Having a lend

29 March, 2010

HT 12471, Dress - Georges, Rue de La Paix, Evening, 1950s
Lady Joan Ansett's evening gown by Rue de La Paix, Georges, 1950s.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

A gown that belonged to Lady Joan Ansett, wife of airline and television businessman Sir Reg Ansett, is one of several of Museum Victoria objects out on loan to other institutions.

The floor-length evening dress is the sparkling showpiece that visitors see as they enter the til you drop – Shopping: A Melbourne History exhibition, on show at the State Library of Victoria until 31 October 2001. Lady Ansett purchased the dress in the 1950s from the iconic Georges department store in Collins Street, Melbourne.

The dress exemplifies the exclusive and expensive nature of the ‘Paris End' of Collins Street. Inspired by the extravagance of Parisian post-war fashions, Georges’ Rue de la Paix custom gowns were popular among Melbourne's well-heeled society women. Lady Ansett's dress features a layered skirt of white and yellow tulle beneath a beaded and sequinned bodice with a scalloped neckline.

Every year, the History & Technology department lends items to other museums in Melbourne, regional Victoria, interstate and even overseas. This loan program allows MV's collection to be accessed by a larger range of visitors and helps other institutions enrich their own exhibitions.

Before objects are approved for loan, the borrower must meet certain standards of security and environmental control. The objects are checked by MV conservators, who also recommend packing, transport and display methods. Sometimes loans do not proceed because the objects are required by MV for its own programs. Some loans are for a few months, but other loans continue for many years. While objects are on loan , they are monitored by MV staff (except for overseas loans) for changes in condition.

Other MV objects currently out and about include:

  • lantern slides, praxinoscope, and shadow play figures, on show in Screen Worlds - Story of Film, Television and Digital Culture at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image until July 2016
  • the painting 'Black Saturday 2009' by Glenn Morgan, in Bushfire Australia, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Healesville until July 2010
  • a Ford XB Fairmont motor car and 1913 Model T Ford van on long-term loan to the Ford Discovery Centre, Geelong

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