MV Blog


Installing Many Nations

by Kate C
Publish date
11 July 2013
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The mammoth task of installing over 480 beautiful, rich and significant objects into the Many Nations section of First Peoples has begun. Early this week the very first item – a substantial wooden carving of Bunjil by Mick Harding – went in to its final position as the crowning object of the Animal Creations showcase.

Man installing a sculpture Anthony Abell with the carving of Bunjil by Mick Harding.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

Deb Frost is leading the team of exhibition collection managers carefully placing the objects into the Many Nations display. Explains Deb, "the complexity of these cases is that nearly every object requires a custom support, or mount, designed specifically for that object." Mount-makers from Pod Museum and Art Services have spent recent months making fine, precise metal frames that will show each object at its best, while holding them securely in place. Deb points out that the mount holding Bunjil up high is much beefier than most of the others since "that object alone is 16.5 kilograms and so that mount is specifically designed to take that weight."

John and Ant installing Many Nations display John Duggan and Anthony Abell placing the Bunjil sculpture into its showcase.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

When filled, the showcases will house a stunning array of historical and contemporary objects made by Aboriginal people from all over Australia. Senior Curator Rosemary Wrench looked at over 16,000 historical objects from the museum's collection, selecting ones that have never been on display, while new acquisitions and commissions show continuing and new expressions of culture. Senior Designer Corinne Balaam created a beautiful light filled display to highlight each piece within six cases: Animal Creations, Celebrating Culture, Marking Identity, Keeping Places, Toy Stories and Working Country.

Deb has been working with these objects for many months and has come to know them very well. And which is her favourite? "How do you pick one? They're all amazing," she says. "Bunjil was a treat because that was a commissioned work, but my favourite is in Toy Stories, and that's the doll with the feeding breasts. That's my number one object because I think it's got a wonderful story." This doll will be held in a special mount cast from the hands of Myee Patten. "The childhood stories, that's my soft spot," continues Deb. "All the Elders coming in and speaking about those times - it's wonderful to hear those stores from their childhood some sixty or more years ago, and hearing their memories of learning from their grandparents and Elders."

Deb Frost with drill Deb with the drill rig her team used to drill hundred of precise holes for the custom object mounts in Many Nations.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

As for a favourite showcase, Deb explains, "many of our team love Celebrating Culture because it's all about body adornment, the bracelets and necklaces, which are magnificent, however I love the Marking Identity case with shields that show the colouration and different patterns from state to state. This case packs a punch. It says to me, look how diverse our Indigenous communities are around Australia. The baskets in Keeping Places are gorgeous too; I love the different weaves, the different colours and different types, from the honeypot through to the ceremonial bowl made by Will Patten. It's great to see the new with the old."

Empty showcase The Marking Identity showcase awaiting installation of the shields from around Australia.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

As the crew finalises the installation, their concerns are protecting the precious objects and managing the logistics. "The tricky bits are the technical aspects like accessing the cases, ensuring the stability of mounts, keeping everything clean and free of dust."

"You address all the conservation and collection management needs for those objects and in the end, once they're finally locked away safely in their showcase and on display for the world to see, then everyone's tickled! That's the highlight of our work."

First Peoples opens at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum on 7 September 2013.

Time Lens app for holiday visits

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. 


Melbourne Museum winter school holiday program

MV's mobile apps

New field guide apps

by Nicole K
Publish date
2 July 2013
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When we blog about Museum Victoria's Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app, we usually talk about its content (animal descriptions, sounds, images, etc). But behind all this content are hundreds of lines of code – the instructions that determine how the app functions.

This code was developed by Museum Victoria's app developers. In 2011 we published it online under an open source licence. This means that anyone can use it to produce a similar app, for free. (For more information see our Field Guide to the Field Guide blog).

And people are using it! Over the past two years, we've learned about a number of projects using our code. Some app developers have contacted us to ask questions and share ideas; others have charged ahead on their own.

This is exactly what we hoped would happen, so we're very excited to announce that three apps using our code have been released in the past month:

Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia
This app contains 31 of Australia's 56 vertebrate pest species, such as Cane Toads, Carp, Foxes and Mynas. Created by the Invasive Animals CRC, it includes information about the biology and origin of these introduced pests, as well as the damage they cause. Wondering how a tiny Asian House Gecko can harm our native wildlife? Check out this app.

Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia app screens (iPad & iPhone) Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia app screens (iPad & iPhone)
Image: Invasive Animals CRC
Source: Invasive Animals CRC

New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide
Produced by the Auckland Museum, this app holds descriptions of over 130 of New Zealand's most common marine plants and animals. All common names appear in both English and Māori: from Haku (Yellowtail Kingfish) to Honu (Green Turtle) to Rimurimu (Neptune's Necklace).

New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide app screens (iPad & iPhone) New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide app screens (iPad & iPhone)
Image: Auckland Museum
Source: Auckland Museum
Grand Canyon National Park Field Guide
Produced by ParksConnect, this app highlights common plants and animals found in the Grand Canyon National Park, such as Coyotes, Californian Condors, Tarantulas and Banana Yuccas. Hear the roar of a Mountain Lion, the call of a Hummingbird and the thunder-clap of head-butting Bighorn Sheep!

Grand Canyon Field Guide app screens (iPhone) Grand Canyon Field Guide app screens (iPhone)
Image: ParksConnect
Source: ParksConnect

About this blog

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