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Visit by the United States Ambassador to Australia

A colour photograph of Matthew Higgins (left) and Ambassador Bleich viewing one of the displays in the Water exhibition. - click to view larger image
Matthew Higgins, left, and Ambassador Bleich

United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, visited Water: H2O=Life on 7 December 2009.

Ambassador Bleich showed strong interest in the exhibition and its several themes, including better water stewardship and the impact of climate change. The visit coincided with the opening of the world climate change conference in Copenhagen.

In the exhibition, the ambassador met and talked with students from Canberra's Melrose High School. He was escorted through the exhibition by senior curator Matthew Higgins after being welcomed by Museum Director Craddock Morton.

Exhibition opening

Daniel Gilbert and Alan Draeger standing in front of the fog screen at the entry to the Water exhibition. - click to view larger image
Danny Gilbert, Alan Draeger and Matthew Higgins

Water: H2O=Life was officially opened by Daniel Gilbert AM, Chair of the Council of the National Museum of Australia, on 2 December.

Alan Draeger, Assistant Director for Travelling Programs at the American Museum of Natural History also spoke at the opening held in the National Museum's Hall.

Gallery install

Installing a taxidermy mount - click to view larger image
Installing a taxidermy mount

For several weeks leading up to the opening of the Water exhibition, the National Museum's Temporary Gallery was a hive of activity.

Staff from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and from ADS Solutions in Melbourne, together with the Museum's exhibitions team and contractors, worked hard behind the scenes.

Murray Cod makes a splash

A staff member from the National Zoo and Aquarium about to place Murray in a tank of water. - click to view larger image
Murray about to be launched into his new home

'Murray', a 4kg Murray cod, was one of several live specimens on show in the Water exhibition. Murray came to the Museum with thanks to the National Zoo and Aquarium.

Murray helped visitors understand the importance of rivers and highlighted a 90 per cent decrease in native fish population in the Murray-Darling Basin since European settlement.

In the field

National Museum senior curator Matthew Higgins journeyed down the Murray River in 2009 as part of his preparation for the Water exhibition.

The trip along Australia's major river covered the span from the Murray's headwaters, south of Mt Kosciuszko, to Swan Hill in Victoria, in May 2009. Matthew returned to cover the stretch to the Murray's mouth in South Australia in September 2009.

The Murray trip was taken to inform the exhibition curatorial process, provide insights into the Murray and to share these with the broader community. The Murray's natural, historical, Indigenous and other values are key parts of Australia's water story.

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