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21 objects - 21 stories: celebrating community collections

Monday, 19 May 2014

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Royal Park. Launceston
Until Sunday 27 July, 2014

21 objects - 21 stories: celebrating community collections is an exhibition brimming with the richness of our history by sharing objects and tales of Tasmania’s past.

Displaying a remarkable selection of 21 objects and their accompanying stories from 21 small museums and collections around the state, the exhibition celebrates the important role that the community museum sector plays as storytellers and custodians of our state’s unique cultural heritage.

The exhibition has been curated by Arts Tasmania’s own Roving Curators, Melissa Smith and Veronica Macno. They had the tough job of choosing just a handful of items from the over 140 small museums and collections that call Tasmania home. The final selection is an eclectic mix, sharing stories from different industries and eras of Tasmania.

Here’s just a taste of the diversity of objects and stories the exhibition offers.

Frozen Charlotte doll

Young women be warned, you must place your physical well-being before vanity! This Frozen Charlotte doll was found in the underfloor deposits during archaeological diggings of the Gaoler’s Residence of the Oatlands Goal, in operation from 1836 until 1936. Frozen Charlotte dolls portray a character from Seba Smith’s poem A Corpse Going to a Ball, that the poet was inspired to write after reading an article of how a women froze to death on a sleigh ride on her way to a ball.

The frozen Charlotte doll (pictured in banner above), c.1850-1920, is from the collection of the Southern Midlands Council, Oatlands.

Tag board

tag board

Three were trapped yet only two walked free. This tag board is from Beaconsfield Gold Mine where a rock fall trapped miners for 14 days in 2006, capturing the attention of the world. The site of the miners tagging off after they emerged from their ordeal was highly emotive and a testament to the dedication of the rescuers and the endurance of the men.

The tag board, c.1998, is from the collection of the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, Beaconsfield.

Black coral

back coral

It may not look extraordinary, but this black coral is around 3 000 years old and was one of the oldest living creatures when it was brought to the water’s surface by a fishing trawler near St Helens. The St Helens Hill seamount, where the coral was most likely obtained from, is part of a temperate coral reef which would have flourished during the last Ice Age.

The black coral is from the collection of the St Helens History Room, St Helens.

The 21 objects – 21 stories: celebrating community collections exhibition coincides with the 21st anniversary of Museums Australia in 2014 and is presented as part of the 2014 Tasmanian Heritage Festival celebrations.

The 21 objects for the exhibition have been sought from the following small museums and collections and the Roving Curators would like to thank them for their assistance:

  • Bass Strait Maritime Centre, Devonport
  • Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, Beaconsfield
  • Burnie Regional Museum, Burnie
  • Circular Head History Centre, Smithton
  • Friends of the Theatre Royal, Hobart
  • Furneaux Historical Research Association’s Museum, Flinders Island
  • Heritage Highway Museum and Visitor Information Centre, Campbell Town
  • Hobart Bellringers, Hobart
  • King Island Museum, Currie
  • Low Head Pilot Station Museum, Low Head
  • Australian Fly Fishing Museum – National Trust of Australia (Tasmania)
  • Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site – National Trust of Australia (Tasmania)
  • Pearns Steam World, Westbury
  • Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania, Hobart
  • Southern Midlands Council, Oatlands
  • St Helens History Room, St Helens
  • Tasmania Cricket Museum, Bellerive
  • Tasmanian Fast Ferry Museum, Hobart
  • Ulverstone History Museum, Ulverstone
  • Wilmot Museum, Wilmot
  • Woolmers Estate, Longford
  • Wilmot Museum, Wilmot.

Visit the 21 objects - 21 stories: celebrating community collections at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Royal Park. Launceston, until Sunday, 27 July 2014.

Click here to download the exhibition program for 21 objects - 21 stories: celebrating community collections.