Cultural Collections

Current Exhibitions

From botanical illustrations to research: Watercolours from the University of Melbourne Herbarium

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library from Friday 27 March 2015

This exhibition will combine intricately rendered watercolours of fungi with actual specimens from the University of Melbourne Herbarium collection. The watercolours, also from the Herbarium, were produced by gifted commercial and natural history artist, Malcolm Howie (1900–1936) in the mid-1930s. He worked in tandem with his brother-in-law Jim Willis, a botanist at the national Herbarium of Victoria, who collected and identified the specimens Howie painted. Their collaboration contributed to a greater understanding of endemic and introduced fungi. Also included in the exhibition are books and manuscripts depicting mushrooms and toadstools from the University of Melbourne's Rare Books Collection including the elegant herbal Hortus sanitatus, printed in Mainz in 1491.

Exhibition website.

Image: Malcolm Howie, Fistulina hepatica, c.1935


Boisterous Beginnings: doctors in the Port Phillip District

Medical History Museum, 2 October 2014 - 11 April 2015

Surgeon George Bass, Matthew Flinders' close friend, had visited what became Victoria when he landed in Western Port Bay in 1798 but it was not until settlement in the 1830s that doctors began their work in what was then known as the Port Phillip District. The Medical Register was extended from New South Wales to the Port Phillip District in 1838. There were some formidable personalities practising medicine in the area at the time, but they often had other interests and activities that were apparently more important: politics, for example, the acquisition of land and the accumulation of fortune. By 1844, the Medical Board had listed in the Government Gazette 35 "gentlemen [who had] submitted the necessary testimonials of qualification" to practise in the Port Phillip District. But it was two years before 12 of them formed a Port Phillip Medical Association (PPMA). This exhibition examines these early beginnings of a professional association highlighting the key individuals and social values of the day.


Artist's utopia: Mortimer Menpes in Japan

Grainger Museum, near Gate 13, Royal Parade, University of Melbourne, 22 July 2014 - 12 April 2015

This exhibition of prints, paintings and decorative arts tells the story of South Australian-born artist Mortimer Menpes (1855–1938) and his love affair with Japanese culture. Menpes was one of the first western artists to visit Japan and produce artworks of the people and their customs. He saw traditional Japan as a world where art-existed through all levels of society and artists and craftspeople were greatly respected. A very popular and successful artist in Edwardian London, Menpes befriended and promoted the young Australian virtuoso pianist and composer, Percy Grainger. Mortimer Menpes' love of Japanese culture left a lasting impression on Percy and his mother, Rose.


Current Exhibitions at the Ian Potter Museum of Art

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