St Michael the Archangel 2

The Abbey Museum’s Icons Travel Interstate for Art Exhibition

We are so excited that two of the Abbey Museum’s icons from our wonderful Art Collection have been chosen as part of a special exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery in Victoria.

Abbey Museum’s Icons on display

EIKON: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World”, features eighty high-quality works, including some really sumptuous examples of Orthodox art. Most of the icons in the exhibition originated from Greece and Russia, with examples as well from Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, and date from the twelfth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries.

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to view two stunning icons from the Abbey Museum collection, so if you are in or around Ballarat why not join one of the special tour the Gallery is offering through the exhibition and hear the stories behind these wonderful artworks. These special tours are on at 11.30am from Wednesday to Sunday during the exhibition which opened on Saturday 18 October and will close on Monday 26 January, next year.

The …

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Museum Prepares for Brisbane Parade

Abbey Museum Volunteers on the World Stage

While some of the staff at the Abbey Museum were busily preparing for our recent Jousting Spectacular event, our Abbey Museum Volunteers were keeping up a busy social life for the Museum with parades and visits to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Abbey Museum Volunteers show off at the G20

The Queensland Government pulled out all the stops ahead of the G20 Summit to showcase Brisbane through live shows, street performances and interactive light shows across the cities CBD. The one event that caught our eye on the G20 Cultural Celebrations program was the ‘Brisbane on Parade’ event – a parade designed to showcase Brisbane and its finest. What a great way to not only promote the Museum but to celebrate what we do best. Between a group of Chinese Lion Dancers and Brazilian carnival stilt walkers was a group of wonderful and loyal Abbey Museum volunteers and re-enactors highlighting the eras represented by the Museum’s fundraising events and education programs. We say ‘wonderful and loyal’ to describe our Abbey Museum volunteers because not only did they …

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Senior Curator, Micahel Strong with Board member Dr Geoff Ginn review the Preservation Needs Assessment Report

The Past Preserved with funding success

A museum’s collection is the life blood of its business. As museum professionals we see proper custodianship of the artefacts in our care as a significant responsibility. These artefacts hold the memories of an individual, a community, a nation or civilizations that have disappeared in the dusts of time and which remind us how fragile human society really is.

Late last year the Abbey Museum was successful in an application for funding through the Community Heritage Grants administered through the National Library of Australia. There are very few sources of funds available for museums, galleries or keeping places that provide financial support for the preservation of our movable heritage. Having identified the significance that the Abbey Museum collection has as a primary teaching resource for Queensland schools studying medieval society and ancient civilisations, we were eligible to seek funding to have a Preservation Needs Assessment undertaken on our collection.

This was prepared for the Museum by conservator, Christine Ianna, and presented to the Board for consideration in mid September. The report outlined …

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Trekking with the Senior Curator along Emu Tracks

Travelling with the Abbey Museum’s senior curator is always an adventure, as a group of Museum Friends found out as we participated in a heritage tour in mid August. Appropriately called “Stone Circles and Emu Tracks” we set out from the Abbey Museum by coach under clear blue skies and headed north to Woodford and the site of Durundur, the first sheep ‘run’ in Queensland, north of the Darling Downs. Michael has a wealth of knowledge of this area and kept us all engrossed as he wove historical stories both inspiring and also heartbreaking.

From Woodford we wound our way along the Stanley River valley. As we looked out the window over a brown-grassed landscape struggling for survival at the end of drought ridden Winter, Michael painted a picture of times long past, of a densely forested valley with giant trees with trunks three to four metres in diameter, a valley rich with resources – fruits, yams, pademelons and emus. These were the traditional lands of the Dungidau, one …

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Sharing our Crowdfunding Success!

Recently Sues, the Abbey Museum Marketing and Sponsorship Manager, and I were invited to give a talk at a webinar (online seminar) being hosted by Museum & Gallery Services Qld, the peak body for museums and galleries in Queensland. The webinar was being produced for regional art galleries, museums, plus other tourism and affiliated businesses and organizations in central and outback Queensland.

The subject of our presentation was for our recent successful ‘Pozible’ Crowdfunding Project – ‘Bringing Back 16th Century Beauty’ in which we raised over $3000 towards the conservation of one of our medieval stained glass windows. Our Powerpoint presentation covered all aspects of our project from the marketing strategy, photos and memes (interesting Facebook photos), to daily tracking and, of course, communicating and thanking all our wonderful supporters.

Our audience included people from Qantas Founders Museum, Central Highlands Regional Council, Longreach Regional Council,  

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The Saga of the Senior Curator and his philanderings…

It’s All About Birds

Yes, you guessed it; he is at it again… Those who know our senior curator know that he has three passions in his life – firstly, his beloved wife (of course); secondly, the collections of the Abbey Museum and finally… BIRDS. Yes that’s right BIRDS.

In this case we are talking about the two-legged (feathered) variety.

Despite the fact that most holiday destinations are decided on the potential of seeing some rare bird species and that her husband spends frequent Sundays for hours at a time to gaze through his telescope at godwits, dotterels, snipe and stilts, his long suffering but loving wife is happy that he engages in a harmless pastime that brings him so much pleasure.

Inspired by Chidori

However, she does draw the line when he brings this pastime home and spends many hours mooning over two little birds embossed on the side of a 17th Japanese geisha lacquer …

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Our Senior Curator Is Having An Affair

Our Senior Curator is having an affair, much to the sorrow of his long suffering wife. Yes it is true; he has fallen in love with a beautiful 1200 year old model of a female flute player from the Tang Dynasty in China.

Over the last week he has spent many hours photographing her from different angles and this time together has only deepened his admiration and affection. And why not, one might ask. She is indeed a fetching creature.

There she kneels on a cushioned floor in an exquisite red and white striped silk gown with an emerald green jacket, playing sweet music on her bamboo side flute.   Her dark lustrous hair is piled on top of her head in a butterfly hairdo as was the fashion of her day. Her gentle face, softly rounded, is beguiling with down cast eyes and rosy cheeks and thinly pencilled eyebrows.  She was possibly a courtesan or female musician attached to some wealthy noble’s court; he made sure he would have music in …

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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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So was it all about love letters?

On Saturday 26 October, 40 members and guests of the Friends of the Abbey Museum sat down in the Abbey Hall to a delicious lunch, beautifully presented by the Museum Catering Team.  The lunch is an annual event in the FOTAM calendar and, in accordance with tradition was followed by a talk given by an invited guest speaker.

This year, our guest speaker was Dr Caillan Davenport, a lecturer in Roman History at the University of Queensland.  His topic, the Letters of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius caught the attention of all his listeners. Dr Davenport used the correspondence between the young Marcus Aurelius and his tutor Cornelius Fronto to illustrate the more intimate details of life in Rome at that time than is found in most history books.

This was no dry old history lesson about the philosophy of a Roman Emperor, but a lively discussion based on private correspondence which was not originally written for publication.  After filling in the background of the finding of the letters and of the two correspondents, Dr Davenport …

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