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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: loans (6)

19th century anatomical model

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
15 February 2012
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A long-time resident of Melbourne Museum's Mind and Body Gallery has retired from display to be replaced by an equally lovely, but more feminine, colleague. These two extraordinary 19th century anatomical models belong to the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney. Made from papier-mâché at the factory of Dr Louis Thomas Jerôme Auzoux, they were important teaching aids for budding anatomists at the university.

Male and female anatomical models Left: Male Auzoux anatomical model as he appeared in the Mind and Body Gallery. Right: Female Auzoux anatomical model before she was installed in the gallery in January.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Dr Auzoux (1797–1880) was a French anatomist who, frustrated at the limited usefulness of genuine cadavers and wax models for learning about the human body, began producing papier-mâché models of humans, animals, organs and plants. Where a human cadaver could only be dissected once and wax models deteriorated from use, papier-mâché was durable, lightweight and could be used over and over again. His models were very popular and continued production after his death. The arrival of plastic in the 20th century superseded papier-mâché as a material, but for decades his models were unsurpassed.

They were formed in lead moulds under high pressure from a mix of papier-mâché, clay and cork. The surface was covered with veins made from linen-covered wire and then hand-painted, varnished and labelled. The handwork means that each model - and there are examples in museums worldwide – has a distinctive character and unique appearance.

Nurin Veis is the curator responsible for the Mind and Body Gallery exhibitions. "We've included a variety of multidisciplinary ways of looking at science and medicine," she explains. "This model is a great example where art meets science which is a rich area that many people are interested in. I think she's beautiful. All that work – each model is individually crafted, not like the plastic anatomical models that are churned out."

female anatomical model in crate The new arrival peering out from the custom-made travel crate that carried her from Sydney to Melbourne.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Nurin Veis with arm of anatomical model Dr Nurin Veis looking at the arm of the female anatomical model.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The first thing you'll notice is that she is unusually proportioned with a small head and very broad hips. This remains an inexplicable curiosity; female Auzoux models are extremely rare and there aren't many to compare her with.

Nurin is fascinated by the model's odd shape and stance. "It's what they have and haven't fleshed out – her head is so small but they've made such a big issue of her hips. I can't help thinking that the external form was possibly done from sketches. It doesn't look like it's been modelled from life. The discrete way that she's trying to hide her body and all the things that it says about gender roles is very interesting."

The female model's torso opens up to reveal her internal organs but unfortunately there was not room in the showcase to permit this for display. Before she was installed, we took photographs of her insides. She is in wonderful condition for her age but for one thing: she does not have a heart. No one knows if her heart was lost, stolen or strayed; the Macleay Museum has no record of her ever having one.

conservator with anatomical model Conservator Helen Privett opening the female anatomical model's torso to reveal her heartless core.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

The Human Body exhibition

Macleay Museum at Sydney University

Lack of human cadavers? Turn to papier-mâché medicine (New Scientist blog)

The papier-mache anatomist (Curious Expeditions)

MV loans at the MCG

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
24 August 2011
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Just a quick jaunt from Melbourne Museum is the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground, spiritual home of sport in this city, Since 2008 it has also housed the National Sports Museum. I dropped in to the NSM last week to visit several Museum Victoria collection objects borrowed for their displays.

In the Champions gallery, the Australian Racing Museum tells the story of thoroughbred horseracing in Australia through objects, pictures and sound. The skeleton of the racehorse Carbine is on loan from MV but more recently, one of Prue Acton's amazing Melbourne Cup Day outfits joined a display of race day fashions across the eras. At one end there is a full-length white dress worn by Florence Martha Cullen in 1890 when she watched Carbine win the cup; at the other end is an outfit worn by Gai Waterhouse just a few years ago. There's also an outfit worn by Fashions on the Field judge Beatrice Sneddon in 1965.

Jacket & Skirt - Prue Acton, `Concorde', Melbourne Cup, 1984 Jacket & Skirt - Prue Acton, `Concorde', Melbourne Cup, 1984 (SH 942111). The ensemble also includes a matching belt, hat, gloves and bag. Just the jacket, skirt and belt are displayed at the National Sports Museum.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Prue Acton's 'Concorde' ensemble from 1984 was based on a Cubist or Geometric design. Lorinda Cramer, Collection Manager at the Australian Racing Museum, chose the outfit for display. "It's an amazing piece and I loved the lines in it," she said. "It's so perfectly constructed with pinstripes that match beautifully. It's an engineering feat!"

The jacket's shoulders are spectacularly wide in classic 1980s style. "It really speaks of the era," said Jackie Fraser, Assistant Curator at the National Sports Museum. MV conservators helped with the installation and according to Lorinda, "it was great fun padding out the shoulders! It surprised us all... there was so much fabric in them." Textiles age rapidly under bright light and require special care to protect and support them. "The conservators spent a lot of time getting it just perfect," said Jackie. "The cases have low lighting so that some textiles can be on display for up to a year."

Concorde ensemble installation Lorinda (left) and Jackie putting the Concorde ensemble back in place in the Champions gallery showcase after changing the ensemble behind it.
Source: National Sports Museum
 

Downstairs from the Champions gallery, curator Helen Walpole was working to finish installing a new temporary exhibition. Now open, Hidden History of the MCG tells the story of the Melbourne icon with treasures from the collections managed by the Melbourne Cricket Club. Did you know that a brass ship's bell announced the end of the football before the siren was introduced? Or that the first architect's sketches of the Great Southern Stand were doodled on a paper napkin?

In one showcase, two seagull specimens borrowed from MV and photographs illustrate birdlife interrupting play. When seagulls aren't begging for chips in the MCG stands, they're "being hit by cricketers and getting in the way of footballers," said Helen. She clearly has a soft spot for the specimens, explaining "we've named them – JL, or Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Steven – Steven Seagal. JL looks a lot more calm and Steven looks like an aggressive action hero."

Helen Walpole with seagulls Curator Helen Walpole with seagull specimens nicknamed Steven Seagal (left) and JL (right).
Source: Museum Victoria

The two mounts were prepared by MV's Dean Smith and Jim Couzens with their usual care. "There is so much detail in them. Where the feathers meet the beak is just astonishing; beautifully done," Helen admired.

The National Sports Museum is open 10.00am – 5.00pm daily. It is closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Links:

Video of Carbine's assembly on the National Sports Museum's Facebook page

'Concorde' ensemble on Collections Online

MV News archive: Having a lend

MV News archive: From Melbourne to Maine

Creatures that rule the dusk and dawn

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
16 May 2011
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The City Gallery at the Melbourne Town Hall is crawling with possums, owls, moths and other twilight creatures in the new exhibition, Crepuscular. Here you can observe the animals that often escape our notice as we rush home from work or retreat from winter to cosier climates indoors.

Curated by honorary Museum Victoria associate, John Kean, the exhibition includes specimens and Prodromus illustrations on loan from MV, and specially-commissioned taxidermy by Dean Smith (who also works as a senior museum preparator). There are also new artworks by local artists Alexis Beckett, Mali Moir, and John Pastoiza-Pinol,and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the exquisite portraits of invertebrates by botanical artist Dianne Emery.

Emperor Gum Moth Emperor Gum Moth eggs, caterpillar, adult, cocoon and imago, Opodiphthera eucalypti 2011. Watercolour on Kelmscott vellum 25x 20 cm
Image: Dianne Emery
Source: Dianne Emery
 

Crepuscular presents a fascinating picture of the life in urban Melbourne that exists and persists despite – but sometimes because of – human activity. For every loser there's a winner: clearing habitat has caused the loss of many species (such as quolls, which remained in remnant populations at Kew's Studley Park until just a few decades ago) but plantings of exotic trees have been a boon for others. An abundance of fruit trees drew in the Grey-headed Flying Foxes for the first time, while Powerful Owls have emerged from the forests to take up residence in city parks and grow fat on the possums.

Crepuscular is on at the City Gallery until 6 July 2011. Be sure to find the spot in the room where all eyes are upon you...

Links:

City Gallery at Melbourne Town Hall

Question of the Week: Emperor Gum Moth

Emperor Gum Moth on Caught and Coloured

The Age: 'Critters of the night shift'

CSIRAC display in California

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
3 February 2011
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In 2008, senior curator David Demant gave a talk about CSIRAC at the Computer History Museum in California's Silicon Valley. CSIRAC is the only surviving first-generation computer in the world, and is a key item in MV's Information and Communication Collection.

Following David's visit, two CSIRAC items were borrowed by the Computer History Museum for their new exhibition Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing. The objects - a replica paper tape that holds a CSIRAC program and an amplifier from CSIRAC's memory - feature in a section called 'The Birth of the Computer' beside the 1953 computer JOHNIAC.

Display case containting CSIRAC amplifier and paper tape Display case containing CSIRAC amplifier and paper tape at the Computer History Museum.
Source: Computer History Museum
 

JOHNIAC display JOHNIAC on display in the exhibition Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing.
Source: Computer History Museum
 

It's great to see an Australian-built computer - and the fourth computer ever built - represented in this important timeline of computing history.

Links:

CSIRAC: Australia's First Computer

What's On: CSIRAC

Computer History Museum

Farewell to Phar Lap's skeleton

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
25 January 2011
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The Melbourne Gallery was filled with beautiful harmonies this morning as a group of Maori performers sang and danced to farewell Phar Lap's skeleton, which will return to New Zealand next week.

Maori performance group Te Waka Raukura Maori performance group Te Waka Raukura sing and dance in front of the Phar Lap Reunion display.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Performers from Te Waka Raukura. Performers from Te Waka Raukura.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A performer from Te Waka Raukura. A performer from Te Waka Raukura.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On loan from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the skeleton has been on display next to Phar Lap's hide since September 2010 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Cup.

Today's performers, Te Waka Raukura, provided a wonderful send-off for the skeleton. It has been an honour for us to have the skeleton and send thanks to all who made this reunion possible. The Phar Lap Reunion display can be seen until Sunday 30 January.

Maori performance Media and museum visitors gathered to enjoy the music and dancing.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

MV News: Phar Lap reunion

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

MV Blog: The crates have arrived!

The crates have arrived!

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
14 September 2010
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In April the Racing Minister Rob Hulls put out a call to reunite Phar Lap's heart, skeleton and hide to mark the 150th anniversary of anniversary of the Melbourne Cup. His heart, which lives in Canberra at the National Museum, is too fragile to travel. However his skeleton, usually on display at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, was sturdy enough to make the trip.

Now, after months of planning and packing, it's here! It arrived late last night in two custom-built crates.

Phar Lap's skeleton in the lift Phar Lap's skeleton being escorted up from the loading dock at Melbourne Museum.
Image: Karen Jakubec
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Of course, we can't be sure it's in there until the crates are opened tomorrow by AQIS, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Until then the crates will sit quietly in the collection store. We can't wait to see his skeleton and hide displayed side by side on Thursday.

Phar Lap skeleton in crates The crates containing Phar Lap's skeleton awaiting quarantine inspection.
Image: Karen Jakubec
Source: Museum Victoria
 

If you want to know more about the skeleton, have a look at Te Papa's wonderful video about its preparation for travel:

 

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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