Curator of the Abbey Museum

Curator Interview with Michael Strong

Interview with a Curator

This interview was intended to capture a relatable snapshot of Michael Strong’s life, so that every-day South East Queenslanders (or anyone for that matter!) could find out a little about his humble beginnings, his long connection to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology and his contagious joie-de-vie and knowledge which he shares generously with whomever he meets. He met me at the door of his home-office,  located in the quiet, sunny suburb of Sandstone Point, just off Bribie Island. He was clearly not the boss of his white hair, and his eyes, which sometimes had a curious sadness, became animated at random as he reminisced with a slight British inflection on the fascinating story of becoming the Curator of the Abbey Museum. 

We began to speak.

Michael, tell me a little about your life and how you became the Curator of the Abbey Museum:

There was a pause

Ahhh? Where do you want to start? he asked. It’s a very complicated story, he joked.

Michael began…

I guess much of my story parallels …

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Young Woman with a Stylus

Wax Tablets Roman Style

Wax Tablets….. the Roman Way!

What was your favourite excuse for not handing in your homework? Did the dog ever eat it?  Perhaps your kids have come up with some creative reasons as to why assignments were overdue! I seem to recall ‘the wind blew it away’ or ‘a glass of juice spilled on it’.  We have all heard a few good ones but in ancient Rome,  students had an even better excuse! Their homework had melted by the sun! (Sometimes assisted by holding their wax tablets close to their body).  Now that’s a good one!

Wax tablets and stylus was the means of writing at that time. Paper did not become readily and cheaply available in Europe until the Middle Ages. So, it was necessary to have an effective means for keeping lists, general correspondence and legal documents.  The wax tablet was used as the everyday notebook for thousands of years, although there is increasing evidence that ink was used on thin sheets of wood also.  A number of these have been found at Vindolanda, a Roman Army …

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Abbey Museum Volunteer receives acknowledgement

If You Hang Around Long Enough

Our very good friend Maurice O’Connell (that is “o apostrophe c,o,n,n,e,l,l” as one local business noted on his membership card) was recently honoured at the Longman Volunteer Awards.

These awards are given during National Volunteer Week to honour volunteers in various categories for their service to an organisation within each Federal electorate. Under the category Arts and Culture, Maurice was honoured for his long and dedicated service to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.  He has been a volunteer at the Museum for over 20 years. During that time you may have met him:

taking visitors on a tour of the stained glass windows in the Abbey Church running an educational dig for a class of school students spruiking at the Medieval Festival acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Picnic at Pemberley keeping a photographic record of some Museum activities assisting with activities during Family Fun Weeks driving the tractor to replace the sand in the archaeological digs

Congratulations Maurice – lovely to see your dedication appreciated by a wider …

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