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DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Nov 2010 (11)

Five things about pigs

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
18 November 2010
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In a pet shop window I saw tubs of dried pig’s ears, in either smoked or natural flavours. ‘Poor piggies,’ I thought, but then remembered my love of BLTs and felt a bit hypocritical.

A fellow curious cat, Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma, wanted to find out what happens to a pig after slaughter, so she followed the journey of pig #05049 to an astounding 185 products. This is a real testament to chemistry and commerce. The list included the use of pig tissue for chemical weapons testing, bone ash for the production of train brakes and bone gelatine for placing explosives into bullet casings. The fatty acids from the bone fat ended up in shampoo to provide a pearly appearance, in crayons for hardness and in paint for gloss. The gelatine ended up in myriad dairy products and was also used to turn fruit juice, beer and wine into clear liquids.

Ever played a real tambourine – it was probably a pig’s bladder! Inspired by this research I followed a trail of pig parts (cultural, natural and smoked) in the museum. Here are five things about pigs.

1. ‘Pig’ was actually a type of clay used to make pots and it became a much loved ceramic pun. Remember owning a piggy bank as a kid?

Christmas 1970 Christmas circa 1970, from Australia's Biggest Family Album. (MM 110719)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

2. There were plenty of colourful predecessors to pig characters like Porky, Olivia and Peppa.

Precious Pigs lantern slide This lantern slide is from a set of 12 which depicts the children's story titled 'Precious Pigs'. (Francis Collection, MM 109847).
Source: Museum Victoria

3. It depends on time and place but pigs are also a symbol of good luck, fertility, gluttony, and uncleanness. When it comes to puddings, perhaps its symbolism depended on whether you found it the trinket, swallowed it or wore the pudding in the attempt to find one.

Christmas pudding charms, circa 1950. Christmas pudding charms, circa 1950. Such sterling silver pieces were put at random into the Christmas plum pudding. They were light-heartedly used to suggest the 'fortune' of the recipient for the next year. (HT 3131)
Source: Museum Victoria

4. We owe our health to many pigs. They have been a source of medicines like insulin, heart valves and skin for transplanting into humans.

Pig display, Human Mind and Body Human Mind & Body exhibition shot of case with pig from the (now deinstalled) Biotech and Beyond section. Genetically engineered 9 month old pig used in transplant trials and exhibited at Melbourne Museum in 2000.
Image: Ben Wrigley
Source: Museum Victoria

5. A cast iron pig would have started off as ‘pig iron’ which is raw iron extracted from iron ore that flowed into sand moulds that must have looked like little piglets, hence the name.

White pig iron
"White" pig iron manufactured by Bolckow, Vaughan & Co of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire and exhibitied at the 1888 Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne. (ST 019338)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

I wonder if people who collect cute pig ornaments are vegetarian. Oink at me if you find something interesting about pigs.

MV wins at the Victorian Tourism Awards

Author
by Jareen
Publish date
18 November 2010
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On Monday 15 November 2010, Museum Victoria won two categories at the RACV 2010 Victorian Tourism Awards.

2010 Victorian Tourism Awards Winner logo 2010 Victorian Tourism Awards Winner logo
Source: Tourism Victoria
 

Melbourne Museum won the most prestigious prize of the night – best Major Tourist Attraction – and Scienceworks won best Tourist Attraction. Both awards acknowledge the outstanding achievements and successes during the 2009/10 financial year.

Highlights include:

Scienceworks was also successful at the Hobsons Bay Business Excellence Awards in October winning the Tourism category. 

Fingers crossed that Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks do well at the Australian Tourism Awards in March.

Wish us luck!

We’re back - for the sun and food!

Author
by Natasha
Publish date
17 November 2010
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Tash is another bug-crazy animal keeper. She is passionate about arachnids including scorpions and primitive spiders (tarantulas and funnelwebs in particular).

They look like dinosaurs I hear you say?

Come and meet our Cunningham Skinks Egernia cunninghami who have moved into the rocky high rise estate in the reptile enclosure in the Forest Gallery! These Cunningham skinks were born here at Melbourne Museum and their ages range from 2-8 years. They are sun-loving and enjoy posing for the camera. They are not picky eaters and their diet consists of specialty reptile pellets, fruit, vegetables and any insects they come across.

Cunninham Skink feeding frenzy. Three Cunningham Skinks come out and enjoy their vegies.
Image: Natasha Shadie
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Cunningham Skinks are distributed widely over eastern and central Victoria, excluding central and southern Gippsland. They are live bearing and can produce between 2-8 young in late summer. They like to hang out in rocky crevices where their backward facing spiky scales make it difficult for predators to pull them out.

This is a perfect time to come and see thm sunbaking and playing with their food. 

"This photograph changes my life."

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
11 November 2010
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Thanks to modern phones and gadgets, many of us carry a camera of some kind everywhere we go and we can document our lives like never before. Today's children feature in hundreds, if not thousands of photographs in the first years of their lives. I think in the flood of images, the importance of any one image has lessened.

Last year, Christine Anu featured in an episode of the SBS series Who Do You Think You Are. She grew up in mainland Queensland but her ancestors were from Saibai Island in the Torres Straight, and the episode takes her back into a personal history she never knew about. At the start, she talked about the lack of a family album: "My family don't have many photographs. We didn't own cameras or had no way to develop the film." In her case, a single photograph has amazing power.

The show's researchers tracked down a photograph of her grandfather in the Donald Thomson Collection that is managed by Museum Victoria. Taken in November 1943, it shows Nadi Anu among other soldiers in Irian Jaya. He died when Anu was ten and she had never seen a photograph of him. When presented with the image of him with his patrol, she was overcome. "The photo has snapped him right in his prime," she said. "This photograph changes my life."

Christine Anu in Who Do You Think You Are A still from series 2 of Who Do You Think You Are, with Christine Anu being shown a photograph of her grandfather as a young man.
Source: Courtesy of SBS
 

The Donald Thomson Collection has been managed by Museum Victoria since 1973, and since then, there have about 600 requests from communities and researchers to access and use the collection. The episode originally screened on 18 October 2009 but you can now watch it online on the SBS website.

Is there a photograph that has changed your life?

Changing the banners

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
4 November 2010
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changing the banners at Melbourne Museum Titanic comes down, Tron Legacy goes up.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

It's been a mad week at Museum Victoria. It's the last week of Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition at Melbourne Museum and the crowds have poured in for their last chance to see. It closes on 7 November after an extended season. I took this picture today of workers in a cherry-picker updating the banner on the side of the building. I love that the Irish shipbuilders seem to be watching them work, too. Titanic has been a huge success for the museum and we're so pleased that visitors have liked it so much.

It's also Melbourne Cup Week - makring the 80th anniversary of Phar Lap's win and the 150th anniversary of the first running of the Melbourne Cup. The reunion display of this hide and skeleton at Melbourne Museum also has a new wonderful item borrowed for display, the Centennial Cup. It's so much bigger than you might expect, just like Phar Lap himself!

Speaking of size, did you know Phar Lap was 17.7hh? If you don't know what 'hh' means, have a look at Measure Island, which opened at Scienceworks this week. All your horse and horse-racing measurement questions will be answered!

And of course, another bit of news was announced this week. Coming in April 2011, the amazing exhibition of Ancient Egyptian artefacts in Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs.

Phew! That's a lot of exhibition news for one week!

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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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