Jo

DISPLAYING POSTS BY: Jo (9)

Jo

Jo works in the Immigration Discovery Centre helping people uncover family history. She loves that no two days in the Discovery Centre are the same, and that she can now identify a selection of random bugs!

What was life like for my ancestors?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
12 January 2014
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Comments (2)

I am working on my family history and I want to know what my ancestors did when they arrived.

One of the questions we are frequently asked by family history researchers in the Immigration Discovery Centre is 'what did they do?' Researchers often know how and when their ancestors arrived into Victoria, but they are hoping to paint the picture of what they were doing and get an idea of the social, economic and cultural context of a period in time. To fill in these gaps, there are a number of great online resources that can help us to paint that picture.

Of course the Museum Victoria collection holds objects and images that can get you started with your research. The History and Technology Collections Online is a great source for online research. There are almost 80 000 records available online for you to explore, including many images and objects. You can also search the Biggest Family Album Collection for images of Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, either by suburb name or era.

Italian Community Gathering, Wonthaggi, Victoria, circa 1929: The Biggest Family Album in Australia Members of the Wonthaggi Italian community. They are standing in front of a wooden building. A man at the back has his arm raised holding a what appears to be a large flower like an arum liliy over the head of a woman in front of him.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Trove is the National Library of Australia’s online digital repository. It is free to access and equally easy to navigate. You can search newspapers, journals, images, maps, diaries, and in some cases, organisations. A search can be as simple as a family name, or suburb, or district, to more complex searches including exact date searches or phrase searches. 

The State Library of Victoria also holds a lot of useful information to help with this picture. They have put together a list of resources under their Victoria’s early history, 1803 – 1851 guide online. 

Lebanese ID Card, Lebanese migrant, 1975 Lebanese ID Card for taxi driver Youssef Eid, 1975
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Of course, the Public Records Office Victoria can also shed some light on what was happening at the time your ancestors arrives through their many and varied records. If you wanted to know if your ancestor owned, leased or rented a house or land, PROV can help! The PROV Land Records Guide can help, as can The Parish and Township Working Plans.

For more contemporary records, try searching the National Archives of Australia.  The NAA is responsible for caring for Australian Government records. The ten million items they hold cover everything from migration to transport and military service, as well as much more. 

Local historical societies can also be a great source of information. Many of them will hold records relating to people or events in the history of an area that you may not be able to find elsewhere. Australian Heritage Online is a good place to start.

Man Leaning on Luggage Trunk, Awaiting Detention as Enemy Alien, 1939: Melbourne's Biggest Family Album Man in suit and hat, leaning on his luggage trunk, with other cases around him. He is in a park.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

And finally, as well as all of these great online resources, sometimes nothing beats sitting down with a book, or walking through a neighbourhood, or asking a local about what things were like when they were children, or if they remember when...

Links

Destination Australia

Sands and MacDougall Melbourne Directories

Coins and medals

Author
by Jo
Publish date
6 January 2013
Comments
Comments (1)

Your question: Where can I find out more about the coins and medals I have?

We often in the Discovery Centre receive enquiries about coins and medals. Our Collections Online website provides information about many of the coins, medals and trade tokens in the collection. We currently have approximately 7500 coins online, 2800 medals online and 2800 trade tokens online!

Coin, Holey Dollar, New South Wales, 1813 The obverse of the host coin and featured a laureate bust of Charles III (mostly removed with the central dump) facing right. At the bottom of the overstrike is a spray of olive leaves with the artist's initial H at its centre.
Image: Naomi Andrzejeski
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre

You can come into the Discovery Centre and make use of the library resources from 10am until 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. You can also come in and look at the coins and medals we have on display in our reference drawers, featuring medals from the International Exhibitions held at the Royal Exhibition Building in 1880 and 1888.

Florin, 1947 Silver coin - Florin (Two shillings), 1947
Image: Unknown photographer
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Australian Coins and Medals

The Numismatics Association of Australia provides links to many relevant websites, and has also published online the past issues of its Journal, which has many articles of interest on the history of Australian coins and medals. See also the website of the Numismatics Association of Victoria for its activities and journal.

The National Museum of Australia features convict tokens and agricultural medals on their website.

Reserve Bank of Australia’s Museum of Australian Currency Notes provides a timeline of Australian paper money and educational resources.

The ANZ Banking Museum also provides information about Australian currency, the museum tells the story of Australia's banking heritage through displays of items such as banknotes and coins, moneyboxes, office machines, firearms, gold-mining equipment and uniforms.

Australian Penny, 1920 Penny coin from Australia 1920 (Kookaburra side)
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Useful publications include:

Leslie Carlisle Australian historical medals, 1788-1988 (2008) available in the Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre.

World Coins and Medals

The British Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals provides a guide to books, web resources and associations. The site covers not just British coins and medals, but Roman, Greek, Oriental and modern coins, tokens, medals and paper money.

The Royal Numismatics Society (UK) has a web page of links to relevant web resources.

1930 Penny, proof coin 1930 Penny, proof coin
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Useful publications include:

Standard Catalog of World Coins, published by Krause Publications. There are separate volumes now published for each century from the seventeenth century to the present.

And see the detailed book list at http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/departments/coins_and_medals/reading_list.asp

Got a question? Ask us!

The luck of the Irish

Author
by Jo
Publish date
8 December 2012
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Comments (0)

November 18th 2012 saw the Irish come together once again at the Immigration Museum. The Immigration Museum festivals are always well received by the community involved and the community at large, and the Irish festival was certainly no exception.

Doors opened at 10am, and the queue began shortly after! There was a formal welcome and opening from Mr Leo Varadkar TD, Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and HE Noel White, Ambassador of Ireland.

The view outside the Immigration Mueusem The queue patiently waiting outside the Immigration Museum for the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

There was singing and there was dancing, and there was more singing! The Irish Language Association Choir hypnotised us with their amazing sound and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance performed to a packed courtyard. No Irish festival is complete without an Irish jig, and Christine Ayers School for Irish Dancing performed the honours.

Irish dancers Some of the Irish dancers who performed for the crowds at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

Inside, there were tea and biscuits made by Comhaltas and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance (they certainly were busy!). Upstairs there were craft activities for the children, making family trees or glittery Claddagh crowns. There were various representatives from the Irish community throughout the museum giving out information about organisations and associations celebrating all things Irish.

The crowd enjoying the performance on the Main Stage The crowd outside enjoying one of the many performances at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

The Immigration Discovery Centre hosted a family history workshop with Phillip Moore from the Celtic Club's Cultural Heritage Committee and the Immigration Museum shop was selling Irish treats to our visitors.

Of course P J O'Brien's made an appearance - Although they didn't bring the Guinness, they did bring the some delicious treats for our visitors, as did Paddy's Meats. All of this was complemented with the amazing and moving exhibition, Leaving Dublin.

One of the performances for the Irish Festival Crowds enjoying one of the many performaces for the Irish Festival at the Immigration Museum
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

The success of a festival day can be seen in the faces of our visitors and the crowds patiently waiting on Flinders Street to come in and enjoy the festivities. We had so much fun that we thought we'd do it again. KidsFest in January 2013 will have an Irish theme, so if you missed the Irish Festival, check out KidsFest! More details can be found here.

Times, they are a changin’

Author
by Jo
Publish date
21 October 2012
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Comments (0)

Things are changing down at the Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre and we thought we would let you all know what you can expect after November 1st.

Visitors looking at fossil display Visitors looking at fossil display : Discovery Centre: Melbourne Museum
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Discovery Centre has operated at Melbourne Museum since the museum opened in 2000, functioning as a library, providing free computer and internet access and responding to visitor enquiries. We have operated the centre at Melbourne Museum with our onsite visitors in mind, providing access to the museum’s collection.  From November 1st, this is going to be changing...

Points from the Indigenous Cultures Department on display Points from the Indigenous Cultures Department on display
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We will soon become a five day per week operation, open from Tuesday until Saturday from 10am until 4.30pm. We will still provide access to the museum’s collections but we are shifting our focus to the online experience. Many of you who have used our service in the past know that we encourage our visitors to check out the Museum Victoria website, and explore the vast amount of information made available. We will continue this focus with our new operating hours.

Visitors looking at skeleton specimens Visitors looking at skeleton specimens: Discovery Centre: Melbourne Museum
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We are also removing some of the computers, the printer and photocopier, and unlimited internet access. We want to encourage people to explore the museum resources online using both the public access computers and their own devices. The WiFi in the Discovery Centre is available and we are moving the furniture around to make the space more accessible for visitors using their own devices. We are still available to accept your online enquiries, even if the doors are closed.

Specimens on display: Discovery Centre: Melbourne Museum Specimens on display: Discovery Centre: Melbourne Museum
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

So, from November 1st 2012, the Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre will be open from 10am until 4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday. We will have four public access computers, and will no longer offer free printing and photocopying. We will however continue to offer a great space to explore the museum’s areas of collection and research and encourage everyone to come down and take a look at the new Discovery Centre!

NB – In order to prepare for these changes, the Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre will be closed from 2pm on 30 October and will reopen on 1 November 2012.  

On Their Own, where to next?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
7 May 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

Your Question: I noticed that the On their own exhibition about Britain's child migrants exhibition is closing, where is it off to?

On their own, the story of Britain's child migrants will be moving on from the Immigration Museum in Melbourne to the Western Australian Museum - Maritime in Fremantle, due to open on Saturday May 19th.

On thier Own exhibition On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Kate Brereton
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The exhibition was very popular with visitors to the Immigration Museum, many of whom commented about the moving nature of the content. Sadly, it is a story that has gone unnoticed for many years, but we were glad to be able to host the exhibition and provide visitors with a rich understanding and experience.

On thier Own exhibition On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Kate Brereton
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Lisa snapped some pictures today of the Museum Victoria Collection Management and Conservation team and the Australian National Maritime Museum Collection Management and Conservation team working on de-installing the exhibition, getting it ready for its move across the country.

On thier Own exhibition De-installing the On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Lisa Collins
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On thier Own exhibition De-installing the On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Lisa Collins
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Although the exhibition is leaving Melbourne, we still do have plenty of information for visitors in the Immigration Discovery Centre, and online. The exhibition website will remain active until November 2013, so there is still an opportunity for you to learn more about Britain's child migrants.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links

MV Blog post - On their own opens

On their own: Britain's child migrants

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

About this blog

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

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