Aug 2011

DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Aug 2011 (15)

Five things about ice

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
12 August 2011
Comments
Comments (1)

I love the idea of an ice rink outside my Melbourne Museum office window. I really want to try ice-skating at this year's Melbourne Winter Festival (18 August–4 September). Admittedly I haven't skated since my teenage years but it's like riding a bicycle, isn't it?

The subject of ice conjures a range of interesting things, from majestic giant icebergs to the tinkle of ice in your cocktail. So I went looking for things in our collection on the topic of ice.

1. Ice-skating is an energy-efficient way to travel.

I learnt this fascinating factoid at a meeting with my fellow science communication colleagues. As a mode of transport it could only suit the odd Canadian who happens to have a frozen lake between home and work.

This is one of the 420 lantern slides once used by lecturer Walter S. Binks, a popular psychology and vocational guidance lecturer based in Melbourne, Victoria. He lectured throughout Australia in the 1930s and 1940s.

Lantern slide of a man ice skating Lantern slide of cartoon sketch of a man ice skating, circa 1930s. (MM 69844)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Two ice skating ladies Two ice skating ladies happily demonstrating a bandaging technique at the rink, circa 1960s. (MM 054716)
Image: Laurie Richards Collectionof Commercial Photography
Source: Museum Victoria
 

  

2. Ice has much associated paraphernalia - boxes, buckets, cabinets, chests, cubes, houses, men, picks and tongs.

Before domestic refrigerators there was the ice chest (or cabinet or box). This is an early 20th century Koola cooling chest. The ice was generally placed in the top part, and water was poured onto the insulation panels (often made of things like fur, skin or charcoal ash). In this object the insulation was asbestos! Yikes! The low openings in the cabinet drew in air and this created a cooling effect. All the melted ice was collected in a drip tray underneath.

Koola cooling chest Koola cooling chest (ST 030419).
Image: Charlotte Smith
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Ice blocks for your ice chest used to be delivered by the ice man from the ice house who would lug around the blocks using a pair of these ice tongs.

Ice tongs (ST 026528). Ice tongs (ST 026528).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

  

3. Ice can be a temporary art medium.

This photo is circa 1960s. It depicts two male chefs skilfully carving ice with chisels. They have sculpted a lovely polar bear, a penguin and some seals. But look closely: there is also Venetian gondola and I think there's a punch bowl. Plus you can just make out that the centre piece is a 3D version of the old RACV logo. 

Ice-carving Elaborate ice-carving, 1960s (MM 054918).
Image: Laurie Richards Collection of Commercial Photography
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

4. There are links between life on earth and my freezer.

Water is one of those rare substances that expand when they solidify. Luckily for freshwater fish, ice therefore floats providing insulation for winter and not a frozen food section.

This picture reminded me of myself pondering the defrosting efficiency of my freezer.

Lantern Slide - Woman in Ice Cave Lantern Slide - Woman in Ice Cave (MM 032537).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

5. Ice is at its best in the form of cream or gelati!

This gelati box is from Taranto's Continental Gelati and Ice Cream Company Pty. Ltd, circa 1962.

Taranto's gelati carton Box - Taranto's, 'Three in One', 1962 (SH 000949)
Source: Museum Victoria
  

Smashing good time

Author
by Bronwyn Quint
Publish date
11 August 2011
Comments
Comments (0)

Bronwyn is Scienceworks' Program Coordinator for Physical Science.

On Wednesday 3 August 2011, 55 teams of young engineers in years 8 and 9 brought bridges of their own design, built by themselves using a kit of materials supplied by Aurecon to Scienceworks. There they loaded the bridges to breaking point to see whose bridge could carry the greatest load. Made from balsa wood, string, cardboard and glue, the bridges were very diverse with many having interesting designs.

Bridge-building teams in Scienceworks Amphitheatre Bridge-building teams in Scienceworks Amphitheatre waiting for their chance to have their bridges tested.
Image: Bronwyn Quint
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Bridges were weighed on arrival and the teams registered and photographed. At noon the testing started. Bridges were judged on not only the load they carried but also their aesthetics, workmanship and creativity. A formula was then used to give each bridge a score out of 50 based on the weight of the bridge, the weight supported, the maximum weight carried by a bridge on the day and the aesthetics score.

Testing the Kaniva College mixed team bridge Testing the Kaniva College mixed team bridge under the watchful eye of The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP.
Image: Bronwyn Quint
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A fun day was had by all who attended with prizes being awarded by The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP (Minister for Major Projects) who chatted with many of the teams present.

The winning teams in 2011 were:

  • 1st    Kaniva College (mixed) 115.5kg
  • 2nd   Kaniva College Girls’ team 100.2kg
  • 3rd    Leibler Yavneh College (boys) 78.0kg

Tintern Girls Grammar team with their innovative bridge Tintern Girls Grammar team with their innovative bridge and The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP.
Image: Bronwyn Quint
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A new prize, the Aurecon Innovation Award (sponsored by Major Projects Victoria), went to Tintern Girls Grammar with a stylish pink bridge modelled on the Golden Gate bridge.

The two Kaniva College teams pose with their winning cheques and The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP The two Kaniva College teams pose with their winning cheques and The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MPpose with their winning cheques and The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP.
Image: Bronwyn Quint
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Kaniva College have now made it a hat trick winning the last three years of the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition.

Links:

MV News: Aurecon Bridge-building Competition (2010)

MV News: Breaking bridges (2009)

Aurecon Bridge-building Competition

First Victorian dinosaur trackway

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
10 August 2011
Comments
Comments (1)

When Dr Tony Martin joined MV palaeontologist Dr Tom Rich and volunteer Greg Denney on a four-week examination of Victoria's Cretaceous coastline last year, he was hoping to find dinosaur burrows. He didn't expect that he'd find the most significant dinosaur track site in southern Australia instead.

Dr Martin of Emory University, Georgia, was at Museum Victoria recently to examine some trace fossils in the collection. Trace fossils are his speciality and he's spent many years studying the burrows, tracks and trails of prehistoric animals preserved in the fossil record. Decades of searching for tracks at palaeontological sites worldwide means that he has an eye for spotting these subtle and sometimes cryptic trace fossils.

Late in the day during the third week of the Cretaceous Walk, Dr Martin saw something unusual in a slab of rock. Because of the low light he didn't trust his eyes and starting feeling the surface. "I was in awe at first," he says. "One of the things I did was I put my fingers into the indentations and thought OK, that's a track. Then I traced back and found two more, identically sized, making this the first Victorian trackway we know of where there's an actual sequence of steps."

Dr Tony Martin with trackway Dr Tony Martin with the dinosaur trackway he found on Melanesia Beach.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Until that moment, only four individual dinosaur tracks were known for all of Victoria. But that wasn't the only discovery of the day. Greg Denney long-time local collaborator on the Dinosaur Cove digs, spotted something else. "He saw there was another slab nearby of the same thickness, with the same layers, but upside down. He grabbed a piece of driftwood and flipped it over - and there were seven more tracks on it."

All up, the two slabs have increased the number of Victorian dinosaur tracks by 85 per cent. "They're only about 1.1 square metres but it was a busy little piece of real estate, because there are approximately 24 tracks within that." Some of the footprints are partial tracks and many are very faint but they still reveal a lot about the Victorian environment over 100 million years ago. The dinosaurs in question were small predatory dinosaurs, ranging from about the size of a rooster to the size of a cassowary. They belonged to a group of animals called the ornithomimosaurs, or bird-mimics. Dr Martin postulates that the individuals may have been different ages, and they were walking over swampy areas left on receding snowmelt floodplains in springtime.

In March 2011, Museum Victoria retrieved the two slabs for the palaeontology collection as they were at risk of being lost from erosion and burial. A scientific paper by Dr Martin, Dr Rich and three other experts that describes the amazing find was published in the journal Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology yesterday. As Dr Martin summarised it, "I've made other discoveries in my life, and I wouldn't like to rank them, but this one's way up there. It's one I feel very satisfied with that it added quite a bit to what's already a huge wealth of information that's come out of this part of the world."

In this video, Tom Rich talks more about the trackway and the effort to remove the slabs from Melanesia Beach.

 

Watch this video with a transcript

Links:

Martin, A.J., Rich, T.H., Hall, M., Vickers-Rich, P. & Vazquez-Prokopec, G. A polar dinosaur-track assemblage from the Eumeralla Formation (Albian), Victoria, Australia. Alcheringa, 1–18.

The Age: 'Walking in their footsteps on Victoria's dinosaur trail'

Dinosaur Walk

Journey to Mecca

Author
by Natasha D
Publish date
9 August 2011
Comments
Comments (1)

Natasha works in public relations for IMAX Melbourne and the Royal Exhibition Building.

In September we're showing a stunning documentary about the Islamic pilgrimage called Hajj that we're certain will prove fascinating for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

In 1325, Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta set out from Tangier to journey to Mecca, the historical and cultural centre for Islam, in what would become the first Hajj. The documentary recreates his perilous journey, and also shows the contemporary Hajj, which today attracts more than three million Muslims from all over the world every year.

The film marks the first and only time an IMAX camera has captured an aerial view of the Hajj from a helicopter hovering 200 feet above Mecca, and the first time an IMAX team has been admitted into the most sacred sanctuary of Islam - the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

We gave four Melbourne Muslims a sneak preview and spoke to them afterwards to hear what they thought.

 

Watch this video with a transcript

Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta opens at IMAX on 3 September 2011.

Reassembling the dolls' house

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
8 August 2011
Comments
Comments (0)

Over recent months, Volunteer Sandra Morrow has photographed more than 600 exquisite items from Pendle Hall, the extraordinary dolls’ house that joined the Museum Victoria collection last year. There are no immediate plans to put the house on display but you can still view it in detail, as records and pictures of each piece are newly-listed on History and Technology Collections Online.

Sandra also recorded the reassembly of the dolls’ house once all the individual pieces had been registered, photographed and assessed by a conservator. She’s compiled a time-lapse video of the reassembly for which she used reference photographs of the house in Tasmania that were taken before it was packed up and moved to Melbourne.

 

The eagle-eyed among you will spot that she’s not wearing gloves. Most heritage collection objects are handled with gloves to protect them from the oils and sweat that accumulate on our hands. However gloves can make it difficult to handle very small objects like the miniature candlesticks and pantry goods of the dolls’ house. In these cases, very clean gloveless hands are the safest way to pick up the tiny items.

Links:

MV Blog: Introducing Pendle Hall

Collections Online theme: Pendle Hall Dolls' House

Kids Fest: Carnivale

Author
by Elise Murphy
Publish date
4 August 2011
Comments
Comments (1)

Elise is the Programs Manager, Community Engagement at the Immigration Museum.

Q: Carnaval, Carnevale, Carnival, Kanaval, Karneval or Carnivale?

A: Brazil, Italy, Jamaica, Haiti, Croatia and the Immigration Museum on Sunday 17 July 2011.

If you came along to the Immigration Museum on 17 July, you and 1230 others experienced carnival traditions from all of these places and more at our winter Kids Fest: Carnivale.

While Carnivale has its roots in pagan, Roman Catholic and Portuguese festival traditions, it is now celebrated in different ways and at different times of year in many countries all over the world. 

visitors in the Immigration Museum Theatrette Crowd of visitors in the Immigration Museum Theatrette.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On festival day, you may have marvelled at the Magic Punch and Judy puppet show, with its characters that emerged from 16th century Italian Commedia dell’Arte theatre and are still popular costume choices for Italian Carnevale today.

Punch & Judy
Punch and Judy from the Magic Punch & Judy Puppet Show.
Source: EntertainOz
 

You probably also joined Queen Jigzie and rapper Ru.CL to shake and shimmy your way through songs, dances and stories relating to Jamaican Carnival.

Kids enjoying Jamaican Carnival songs Kids enjoying Jamaican Carnival songs.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You created your own unique Rara instruments just like people do for Haitian rural Carnival processions, and used them during the Brazilian batucada percussion workshops.

  Playing with instruments Making and playing percussive instruments
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You rang in the festivities with Museum Victoria’s Federation Handbells and cooked up a New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake with play dough and loads of glitter.

Kids Fest activities Left: Federation Handbells. Right: making a Mardi Gras cake.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You had your face painted as a Carnivale character or sported a Carnivale-inspired balloon creation, and made yourself an Italian mask or puppet, Brazilian headpiece or Guinea-Bissau bull mask.

Kids Fest activities Making an Italian Carnevale puppet.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

And finally, you danced and displayed all your finery in the kids parade alongside our prancing peacock float.

Thank you all for coming along and we hope to see you back at our next Kids Fest in January 2012.

Links:

Immigration Museum

Past Event - Kids Fest: Carnivale

About this blog

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

Categories