I did promise that I would follow up my first weekend in Melbourne at a later stage. Having concluded my experience, I am now prepared to share a selection of cultural delights from this wonderful city! The purpose of this blog is to look at the Melbourne Museum in a little detail, then list all the cultural attractions I visited during my time to Melbourne.
Firstly, Melbourne Museum. Visited on my first weekend to the city I think it should be everyone’s first cultural stop. The permanent exhibitions cover natural history, social history, aboriginal culture, and the environment.
A few of my favourite elements of this museum were:
- Information was not dumbed-down. They had the perfect balance of accessible but informative text panels meaning that everyone could engage to varying degrees. Text panels and interactive sections were also put at varying heights meaning that people of all ages had something to enjoy.
- There was a “cabinet of curiosities” feel that was present in all the galleries giving your eyes a true feast as well as supplying the necessary information.
- Some of the permanent displays had sections which told you about the collections, the importance of collecting, and the implications of collecting. They also showed the challenges of caring and conserving for such complex collections (this included pests that were both detrimental and advantageous)
- Interactive displays which showed you (or made you take part) in what they were attempting to explain, leaving a lasting memory and a much deeper level of engagement when compared with text panels or video footage.
- Utilising human voice and experience in the Aboriginal exhibition, First Peoples. The exhibition was created with a huge amount of community consultation. The method of creation, and the exhibition itself celebrate the strength, vitality, and variety of Koorie people in Victoria. An important feature of this was the extensive use of aboriginal languages that were given precedence over English, emphasising its rightful importance.
Some other attractions and events I went to:
- Late nights at Queen Victoria Market
- Melbourne Aquarium
- Immigration Museum
- Koorie Heritage Trust
- National Gallery Victoria (International and Australia)
- Phillip Island
- Koala Conservation Centre
- The Nobbies
- Penguin Parade
- Cheese and Wine tasting
- Melbourne Zoo
- Melbourne Gaol
- State Library of Victoria
- The Laneways and Arcades of the CBD (including Hopetourn Tea Rooms – you must visit it!!)
- Various parks
- Lygon Street
- Harbour Town
- Observation Wheel
- Sunday Market
- Late night fireworks
- “Dames of Thrones” – Game of Thrones themed Burlesque show at the Arts Centre
- Shrine of Remembrance
- Sydney Road Shopping
- ACMI (plus the current exhibition)
- Cooks’ Cottage
- Mana Bar (a video game themed cocktail bar)
- St Kilda
- Most of the collections held at the University of Melbourne
I was not able to spend any additional time in Melbourne once the placement had finished, but I wanted to illustrate the amount that can be done in the 4 weekends (8 days) you have free. Pack as much as you can in while you’re there, you can sleep when you get home! From a critical point of view, it has been interesting to see how tangible and intangible heritage is interpreted and portrayed in cultural setting I am unfamiliar with. From a holidaymakers point of view, it was all fun and really interesting!!
Now for some picture highlights:
Game of Thrones Burlesque
St Kilda beach