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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: your questions (17)

Beyond Bunjilaka

Author
by Katrina
Publish date
9 April 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

Your Question: Now that the Jumbunna exhibition space in Bunjilaka has closed, what Aboriginal cultural experiences can I have?

The exhibition space 'Jumbunna', part of the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum has closed for an exciting redevelopment of the space.

Former exhibitions in Jumbunna include Koori Voices, Belonging to Country and Two Laws. The redevelopment will see a stronger focus on the vibrant and living Victorian Aboriginal culture and will provide dynamic and contemporary experiences as well as showcasing items from the incredible Aboriginal cultural material collection held in trust by Museum Victoria. The gallery will remain closed for redevelopment until mid-2013; however, Bunjilaka remains open, hosting a range of Aboriginal experiences.

Birrarung Birrarung
Image: James Henry
Source: Museum Victoria

Birrarung Gallery, located in the Bunjilaka, is a space dedicated to Victorian Aboriginal artists and is where you can experience some of the best Aboriginal artists in Australia, showcasing their culture and talent through various art forms, from painting and photography to 3D installation and audio visual. This space has three exhibitions a year and is currently exhibiting River Woman by Aunty Barb Egan, which explores her connection to her home of Robinvale, in the northwest of Victoria, and to the Murray River through a series of lino prints, embossing and painting.

‘River Woman’ exhibition in Birrarung River Woman exhibition in Birrarung
Image: James Henry
Source: Museum Victoria

Aunty Barb Aunty Barb
Image: James Henry
Source: Museum Victoria

Bunjilaka also has an indigenous plant garden called Milarri. This will remain open for visitors to learn about the natural resources important to Aboriginal people of southeastern Australia and about their traditional uses. Melbourne Museum's Forest Gallery, also displaying indigenous plants and animals, is another space where you can learn creation stories of Melbourne and about the seasons of the Kulin calendar, traditionally used by the Aboriginal people of Melbourne and surrounds.

Aunty Barb in her studio Aunty Barb in her studio
Image: Kimberley Moulton
Source: Museum Victoria

The Koori Voices exhibition is currently being de-installed and will be re-installed within the museum for visitors to experience by July 2012. Bunjilaka's weekend and holiday programs will be run throughout the year and can be viewed on the Melbourne Museum and Bunjilaka websites.

The education sessions 'Our Shared History' is still available and can be booked through the museum booking office. Our Shared History is an opportunity for visitors to learn about the history and diversity of Australia's Aboriginal cultures, with a strong focus on Victoria and southeastern Australia. Learn about Victoria's 38 language groups, Aboriginal usage of both indigenous flora and fauna, and many other facets of Victoria's vibrant Aboriginal cultures.

From April 21 through to June 24, Bunjilaka will be hosting a fun weekend activity for children called 'Bunjil's Bullroarers'. Children and their families will have an opportunity to learn about, make and decorate their very own bullroarer. The bullroarer is a traditional musical instrument used by Aboriginal people for communication and ceremonial purposes.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links

River Woman exhibition

Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook

Author
by Max
Publish date
25 March 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: What did Caroline Chisholm do behind the Shelter Shed?

A bit of scrapbooking apparently...

Having such a large online presence, as Museum Victoria has, we in the Discovery Centre are always asked if we can provide copies of the brochures, passenger lists, workshop manuals, etc, that feature in our massive Internet Empire. In order to satisfy this demand, we have to apply subtle pressure on a variety of curators, collection managers and photographers, in order to have these articles scanned.

Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook A page from Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook.
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

However, in the case of Caroline Chisholm’s scrapbook, we can casually point out to the inquisitive enquirer, that by scrolling down the webpage, they will see the heading ‘Downloads’ followed by ‘Caroline Chisholm’s Scrapbook PDF 129.3 Mb’. Eureka! This unique piece of Australia’s history can be all yours at the click of a button. Now, at your leisure, you can peruse the pages of Caroline’s life and works.

Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861 Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Who attended the ‘Soiree to Mrs. Chisholm’? Prince Albert did, that’s who. As did ‘The Ladies who have honoured us with their company’. Is one of your ancestors on ‘Mrs. Chisholm’s List of Missing Friends’? Margaret Lyons was looking for her brother Luck Lyons; Mrs. Tipple couldn’t find her husband Thomas Tipple and Mr. Wright could not be found which left his ‘Wife in great distress with six children’. And what did Charles Dickens say about Mrs. Chisholm? The answer can be found on ‘page 12’.

Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861 Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Caroline Chisholm’s scrapbook is not the only scanned item available for download on our website, but it is a particular favourite of mine. Thanks to the unsung heroes of the museum – the MV Studios folk who scan these wonderful items, all your questions can now be answered. We salute you!

UPDATE!  The Caroline Chisholm Scrapbook has been digitised and is now fully accessible online and can be seen here!

Got a question? Ask us!

Links 

Caroline Chisolm's scrapbook

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

The colour of birds' eggs

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
19 March 2012
Comments
Comments (6)

Your Question: Why are bird eggs so variable in their colours and patterns?

The colour and colour pattern of bird eggs vary enormously from species to species (and often between individuals of the same species, and sometimes between the eggs of the same mother).

  A tray of eggs from Museum Victoria's H.L White egg collection, showing the diversity of patterns and colours for a single species, the Australian Magpie <i>Gymnorhina tibicen</i>. A tray of eggs from Museum Victoria's H.L White egg collection, showing the diversity of patterns and colours for a single species, the Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen.
Image: Michelle McFarlane
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Eggs are made of calcium carbonate, which is white. White is therefore the default colour for bird eggs, but many birds lay coloured or colourfully-patterned eggs. Why?

The colouration of bird eggs can often be explained by the animal's biology and behaviour. The eggs of ground-nesting birds, for example, need to be well-camouflaged to avoid discovery by predators. They are usually coloured and patterned to match the substrate they are laid upon.

The highly-camouflaged eggs of the American Golden Plover <i>Pluvialis dominica</i>, which nests on the ground. The highly-camouflaged eggs of the American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica, which nests on the ground.
Image: MeegsC
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Tree-nesters, on the other hand, usually have blue or green eggs.

American Robin <i>Turdus migratorius</i> eggs in nest The American Robin, Turdus migratorius, which nests in trees, lays bright blue eggs.
Image: Laslovarga
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Birds whose eggs are hidden from view (in hollows, burrows or deep nests), or who sit on their eggs continuously throughout incubation, tend to have white eggs.

  The now extinct Paradise Parrot <i> Psephotus pulcherrimus</i>, which laid its eggs in termite mounds, had white, unpatterned eggs. The now extinct Paradise Parrot Psephotus pulcherrimus, which laid its eggs in termite mounds, had white, unpatterned eggs.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The patterns on eggs have developed over eons via natural selection – the better the camouflage, the more likely the eggs are to survive and pass on the genes for well-camouflaged eggs to the next generation. Ornithologists have classified egg patterns and given each "style" a name in order to distinguish them: splashed, blotched, spotted, dotted, marbled, streaked, scrawled, overlaid, capped, and wreathed.

Eggs from Museum Victoria's Ornithology Collection Eggs from Museum Victoria's Ornithology Collection
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

Colour also provides another form of protection: it is thought to act as a sunscreen, protecting the developing foetus from UV light. The addition of colour also strengthens the eggshell. Birds that are calcium-deficient lay thin-shelled eggs, which are more likely to break. Scientists have found that birds that have multiple clutches in a single season have more highly-coloured eggs in the second and subsequent clutches (when the mother's calcium supplies are reduced). Patterned colouration is also more common in areas with calcium-deficient soils.

The specific colours are incorporated into the shell in the final stage of egg development. Blue and green colour comes from a pigment called biliverdin (which is the same pigment that causes green bruises in humans). In egg colouration, biliverdin comes from bile; the red and brown colour on eggs comes from protoporphyrins, which comes from blood.

The Red-vented Bulbul <i>Pycnonotus cafer</i> lays red eggs. The Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer lays red eggs.
Image: J. M. Garg
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Australia's native birds are protected. It is illegal to collect eggs or to interfere with birds' nests without a permit. Details of regulations and permits can be obtained from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Links:

Museum Victoria's Ornithology Collection

H.L. White Collection of Australian Birds’ Eggs

The evolution of egg colour and patterning in birds

Australian Magpie Eggs

Locating living people

Author
by Nicole D
Publish date
11 March 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: I am trying to trace my aunt and uncle and their children or any of their living relatives. They migrated to Australia after World War II in the 1940s or early 1950s. How would I go about finding them?

Locating living people is a question we often get and, although it can be very difficult, there are a number of resources that might help you to find them:

• For those that immigrated here in the mid 20th century, the first step would be to order their immigration records, which are held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA). This will give you information about their immigration and may give some indication of where they went when they arrived in Australia. These documents might then allow you to know where to search for further information in electoral rolls, public registries and other resources

The National Archives website has online indexes, which feature a percentage of records in their collection. A step by step guide to using these indexes and ordering documents can be found on our Quick guide to passenger lists infosheet.

Newly Arrived Migrant Family Standing Near Temporary Accommodation, Ringwood East, 1955 Newly Arrived Migrant Family Standing Near Temporary Accommodation, Ringwood East, 1955
Image: unknown photographer
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• Electoral rolls list all the names and addresses of registered voters within Australia. The State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre holds archived as well as current electoral rolls dating from 1856 until the present. For more information about accessing electoral rolls contact the State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre or the Victorian Electoral Commission.

• Copies of Birth Deaths and Marriages certificates may reveal useful personal information and allow you to trace your relative’s descendents. Births, deaths and marriage registries are run by different government departments in each state and some have a limited amount of information in online indexes.

• A simple search of the telephone directories may reveal the location of relatives. The White Pages is available online or you may wish to peruse hardcopies, which are often available at state, and sometimes local, libraries.

Man, Woman & Two Girls, Backyard, Ukrainian Christmas Day, Newport, 1951 Man, Woman & Two Girls, Backyard, Ukrainian Christmas Day, Newport, 1951
Image: unknown photographer
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• If your relatives belong to a specific migrant community, a relevant community organisation may be able to give you advice about finding them.

• Search digitised newspapers at the National Library of Australia’s Trove website for mentions of their name. With hundreds of national, state and local newspapers digitised from 1803 to 1954, you may find a mention of them.

• Their may be an online bulletin board for the ship your relative came on or a migrant camp in which they may have stayed. Many people find each other through such forums so it might be a great place to throw your question out to the wider world.

Mother, Boy & Girl Sitting on Public Seat, Middle Park, 1949 Mother, Boy & Girl Sitting on Public Seat, Middle Park, 1949
Image: Mr Cliff Atkinson
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• Doing an online search for their names might reveal something. While it sounds obvious, many don’t think of it! Lots of people are online these days with personal websites, blogs, social networking, business websites and so forth.

• Various organisations have tracing services that may, in certain circumstances, be able to locate missing family members.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links:

Post World War II Immigration in Photographs

Tjukurrtjanu to travel

Author
by Simon
Publish date
5 March 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

Your Question: Which Museum Victoria exhibition is going to Paris this year?

The stunning Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art exhibition, a collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and Museum Victoria in partnership with Papunya Tula Pty Ltd, is off to France. This exhibition was on show at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and is now being carefully packed to be sent to Paris for display at the Musée du quai Branly in October this year.

Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972 Anatjari Tjakamarra, Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

It is a wonderful example of cooperation between public institutions and generous private lenders to bring together and showcase over 200 paintings completed between 1971 and 1972 from the Papunya region of the Western Desert. This initial production of paintings represented the founding of the Western Desert art movement and led to an explosive growth in the Aboriginal art movement. Museum Victoria has loaned numerous artefacts for this exhibition from its extensive collections. Tjukurrtjanu also presents 150 objects, including 78 painted and incised shields, spear throwers, pearl shell pendants, stone knives, head bands and ephemeral body ornaments, that establish the paintings pre-existing Western Desert iconography.

Group of decorated shields from Central Australia Group of decorated shields from Central Australia
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Musée du quai Branly is a recent addition to the museum scene in Paris, opening near the base of the Eiffel Tower in 2006. It has a collection of some 300,000 objects and is well known for its beautiful external ‘living walls’ featuring a variety of living plants and mosses. The museum exists to display and promote the indigenous cultures of Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It already holds collections of Aboriginal art from the north and central desert regions of Australia; bark paintings from Arnhem Land collected in the 1960s, contemporary acrylic paintings and a ceiling spectacularly painted by Indigenous artists.

Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri 1972 Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi, Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

The Tjukurrtjanu exhibition will show a Parisian and European audience how Aboriginal people use art to tell their stories and to ensure the continuation of their culture.

  Exterior of Musee du quai Branly Exterior of Musee du quai Branly, Paris
Image: Andreas Praefcke
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Australian artists have had huge success in overseas markets over the years, the Tate Gallery in London holds works by Sidney Nolan; Russell Drysdale enjoyed overseas acclaim as do current Australian artists such as Ron Mueck with his hyper-real sculptures. Yet it can be argued that Australia’s Indigenous artists and their art are currently the best known examples of Australian art in the rest of the world. Indeed, this is the first time that an art exhibition solely developed by the NGV and Museum Victoria has been accepted in a major European venue.

Links:

National Gallery of Victoria - Tjukurrtjanu

Museum Victoria: Collections and Research – Indigenous Cultures

Papunya Tula Artists

MV Blog: Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art

What does the Discovery Centre do?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
26 February 2012
Comments
Comments (2)

Your Question: What exactly is the role of the Discovery Centre within Museum Victoria?

We play a very important role in making sure that you can access your state collection and this happens with requests made in person over the desk in the Discovery Centre, via the telephone, by snail mail and of course by email, and sometimes even by fax!

Visitors using the Discovery Centre Visitors using the resources in the Discovery Centre
Image: Jo Philo
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Every day when we come into the Discovery Centre we don’t know what the day will hold. Our inbox is jam packed with enquiries sent to us via our online enquiry form sent from many different people, with many different requests. The Discovery Centre is also responsible for responding to the various questions and comments that are posted on the different sections of the Museum Victoria website, the information sheets, the blog posts and the Collections Online webpages.

Visitors meeting Murray Visitors meeting Murray, the Murray Darling Carpet Python, in the Discovery Centre
Image: Jo Philo
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We are responsible for handling and responding to your research based enquiries for access to Museum Victoria collections and experts. This could be anything from an identification request along the lines of 'what is this spider?' or 'what type of bird made this nest?', or I’d like to find out more about dinosaurs, or CSIRAC - we handle them all. We can also help you with accessing the collection; perhaps your grandfather donated a camera to the collection and you would like to see it. Well, we can help. And of course, we can help with the donation process if you have a significant item that you would like the museum to consider acquiring.

Discovery Centre staff Jo and a visitor checking out the frogs in the Discovery Centre
Image: Kate Brereton
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Discovery Centre also assists academic researchers with access to the collection for study and learning. We can also help you with getting copies of images from the collection, maybe to add to a family album or your family history research. Of course, there are also the requests we receive from publishers for copyright requests, or other state museums for object loans and historical societies for conservation advice. 

If you would like to know more about the Discovery Centre Team, we are all blog authors so you can read a few lines about us, and of course see a happy snap too!

Got a question? Ask us!

Links:

Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre

Immigration Discovery Centre

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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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