museum must balance the needs of visitors with the care of these artefacts, a letter and a flag.
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Presenters: Elspeth Wishart

Into the light

Conservator Nicola Smith examines the management of exhibition light levels at the Museum. She addresses display periods, object replacement and new non-destructive methods of assessing object degradation from light.

Victoria Police Museum: collecting crime

Collections manager Liz Marsden outlines the objectives of the Victoria Police Museum, examines its exhibitions and how the presentation of stories can create challenges in regard to the emotional ‘charge’ experienced by some visitors.

Online exhibitions

Mary-Elizabeth Andrews examines an online exhibition about war brides at the Australian National Maritime Museum. She considers the use of objects, access, technical and moral concerns and how museums can reconnect with communities.
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Presenters: Mary-Elizabeth Andrews

Before the badges, before the T-shirts, before the flag

Curator Jay Arthur on the creation of a new exhibition on the struggle for Indigenous civil rights from 1920 to 1970. She examines the notion of the ‘untold’ story and the challenge in assembling objects to tell this story.

Review of the National Museum of Australia’s Australian Journeys gallery

Historian Michael Cathcart critiques the new Australian Journeys gallery, which traces Australia’s interconnections with the world. Exhibition curator Martha Sear responds, in a discussion chaired by museum general manager Louise Douglas.
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Presenters: Michael Cathcart and Martha Sear, with Louise Douglas
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