Teaching the Value of Archaeology

To many people archaeology embodies adventure, excitement, very old things and, of course, thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise, unfortunately Nazis. The image of Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s archetypal archaeologist, has been burned into the minds of the “baby boomer” generation. These days, finding anyone under the age of 20 who has seen these films is an adventure in itself. Archaeology is so much more than “digging up old stuff” and putting it into a museum; it plays an important role in society, more than most people realise. Instilling that idea into a student’s mind is a definite challenge.

Curiosity plays an important role in the public perception of archaeology and history. Why are people so fascinated by King Tut and the Pyramids? It has to be more than, “they look pretty cool” right? Well, that’s because it is. Human beings have a natural desire to know more about where they have come from, especially if it relates to themselves. There is no doubt that there is economic value associated with archaeology as well. Museums all over the world are …

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Tell Halaf Talk

Tell All – Tell Halaf

What do Agatha Christie, Lawrence of Arabia, Max von Oppenheim and donors to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology have in common? The packed audience at Vera Windau-Heath’s talk on Saturday 18th March heard the answers to these and many other fascinating facts about archaeological digs in Syria.

Archaeology in Syria

Vera and her husband Ken were part of teams undertaking digs at Tell Halaf in Syria. Vera’s passion for the country and the local inhabitants (they came to befriend) was obvious from the tenor of her description of the numerous cultural issues they confronted. Tell Halaf was a major settlement in the fertile valley of the Khabur River from the Halafian period 6000- 5000 BC through Summerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Aramean and Persian periods. Max von Oppenheim first undertook excavation at the site during 1911 – 1913 where settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic period were revealed. Vera explained how von Oppenheim had to transport all his tools and equipment from Aleppo to the dig site at Tell Halaf by camel – a journey that took 20 days!

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Floor Talk: Who were the Knights Templar?

Join the Abbey Museum Friends for their Annual Luncheon and our exciting presentation:

Who were the Knights Templar?


The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology is holding their annual Luncheon and Floor Talk on the 22nd of October! This Floor Talk presentation is on: Who were the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar are surrounded by mystery and myth to this very day. The Templars were warriors – the first of Christendom’s Holy Warriors, sworn to vows and the protection of both the Holy Land and the pilgrims who visited the sacred sites. They were always the first on the battlefield and the last to leave it-  a fearsome troupe, who were feared most by the Saracens!

Who were the Knights Templar? will be presented by Dr. Terrence Fitzsimmons – a Lecturer in leadership and human resource and change management with the University of Queensland Business School. Dr. Fitzsimmons is the president of the Queensland Living History …

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Antique, Vintage or Just Plain Old?

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure!

Indeed this statement is so true! Have you ever heard the stories of the families that had a special item at home that they were absolutely SURE would make them an overnight millionaire because it belonged to great-grandmother Betty who said it was a special antique family heirloom?

Well great-grandmother Betty told Grandy Bruce, who told his daughter Alice, who then told her niece Bertha it was special and had been in the family for generations. The item was taken to be appraised only to revel that it had indeed been in the family for generations, but was worth absolutely nothing apart from the knowledge it was special.

So how do you know that your old family antiques are actually antiques and not just… old?

What is an Antique?

Today everything seems to be called an antique!

Generally speaking, an antique is any work of art, piece of …

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Our Biggest Year Yet!

Our 2013 strategic goal for attendance was a 5% increase on the 2012 attendance (which was 10,843). My personal goal has always been to crack the 12,000 mark, but alas in the past we got close but never went past that pinnacle. To the end of October there has already been a 17% increase on last year’s total visitors (as of 29th October 12,670 visitors)… we should top 13,000 this year the way we are going… Very excited!! Should we aim for 14,000 next year??       This increase is primarily due to the change in the national school curriculum and the introduction of the study of ancient history in year 7. Our previous archaeological school programs needed to be modified to accommodate larger numbers of students and it is thanks to the education staff and volunteers that this has been incredibly successful. Our archaeological dig program is now accompanied by either a presentation on the Ancient Roman soldier or instructions in …

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Making Museums Matter

On the weekend of 26 and 27 October, Edith Cuffe and Jan Nargar represented the Abbey Museum at the South East Queensland Museums Conference 2013.

The theme of the conference was Tools of the Trade: Practical and Pragmatic Ideas, which addressed the ‘nuts and bolts’ of operating small museums and catered for people working in museums, whether paid or unpaid. Attendees came from as far afield as Hughenden, Sarina and Dirranbandi.

Edith chaired an informative session dealing with education programs in museums. She also described the work of Museums Australia, Queensland Branch for which she is President. Jan delivered a key note presentation about the development of the Abbey Museum’s Collection Policy and Procedures Manual. Together they conducted a workshop exploring ways to engage volunteers in collection management activities.

The sessions were well received and demonstrated the significance and contribution of the Abbey Museum’s dedication to best practice in Queensland.


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Fun things for kids to do in Brisbane

There was a time, not so long ago, when fun things for kids to do in Brisbane did not include museums.  Kids in museums were not a good mix.  Noisy, curious, un-heeding little strangers were seen more of an inconvenience to be ‘Shushed!’ than engaged with.  As in libraries, where the signs of ‘Silence!’ left no more to be said, museums did not wave the ‘Kids Welcome!’ flag.  But thank goodness! …..no longer!  As methods of learning have evolved from theory to hands-on over the years , and as inquiring minds are recognized for the brightness  they reflect and the promise they show, who should be made more welcome to these amazing institutions of learning, than kids? At the Abbey Museum, we think Kids in Museums rock!

A core visions of the Abbey Museum is the provision of quality cultural and educational experiences for children and hence the carefully chosen education programs at the Abbey Museum have embraced the principle of welcoming kids in museums.    We have a myriad of activities that will engage and stimulate your children’s imaginations, a …

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Welcome to the Abbey Museum Blog!


The best kept secret of south-east Queensland is finally being found-out!  The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology has one of THE most significant collections in Australia.

The lovely gardens, the shady trees begging for a picnic blanket, the clear air, the oft-present sunshine, the open spaces, belie the jewels within the walls of our unassuming facade.  Quietly, quietly the wealth reveals itself to all those who look.

The Abbey Museum is not just about dusty ornaments.

The unexpected treasures you will discover as you browse around will delight you.

Stained glass dating from the end of the 11th century;  Art Work collections – a story in itself that you will hear about in posts to come; Artefacts galore from all the ends of the earth; Over 500,00 years of man-kind’s history of living life on earth.

Whether your interest is a specific era of history, whether you are focused on archaeology, whether you are seeking an overview of …

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