This presentation on April 21st 2018, presented by The University of Queensland’s Hittitologist Prof. Trevor Bryce, will investigate how, through archaeological evidence and language dicipherment, historians are beginning to understand this lost civilisation. The ancient Hittites Empire once spanned from Turkey’s western coast to the Euphrates river and south through Syria onto the Damscus borders. However, we have known little about this civilisation until the last 140 years. The purpose of the event is to engage with Friends’ members and visitors through an educative presentation. The presentation begins at 2.00pm and is followed with questions and afternoon tea, concluding around 4.00pm.
April Fool’s History
Everyone enjoys a good joke, (whether practical or otherwise) and April 1st or April Fool’s Day is recognised almost universally as the day on which pranks are played. They may be close to home such as sending your brother to find a can of elbow grease so you can shine your shoes or as widely reported as the BBC Panorama report on 1 April 1957 about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland which had many people asking where they could obtain spaghetti plants themselves.
There are a number of theories about the origin of April 1 being celebrated as April Fool’s Day. The most widely accepted is that it goes back to when the western world adopted the Gregorian calendar in place of the Julian calendar during the 1500s. Under the Julian calendar the year began on March 25; festivals marking the start of the New Year were celebrated on the first day of April as March 25th fell during Holy Week. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted, New Year moved to 1 January. The theory goes …
An Unusual Object in our Collection – The Roman Balance
One of the latest additions to our ever-growing collection is an unusual-looking metal device that one has to wonder about. Mind boggling – yes, but in fact this implement has a very practical application. Then, what does it do? What we have here is a Roman Steelyard, or Roman Balance, dated between the late 2nd and 5th centuries. Although it looks like some sort of torture device, it had a very useful and celebrated function; namely for weighing trade goods.
“Is it some sort of torture device?” – Museum Staff Member.
You might now ask how people used this object. Our balance is made of iron and features two lead weights that hang from iron bars. The balance would hang from the ceiling by the upper hook and trade goods suspended by the hooks. The large weight would slide up and down the balance bar until the bar became horizontal. The weight would be calculated by how far the weight was across the bar. Chiselled into the bar at …
The Regency Period – a great artistic era or a bad royal joke?
The Regency Period went for nine years, starting in 1811 when a bill passed declaring that King George III was too unfit to rule, naming his 48-year-old son, the future King George IV, as Prince Regent. While the actual regency only lasted until the King’s death in 1820, the entire Regency Era is generally thought to be from the 1780’s until George IV’s death in 1830. However, the bill was made with reluctance as the Prince Regent was extremely unpopular. He was discouraged from making decisions regarding official governing business and war, so he instead spent all the money from the treasury on things such as balls, fashion, food, and pageants! People did not view him as the ‘Great King’ they originally had hoped he would be, and by his official coronation in 1821, he had become a symbol for senseless extravagance and a national joke.
Regency, an era of change
But although the Prince Regent was disliked himself, the actual regency was a great period for literature, …
“This may be too difficult for you…” This is often the opening comment by a person who is not sure whether we can wrap a gift for them. Invariably the response is “not too difficult –maybe a challenge”.
In the fortnight leading up to Christmas 2017 volunteers operated the gift wrapping tables outside Target in the Bribie Island shopping centre fundraising for the Abbey Museum. Situated right alongside Santa’s grotto we had a great opportunity to see merchandising in action especially noting which appeared to be the most popular gifts for 2017. Many children lined up to meet Santa and have their photo taken, whether they wanted to or not! Some so tiny they will never remember it…
Fundraising under Wraps
Gift wrapping is a very social occasion and, in the experience of this writer, the vast majority of people are very pleased to offer a donation (in some cases, very generous) to have an onerous task taken off their hands. Most parcels were fairly straight-forward and could be wrapped and decorated with a ribbon or bow in a minute …
Did you catch up with the Viking horde during the school holidays?
This year the Abbey Museum hosted its Kids Dig It – Viking Family Fun Week for the January School holiday program. It was an extremely successful and engaging week of fun and activity in and around the Museum. Over 502 visitors enjoyed a full program which included meeting Norm the Viking and hearing all about his tools and viking equipment and also having a photo with him. There were many craft activities such as making a longboat, helmet, shield, mask, naal binding, lucet weaving, viking embroidery and using the viking iron to be enjoyed.
Viking Games afoot
One of the popular activities was dressing up in viking clothes or playing a viking board game called Hnefatafl (try getting your tongue around that one) which is also know as the “The Kings Table”. Another game enjoyed by parents and kids was the lawn chess-type game called Kubb.
Of course – the most popular of all activities was the archery and the archaeological dig.
There was great cause for celebrations recently at the Abbey Museum when we were advised of the successful applications for not just one but two important funding grants to assist in planning and hosting the Abbey Medieval Festival.
Funding From TEQ
The first, from Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) is to support marketing for the Abbey Medieval Festival throughout Queensland and interstate. TEQ has been a long standing supporter of our Festival and of the region in general and this funding will enable us to:
employ specialised graphic personnel to design engaging graphics and Festival images; employ specialised video personnel to create video clips to promote the Festival online; have a much-needed refresh of the festival website with supporting SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media campaigns the funds might also stretch to assist us partially in a new billboard campaign
These funds are vital to help us retain our cutting edge in a busy and competitive tourism environment and to enable us to attract as wide an audience as possible.
Stronger Communities Program Funding
The second, from the …
These are a few of our favourite things
By Jan Nargar
Most of us know that the Abbey Museum has some special items in their collection – but what do you really know about it and do you have a favourite thing?
Have you ever walked through the museum and a special object has caught your eye? What was it? Where did it come from? What story does it have to tell? As staff, it happens to us all the time! Not to mention the Collection Management Team that meets regularly to research and catalogue the Museum’s artefacts – there has been lots of discusion about favourite objects. Each member of the team has particular favourites. Having so many incredible artefacts in the collection we are spoiled for choice. So, listed below are a few of our our favourite things!
Guess whose favourite thing?
A tiny Chinese snuff bottle with a painting on the inside! Truly! A beautiful painting of a crane in a landscape scene delicately painted inside the bottle. It is in Museum Case 26. How was that …
Trivia at the Abbey Museum – it’s here to stay!
Trivia Night at the Abbey Museum has been held regularly for a few years and historically we have always had similar numbers of players attend. Now, our reputation for providing an entertaining evening and fantastic supper has reached a wider audience, making our recent November trivia night the most successful to date! And did we have fun?!
Need more chairs!
It was fantastic to see so many tickets purchased online and twenty-one adults and seven children took advantage of this, so we arranged a couple of tables additional to our usual number to accommodate them. This was great, however we were in for a surprise and did not anticipate the large number of people who paid at the door. In fact, we had to find extra tables and chairs to seat them. What a great problem to have!
On the night there were thirteen teams (over seventy people) vying for Trivia supremacy. Competition and rivalry was keen, and nobody wanted to be outdone! Fortunately there was plenty of supper …
A mystical Christmas evening where the ancient sound of Latin melodies are just the beginning of your Yuletide experience. Allow your spirit to travel back to yesteryear, lulled by the eerie sounds of ‘Schola Cantorum’s lonely Gregorian chant. Be entranced by the magical dusk-light flickering through the stained glass windows highlighting the quaint surroundings of the Abbey Church. Arrive around 5.45pm to allow time to visit the museum and view the collection of medieval manuscripts on display in the manuscript gallery. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the museum shoppe to browse the wonderful array of unique gifts and souvenirs for those ‘difficult-to-pick’ Christmas gifts. The chant begins at the Church at 6.30pm, followed by a medieval themed supper of traditional Christmas food and gingerbread at the Abbey Hall. (Parking at the rear of the museum). This event has limited numbers and sells out quickly, so book your tickets below.