Events and Programs

DISPLAYING POSTS FILED UNDER: Events and Programs (113)

Events and Programs

Lectures, community festivals, activities for kids - lots of stuff to see and do!

Rare Book Discovery Day

Author
by Hayley
Publish date
23 July 2013
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On Saturday 20 July, four antiquarian booksellers and the museum's paper conservator joined forces to provide a free valuation and conservation service to the public as part of Melbourne Rare Book Week 2013. Peter Arnold (Peter Arnold Antiquarian Booksellers), Justin Healy (Grub Street Bookshop), Stuart Kells (Books of Kells) and Douglas Stewart (Douglas Stewart Fine Books) spent three hours assessing inherited or collected items for their market value. Paper Conservator Belinda Gourley spoke to visitors about appropriate storage and care of old or rare books.

It was interesting to see the variety of material that visitors brought along, which ranged from a Walter Scott novel to an early nineteenth century musical notation book.

Three women looking at a book Conservator Belinda Gourley provides some storage and care advice for a musical notation book dating from 1804.
Image: Hayley Webster
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The find of the day was a 1907 exhibition catalogue of women's work held at the Royal Exhibition Building.

Women's Work catalogue 1907 catalogue of women's work
Source: Kay Craddock
 

This was of particular interest to library staff, as our Rare Book Collection includes a range of exhibition catalogues relating to exhibitions held at the Royal Exhibition Building. We also took the chance to show off a couple of items from our own rare book collection, including the very rare A Monograph of the Psittacidae or Parrot Family of Australia, which is held by only two libraries worldwide.

Three people looking at rare book Library Manager Leonie Cash displaying Monograph of the Psittacidae or Parrot Family of Australia by Rev. J. J. Halley to booksellers Peter Arnold and Justin Healy.
Image: Hayley Webster
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The event was great fun, and it was fantastic to participate in the second Melbourne Rare Book Week. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Links:

Follow Melbourne Rare Book Week on Facebook

View digitised plates from A Monograph of the Psittacidae or Parrot Family of Australia on the Google Art Project

Time Lens app for holiday visits

Author
by Mirah Lambert
Publish date
8 July 2013
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Mirah is the Online Learning Manager.

We’ve been a bit app happy of late, from the recent release of Museum Victoria's Field Guide to Victorian Fauna for Android to new apps based on its code mentioned in the previous blog post.

Just in time for the start of the winter school holidays we've released another free app, Time Lens, designed for kids and their families to enhance a visit to Melbourne Museum.

The curious curator with the Time Lens The curious curator with the Time Lens.
Image: Stray Puppet
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Time Lens Episode 1: Treasures and Gems is a scavenger hunt around the museum, where you solve puzzles to assist our curious curator in finding 15 objects and uncovering their fascinating stories. When found, each of the objects comes to life on your screen and tells you about its past.

Screenshot of Time Lens app Screenshot of the Time Lens app.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

As you play you also achieve badges and gain recognition as a History Harvester, Science Sleuth, Treasure Hunter and, if you find them all, as Museum Master. You can even trade in your virtual badges for real ones as part of the launch of the app at Melbourne Museum these holidays.

The app is available for Apple and Android devices and is about 85-90 MB. This means it is too big to download over 3G, but can be downloaded over a wireless network. If you’re keen to play we encourage you to download it before you come. Otherwise, it is possible to connect to the museum's public wifi network and download it when you arrive at Melbourne Museum.

Using Time Lens app in Forest Gallery Young visitors earning the Time Lens Forest Frolicker badge.
Source:  Museum Victoria
 

Families have been seen eagerly hunting around the museum, discovering treasures and hidden gems. If you want to find out more, we are activating the Time Lens twice daily as part of the school holiday programs, with an introduction to the app and support with downloading at 10:30am and 12:30pm each day. 

Links:

Melbourne Museum winter school holiday program

MV's mobile apps

Sorry Day 2013

Author
by John Patten
Publish date
4 June 2013
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John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

On Sunday May 26, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre partnered with Connecting Home to host an event for National Sorry Day. A time for reflection and healing, National Sorry Day pays tribute to the courage and vitality of the many Aboriginal people affected by past policies of forced removal. The day also serves to highlight the work that organisations such as Connecting Home are doing in the service of members of the Stolen Generations, and those similarly affected.

group of people Crowd at the Sorry Day event
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The afternoon kicked off with Bunjilaka’s Birrarung gallery being filled by the sounds of William Wandin-Dow’s didgeridoo, followed soon thereafter by a large and attentive crowd, who via MC Bryan Andy were given an appreciation for the significance of Sorry Day.

dancers Seven Sisters dance group
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

A welcome to Country was performed by Kulin Nation elders Aunty Carolyn Briggs (Boon Wurrung), and Aunty Di Kerr (Woi Wurrung). They spoke of the day and its personal significance to each of them before a warm round of applause and the entrance to the gallery of the Seven Sisters dance troupe, who wowed the crowd with a tightly choreographed and evocative performance.

woman Alice Solomon
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The two key speakers for the afternoon then took their turns to speak to the crowd. The first to share her story was Zoe Upton, followed then by Alice Solomon. Both speakers were moving in what they had to say, and their heartfelt words remained in the crowd’s consciousness during the final performance of the afternoon, a clutch of songs sung beautifully and with great humour by the Koorie Skin Choir. 

Links:

Connecting Home

Reconciliation Australia

Recognise

MV Blog: National Sorry Day

MV Blog: Reconciliation Week 2012

3D printing at SmartBar

Author
by Ely Wallis
Publish date
16 May 2013
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The theme of the most recent SmartBar at Melbourne Museum was 'retrofuturism'. A perfect theme to base a demonstration of technology that's definitely more future than retro – 3D printing.

During the evening we had two printers set up: the Museum's recently-purchased MakerBot Replicator2 and a printer brought along by our colleagues Bernard Meade and Ben Kreunen (from The University of Melbourne). Bernard and Ben also brought along a 3D scanner, and spent the evening scanning specimens from our Marine Invertebrates collection.

A crowd of people view 3D printers 3D printers and scanner demonstration with an enthusiastic and interested crowd at SmartBar, Melbourne Museum, April 2013.
Image: Ben Kreunen
Source: The University of Melbourne
 

We had an incredibly positive response with people very interested to see the new technology demonstrated. One reaction was surprise that the Museum is experimenting in this emerging field. “What are you going to use it for?” was a common question. The answer ranges from science (especially palaeontological) research, to rapid prototyping of exhibition components, to modelling. And the list will continue to grow. Other museums are also experimenting, and 3D printing maker spaces have been popping up at museum technology conferences for a couple of years now.

We also used the deadline of SmartBar to test out possible workflows, as we have also recently purchased a 3D scanner. With the scanner located in our Media Production department, our best expertise at handling 3D files located in our Design team, and the printer located in our Digital and Emerging Technology department, we wanted to see how well a new cross-department workflow might go.

3D printer in operation The MakerBot Replicator2 in action, printing an ammonite.
Image: Ely Wallis
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Our Sciences department supplied some collection specimens to scan, which we did more and less successfully. The best was an ammonite, and our scan of a trilobite was okay, though we want to try printing it end on to get better relief detail.

Less successful was a biscuit star which looked to have enough surface detail to scan well, but which ended up looking like a lump of dough. The lessons learned were that we should upgrade our scanning software, and that we need a lot more practice in how to fill in ends and merge multiple scans to get a complex 3D shape with no holes.

The least successful, but amusing, experiment was an attempt to scan quartz crystals. Lovely shapes but the lasers passed straight through or bounced off the clear crystals, providing a very pretty laser light show but no scan. Next time we’ll try powdering them to get a better matt surface.

White ammonite specimen next to black plastic one Real ammonite specimen from Museum Victoria’s palaeontology collection, next to the 3D printed model.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

All in all, it was a fun night, and a successful first attempt at our own scanning and printing. Congratulations to all who attended SmartBar and got to take home their own 3D printed ammonite. In case you’re interested, the original is a fossil Pleuroceras sp, which was found in Bavaria in Germany.

We have now uploaded the ammonite scan to Museum Victoria’s collection (of one!) in Thingiverse, a website for sharing 3D printable files and where you’ll find other museums also uploading scans. We’ll continue to add specimens and models there over time.

Happy printing!

(see also Amstrad on display at SmartBar)

Amstrad on display during SmartBar

Author
by Siobhan
Publish date
12 May 2013
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So, it’s not as big or as flashy as CSIRAC (1949), but the real star of last week’s Smart Bar event here in the Discovery Centre was our Amstrad Portable Personal Computing device (1987).

Whilst CSIRAC has the weight of history, ground-breaking science, and several good-sized African elephants behind it, the Amstrad spoke to some more personal nostalgia for many of our visitors – sort of the difference between visiting St Paul’s Cathedral and going back to your primary school.

Spec  for spec, though, the Amstrad does outperform its big brother, inspiring this mini-comic for the #SmartBar hashtag!

Amstrad Amstrad vs CSIRAC
Image: Siobhan Motherway
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Just for fun, compare CSIRAC’s specs with this website’s run down on the Amstrad and then think about the cheapest wee netbook available at the local discount shop.

Obviously, CSIRAC occupies 40sqm, whereas the Amstrad comes under the category of “luggable” – it doesn’t compare to the power or portability of the phone in your jeans pocket, but at least you could haul it around one-handed whilst looking supercool – only those looking very closely would see the veins standing out and the sweat beading on your forehead.

We couldn’t match CSIRAC’s music, though, coaxing only a recalcitrant BEEP! out of the Amstrad when we asked it to do something outside of its parameters. Like, tell us the contents of the disk in the B: drive, apparently. Nevertheless, the sight of the grey plastic shell, green screen and blinking old-school DOS cursor had dozens of visitors crowding around the desk, reminiscing about their own first computers and exploits on local BBSs.

And now I’ll leave you with the most ambitious or optimistic attempt to put the Amstrad to use on the Smart Bar evening. Sorry, sir; apparently it does have an internal modem, but 2400bps and ASCII will only get you so far.

The Amstrad laptop in the Discovery Centre A valiant effort by a visitor to get the Amstrad to connect to the internet
Image: Siobhan Motherway
Source: Museum Victoria
 

MV’s Field Guide app - now on Android!

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
6 May 2013
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Since the launch of MV's Field Guide app for Apple mobile devices, we've received hundreds of requests for an Android version, my favourite being:


All I want for Christmas is an update on the Android field guide!

Well – drumroll – it's here!

Last Friday, we were very proud that Senator The Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Science and Research and Minister Assisting for Tourism, was able to join us at Melbourne Museum to celebrate this significant milestone. 

  Field Guide apps team pose with Minister Farrell: Simon Sherrin, Jo Taylor, Ely Wallis, Ajay Ranipeta, Minister Farrell, Blair Patullo (absent: Nicole Kearney, Michael Mason). Field Guide apps team pose with Minister Farrell: Simon Sherrin, Jo Taylor, Ely Wallis, Ajay Ranipeta, Minister Farrell, Blair Patullo (absent: Nicole Kearney, Michael Mason).
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Development of the Android version is part of a wider project, funded by the Australian Government under the Inspiring Australia, Unlocking Australia's Potential scheme, where we are working with museums around the country to deliver field guide apps for all States and Territories.

The MV Field Guide app is now available through Google Play for Android devices – including tablets, phablets and phones. And it's free.

The MV Field Guide home screen (shown here on a Nexus 7) The MV Field Guide home screen (shown here on a Nexus 7)
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The app contains over 730 Victorian animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes and marine and freshwater invertebrates. Each detailed description includes stunning images, distribution maps, endangered status and animal sounds (for birds, frogs and other noisy critters).

The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem (shown here on a Nexus 7) The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem (shown here on a Nexus 7)
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria

Apple device users will be able to download an updated iOS version in the coming weeks. The new version represents a significant upgrade to the existing iOS app.

Additions to the new Android app (and coming soon for Apple devices) include:

  • Over 30 new species (many added as a result of user requests), including the Great White Shark, the Giant Gippsland Earthworm and Victoria's bird emblem, the Helmeted Honeyeater
  • New marine mammals: seals, dolphins, whales
  • 75 new bird calls, including the Powerful Owl, the Little Penguin, the Tawny Frogmouth, the Sacred Kingfisher and the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • The complete set of frog calls
  • The updated Victorian Endangered Status for all vertebrate species (bringing the app in line with the DSE's 2013 Advisory List for Threatened Vertebrate Fauna)

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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