Children, Museums and Play – Melbourne Museum Children’s Gallery

Over the holidays I took my own two children to the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum.  It was a first-time visit and long overdue!

img_4178 (768x1024)
Awe and excitement on arriving at the Children’s Gallery.

The space was joyful, playful and engaging – my pre-school aged children had an absolute ball.  We didn’t even get to spend much time in the outdoor space, as it was particularly hot, but the indoor space kept them endlessly engaged.   I spent the entire visit playing and exploring along with my children while simultaneously reflecting on the space from a professional perspective.  Particularly around engaging young children and the importance of play.

This is clearly an example of a large project – but I think there are things to learn for small and large organisations alike.  Some of the things I noticed particularly were: Read More »

MONA – Hobart

IMG_6678I had been hoping to visit MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) for quite some time, so I was pleased to finally make there last week.  I had heard a lot about MONA and their mobile experience ‘The O’ at various Museum conferences and gatherings, so I had quite high expectations.  I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed and it lived up to the hype.  A visit to MONA is quite a powerful experience.

Photography is allowed inside the museum, but publication on websites is not allowed without permission.  So I will share only images of the entrance.

Initial Impressions

I arrived at MONA by car, rather than ferry.  When you enter MONA you travel to the lowest level by a cylindrical lift or spiral stairs that wind around the lift.   You emerge into a cavernous hall with towering stone walls.  This entrance really set the scene for the visit.  It feels like you are delving into something deep, unknown, confronting and surprising.

Read More »

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Bond Store Galleries - Our Living Land
Bond Store Galleries – Our Living Land

Last week I visited the recently renovated Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart.  I hadn’t visited it prior to renovation so I can’t comment on the transformation, but what I did see was quite impressive.  What struck me the most was the aesthetic quality of the exhibitions, particularly those in the Bond Store Galleries.  They were very beautiful spaces to be in.

Read More »

Passion and community

Today I visited the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery in the small country town of the same name. This museum/gallery includes an antique shop, a local art gallery, a vast sewing machine museum, and apparently, a resident ghost. The Sewing Museum: “Sew What” has a very impressive collection of sewing machines, over 300, from almost 100 […]

Jamtli – Sweden

Five hours on the exceptional comfortable X2000 from Stockholm sits the picturesque town of Östersund, home to the impressive museum JamtliI found the train journey actually became part of the magic of the experience.  It whisks you through stunning countryside, showing you glimpses of Sweden’s agricultural past and present.  It is a marvellous introduction to the immersive history experience.

Picture from the X2000 Train

Read More »

Skansen – Stockholm

Skansen is a large outdoor museum, the first in the world in fact.  It covers a vast range of eras and interests – from 1860’s farming to 1930’s businesses, a Zoo, rides… and more!  They have an annual visitation of about 1.4m and receive some government funding, but rely heavily on ticket sales.  The entry price of 100kr (approximately $15) is very reasonable, because you could easily get a whole day’s entertainment out of it.

Entrance to Skansen

Read More »

Tower of London

After a post about probably the smallest and quietest museum/historical site I’ve ever visited, this post is about the busiest museum/historical site I visited in Europe: the Tower of London.  After two visits to London and not going in (budget student travelling) I decided it was high time I forked out the entry fee and went inside.

Tower of London

Read More »

Alone in the little ‘Big House’ (Wales)

I’m very keen on visitor participation, I’m happy about high visitor numbers and I think a busy museum is a vibrant museum.  But sometimes I just really love to be alone in a quiet empty museum.  I think the most special moments can happen when you’re alone with a museum.  It doesn’t mean the whole museum needs to be empty, just the space you’re in.  Especially when they’re historical sites.

When I was travelling in the UK I visited a National Trust site in Northern Wales with some friends.  It was ‘Tŷ Mawr’ or ‘Big House’ translated from Welsh.  This lovely historic site was nestled in an isolated part of the country side and manned by a keen and knowledgeable guide.  The site had an old magic to it, which the guide helped bring to life.

Read More »

Beamish (Durham, UK)


Beamish  is an open air museum near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northern England.  The museum covers a range of eras from 18th century farming to the turn of the 20th century mining.  It sits on a vast rural property with different sections/eras connected by a vintage bus and tram loop.  Luckily for me, the days I visited (the first week of May), the lovely spring sunshine bathed the museum in warmth.  This obviously added to my enjoyment of the outside spaces.  Like all outdoor museums, Beamish is at the mercy of the weather in this regard!

The museum is a lively and fun place, which also offers a comprehensive historical immersion.  The staff are a great highlight of the museum.  I met so many who eagerly and voluntarily spoke about their area of the museum.  Their enthusiasm and knowledge really added to the experience.

Read More »