Cultural Collections

Past Exhibitions

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Past Special Collections Exhibitions

Past Art in the Library Exhibitions

Past University of Melbourne Archives Exhibitions

Past exhibitions at the Ian Potter Museum of Art

Past exhibitions at the Medical History Museum


Doing the Block: S.T. Gill from Newman College and University of Melbourne Library

Ground Floor, Baillieu Library to Sunday 16 August 2015

The work of S.T. Gill is celebrated for his depiction of life in Victoria during the upheaval of the Gold Rush during the 1850s and beyond. Take this opportunity to see original pen and pencil sketches by Gill from Newman College as well as lithographs of his works appearing in contemporary publications from Rare Books, University Library.


Japanese wonders: Beautiful items from Rare Books at the University of Melbourne

Ground Floor, Baillieu Library to Sunday 7 June 2015

Japan has long been known for its sense of the aesthetic, as the way things are perceived is part of Japanese everyday life. This exhibition showcases paper, textiles, fan design, matchbox design, woodblock print creation, kimono design, manga and a few other curious items.


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.


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.


Aftershocks: Experiences of Japan's Great Earthquake

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, 1 September 2014 to 1 March 2015

The forthcoming exhibition Aftershocks: Experiences of Japan's Great Earthquake explores the impact of Japan's deadliest natural disaster on everyday lives through objects from the University of Melbourne's East Asian Rare Materials Collection. The Great Kantō Earthquake of 1 September 1923 flattened the city of Tokyo, killed approximately 120,000 people and rendered a further 2.5 million homeless, all in one day. Highlights of this bilingual exhibition include children's drawings in response to the disaster and historical commemorative postcards. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public lecture series.



Interconnections: Books, Text, Art

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, 2 October - 11 November 2014

The book's primacy in the dissemination of information has been challenged by the growth of digital communication. Information and text now exist in a variety of simultaneous physical and digital forms, as digital technology facilitates the independence of text and format. What then of objects whose content is inseparably embedded within their physical formats? This exhibition explores books as objects whose physical form, text, design and aesthetics are essential components of an integrated whole. Whilst texts can be presented in other forms, the physical act of writing or printing by hand using fine materials creates objects that offer information and meanings beyond that of their content.


"Some are born great...": Celebrating Shakespeare's 450th Birthday

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, Friday 1 August 2014 - 26 September 2014

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth the University of Melbourne Library will be displaying a selection of early modern drama in the Baillieu Library. Highlights will include a 1632 Shakespeare 2nd edition folio from the University Library's Special Collections as well as a 1607 edition of Ben Jonson's Volpone or The foxe from the State Library of Victoria. Dr David McInnis, lecturer in English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne, has curated this wonderful celebration of the bard.


Reflections: Tales from within the crystal

Ground floor, School of Chemistry (building 153), University of Melbourne, 26 July - 30 September 2014

Crystals have long captivated mankind, from ancient healing remedies and myth and legend, to modern fashion trends and industrial applications. Scientific interest in crystals was piqued over 400 years ago by Johann Kepler who detailed the beautiful symmetry of ice crystals. By the 20th century, scientists discovered that X-rays could be used to determine the arrangement of the atoms which comprise the crystal, creating the field of Crystallography. This exhibition celebrates the International Year of Crystallography bringing together crystal specimens, models and instruments used throughout history to solve the mysteries that lie within the crystal.


The genesis of prints

Third floor, Baillieu Library, 10 June - 17 August 2014

Some of the earliest prints created in Europe were from the region we know as present day Germany. Such works printed before 1500 occupy a special place in printing history as they tell us about developments in technology, social history and artistic expression. Many early prints were typically woodcuts of devotional images or those made for playing cards. Due to their ephemeral nature very few of these works of art have survived. This small display showcases rare examples from this early period of print making.


Epilepsy: Perception, Imagination and Change

Medical History Museum, 16 April - 20 September 2014

Attitudes to epilepsy provide an excellent perspective on the collision between magic and science, the earliest records attempting to distinguish between disease and demonic possession. This interpretation of the origin of seizures has influenced significantly the management of the illness over the ages, and continues to inform popular conceptions. This exhibition brings together past and present attitudes to epilepsy examining impact on individuals, families and communities. 2014 is the fiftieth Anniversary of the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.


Radicals, slayers and villains

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library 31 March - 17 August 2014

Radicals, slayers and villains shows controversial figures from history that have challenged the status-quo and helped shape our world. The striking imagery of these works is captured by seminal artists including Dürer, Goya and Rembrandt. The artists in the exhibition have been instrumental in the development of Western art and the universal theme of the individual and his or her role in society is illustrated through these extraordinarily powerful works. The exhibition has wide appeal through its representation of themes, such as the place and role of the individual in society, the depiction of the human figure, the impact of violence, and death. The often violent imagery depicted in the 'slayers' component of the exhibition presented great appeal to artists working from the Renaissance onwards, and inherent in these images is their capacity to shock and inspire awe in contemporary audiences with their lethal armoury of brutal and savage capabilities. The depiction of the human figure is equally arresting in the group of works categorised as 'villains', which shows supernatural skeletons bringing death, hybrid fiends, demons, criminals and evil animals all conspiring to throw our existence into turmoil.

Sidelights and cross-references: 75 years of the Grainger Museum

Grainger Museum, near Gate 13, Royal Parade, University of Melbourne, 27 March 2013 - 29 June 2014

When the Museum opened on 13 December 1938, it contained an intensely personal and largely unedited collection reflective of Grainger's interests across time, place, disciplines, cultures and musical styles. Several years later, Grainger encapsulated his collecting tastes and principles in an observation that 'Most museums, most cultural endeavours, suffer from being subjected to TOO MUCH TASTE... TOO MUCH SELECTION, TOO MUCH SPECIALISATION! What we want ... is ALL-SIDEDNESS, side-lights, cross-references.' The Grainger collection has continued to grow in ways consistent with its founder's legacy and, 75 years on, it is this 'all-sidedness' that is celebrated here in an eclectic selection of objects, each of which has a story to tell.

Muses: music for queens, princesses and royal mistresses of the Ancien Régime

A display of items from the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, University of Melbourne

Ground floor, Baillieu Library 21 May – 29 June 2014

From the extravagant wedding festivities of the Balet comique de la royne in 1581 to Marie-Antoinette sponsoring operas (and singing in private performances) two centuries later, the ladies of the French court inspired, patronised and participated in an impressive array of musical activities. Among the ladies featured in this display from the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library Rare Collections' holdings of scores, libretti, manuscripts and engravings are the queens Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette, and royal mistresses Mesdames Pompadour and du Barry; among the composers are Lully, Couperin, Rameau and Rousseau.

Ad astra: popular astronomy from the 16th to 21st centuries

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, 1 April - 18 May 2014

Astronomy is among one of the oldest sciences. It is also perhaps one of the most diverse, spanning disciplines of mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, and philosophy. It is, at the deepest level, a science that is at the very core of our existence. The science in astronomy has historically been the domain of a privileged few. Those with access to education and technology have largely been responsible for most of the major discoveries of our epoch. Luminaries like Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, alongside others, have made astronomy what it is today. Much of what they found has gone relatively unknown by a public who have neither the time nor training to fully appreciate the scientific discoveries of the cosmos.  However, throughout history scientists, philosophers, teachers, and writers have sought to transmit these high ideas to the non-scientist public so that they may explore and enjoy the wonders of the universe. Many of their works have inspired generations of people and have instilled in them, if not a deep understanding, then a deep appreciation of the cosmos. This display highlights the University of Melbourne’s small but important collection of popular astronomy works and celebrates the curiosity that these texts inspire.


Strength of Mind: 125 years of Women in Medicine

Medical History Museum, 2 September 2013 - 5 April 2014

Women were admitted to Melbourne Medical School in 1887, 25 years after the course had commenced but 21 years before women were entitled to vote in Victoria. These first seven female medical students were tenacious, resilient, and visionary; challenging the social values of their day and making major contributions to public health in Victoria. Led by Constance Stone the first woman to register as a doctor in Victoria in 1890 (she had undertaken her medical education in Canada) they went on to establish the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1896. The first hospital established in Australia for the care of women that was managed and staffed by women and one of three internationally. These attributes have been the qualities of many women in medicine over the last 125 years as they have contributed to all aspects of medical practice and research. Women now comprise over 50% of medical graduates. This exhibition celebrates their achievements from 1887 to now.


Asian arts and scripts: Rare and special items from the Asian collections of Melbourne and Monash University Libraries

Ground & third floor, Baillieu Library, 10 February to 30 March 2014

Asian Libraries in Melbourne (ALIM) is a collaborative venture between Monash University and the University of Melbourne libraries. By sharing resources and expertise, ALIM provides an enhanced service to researchers and students. This exhibition showcases the combined collections of these two Asian Libraries under the broad theme of Asian arts and scripts. Highlights of the Ground floor display will include, from Monash, items in Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian and Korean, focussing on textiles, visual arts, the art of Tibetan Buddhism and rare colonial-era Indonesian books. From Melbourne a selection of Chinese New Year prints will be on display along with a number of rare Japanese woodblock printed books. The third floor display will concentrate on Asian scripts with examples of Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Indonesian and Chinese books



Cultivating Modernism: reading the modern garden 1917–1971

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 14 October 2013 - 31 January 2014

The exhibition ‘Cultivating Modernism: reading the modern garden 1917–71’ showcases Australian garden design during a turbulent period. Displaying original books, journals, prints, and ephemera, the exhibition takes a global view of modernism seen from an Australian perspective. The University of Melbourne Library holds most of the books on display and these chart garden design from the end of the World War One until the dawn of environmentalism in the 1960s and 1970s. In between the shift from Europe to America around the pivotal period of World War Two can be traced, with a shift from European functionalism to a more relaxed Californian modernism. To accompany the exhibition, the book Cultivating Modernism: reading the modern garden 1917–71 by curator and author Richard Aitken is to be released.


Becoming Wagnerites: Richard Wagner (1813–1883) and Australia

Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, 7 October - 19 December 2013

This exhibition explores aspects of the Australian experience of the music of Richard Wagner. It embraces both an early performance history of Wagner’s music in Australia, especially Melbourne, and some of the Australian musicians, primarily singers, in whose international careers the music of Richard Wagner resonated. At the centre of the exhibition is a handwritten letter from Richard Wagner (October 1877) to a German-born Melbourne resident admirer, in which he recommends performance in translation for English-speaking audiences. Selections from the early imprints of Wagner scores found in the rare collections of the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library also feature, as do concert and theatre programs, art works and photographs.


Creativity and Correspondence: The George Paton Gallery Archive 1971 - 1990

George Paton Gallery, Union House, University of Melbourne, 11 - 27 September 2013

The University of Melbourne’s Ewing and George Paton Gallery was at the forefront of modern art experimentation in Melbourne from the 1970s. The George Paton Gallery Archive, held at University of Melbourne Archives, contains a wealth of material which reveals much about the establishment and the operations of of the gallery. This exhibition explores and highlights key relationships between artists and directors and the creative process, featuring original archival material including correspondence, photographs, slides, catalogues, early video art and posters.


Libri: six centuries of Italian books from the Baillieu Library's Special Collections

Leigh Scott Gallery, 17 June - 15 September 2013 (Symposium 24 July 2013)

Libri showcases books by or about Italians and Italy, highlighting the University Library's exciting new purchase of Aldus Manutius's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, printed in Venice in 1499. Other highlights include a fourteenth century musical manuscript, and books focusing on important figures or movements, including Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Vasari, Palladio and futurism, as well as modern day books by Italians now living in Australia.


Venom: Fear, Fascination and Discovery

Medical History Museum, 15 March - 24 August 2013

Human fascination with the power of venom, and the quest for a universal antidote against this most feared of poisons, is deeply woven into the history of medicine. Colonial Australia reflected this fear and fascination. The first exhibits at the Melbourne Zoological Gardens were snakes to warn the local population of their danger. From the first Dean of Medicine, George Britton Halford, the University of Melbourne has been part of the global debate on the nature of venom. Halford commanded international attention in the 1860s for his controversial, and eventually debunked, 'germ theory' of snake poisoning. After this controversial beginning, Melbourne saw a succession of internationally significant venom researchers, notably CJ Martin Neil Hamilton Fairley, Charles Kellaway, Saul Wiener and Struan Sutherland. Contributions were made through collaboration between major research and cultural institutions, The Melbourne Zoo, the Museum of Victoria, Healesville Sanctuary, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and CSL. Numerous CSL researchers, led by Frederick Morgan were instrumental in the successful production of antivenoms. The first Commonwealth grant for medical research, in 1927, for venom research at WEHI set a precedent that eventually led to the formation of the NH&MRC. Struan Sutherland founded the Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU), in the Department of Pharmacology, upon the privatization of CSL LTD, in 1994. The AVRU builds on more than 80 years of expertise at CSL, as well as 150 years of venom research at the University of Melbourne. Cartoons, posters, photographs, research papers, specimens and snake bite kits from collections and archives of the University and associated institutions, such as the WEHI, Museum Victoria, the State Library, Royal Society of Victoria, National Film and Sound Archive and CSL will tell the story of the development and use of antivenom in Australia from colonial times to now.


Sport in Japan during the early 20th century

Third floor, Baillieu Library 7 May to 26 June 2013

Featuring some of the less commonly seen items from the Japanese rare book collection, this display focuses on sporting activities from the early 20th century.

Sport in Japan has historically had religious or occupational connections. Sumo, for example, still displays many Shinto aspects such as scattering salt for purification, and it is believed that some of the rituals of sumo are connected with offerings to the gods or divination. Since the increasing openness to Western influence from 1868, foreign visitors to Japan have brought their favourite sports with them. Some of these sports have stayed and become locally popular.

Sports participation is also highly encouraged at school, with sport being a part of the curriculum all through primary, secondary and even on to tertiary education. Most children are encouraged to join an after school sports club, if only to balance out the long hours spent sitting in class during the day and then studying in the evening. The belief is held that the discipline of regular training and practice are good for a growing mind and body, and therefore sport was considered an important part of the curriculum when the education system was being developed during the early 20th century.

Highlights on display include a monograph on physical education in schools from the first decade of the century, showing hand coloured illustrations of children's games and scenes from a school Sports Day, and items about the Meiji Jingu Games, a national sporting event held between the 1920s and early 1940s.


Evidence of a fruitful life: Redmond Barry and the University of Melbourne

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, 4 – 10 June 2013

As a founding father and first Chancellor, Sir Redmond Barry looms large in the history of the University of Melbourne. Barry stamped his personality on all aspects of the early University from the curriculum to its infrastructure. Evidence of a fruitful life will explore Barry's role in the founding of the University and the great influence he was to exert over its development during his quarter century tenure as Chancellor.


Maps of Asia Minor

Ground floor, Baillieu Library 9 April – 3 June 2013

The Ronald and Pamela Walker collection of maps of Asia Minor printed between 1511 and 1774 are of international significance. Highlights of the collection, including works by some of the finest cartographers of Renaissance Europe, will be on display.


Protest! Archives from the University of Melbourne

Leigh Scott Gallery, first floor, Baillieu Library 20 February - 2 June 2013

From the 1960s, the growth of the social movements internationally and the public profile of student activism brought campuses to the very centre of protest.

Immigration reform, draft resistance and the peace movement against the Vietnam War, Indigenous rights, women’s rights, gay and lesbian liberation and the voicing of environmental concerns were all invigorated by people and societies on campus. As an educator, the University was also an incubator of student activism and was challenged by new forms of debate and democracy. This exhibition explores the acts, events, and personalities of the University Melbourne in a wider landscape of protest from the 1960s to the 1980s.



Highlights of the Harry Felix Simon Collection

Third floor, Baillieu Library to 4 May 2013

Now part of the University's East Asian Rare Books collection, the Harry Felix Simon Collection consists of 1022 books published in classical Chinese c1880s–c1980s, which originally formed the private research library of Professor Emeritus Harry Felix Simon. An eminent linguist, Simon was appointed Foundation Professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Melbourne in 1961. During his time at the University Simon played an important role in the establishment of teaching and research in the discipline of Oriental Studies (later known as East Asian Studies), including the teaching of Chinese and Japanese languages. The collection was presented to the University Library by the University of Melbourne's Asia Institute in 2009. Highlights on display include rare copies of works on Chinese drama, opera, archaeology and postcards.

500 years on: Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ and political thought in Renaissance Italy.

Ground Floor, Baillieu Library to 2 April 2013.

Works from the Raab collection in the Baillieu Library’s Special Collections by Machiavelli and other Renaissance authors are on display.

Life Under a Shadow: John Harry Grainger, Architect and Civil Engineer

Grainger Museum, near Gate 13, Royal Parade, University of Melbourne to 17 March 2013.

The Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne is presenting an exhibition that investigates the many achievements of John Harry Grainger, the gifted architect and engineer whose life was largely overshadowed by that of his son, composer and performer Percy Aldridge Grainger.

This exhibition includes a selection of artefacts from the Grainger Museum Collection which show aspects of Grainger's life, as well as photographs, architectural and engineering drawings and artworks. The displays include correspondence and ephemera relating to his relationship with his son Percy. It will give Museum visitors a more detailed understanding of Percy Grainger's early family life and the often forgotten influences of his father.

The Art of Teaching: Clinical Schools

Medical History Museum, 13 September 2012 – 3 March 2013

This exhibition examines these historic connections and traces the beginnings of some of Victoria’s major hospitals in the nineteenth-century and their relationships with the University of Melbourne through art works, documents and objects from the hospitals’ archives.

The Art of Teaching: Models and Methods

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library 13 September 2012 to 1 February 2013

Models, moulages, notebooks, photographs, illustrations and items from the collections of the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum and the Medical History Museum highlighting fascinating materials and objects used for teaching.

The Loves, Rages and Jealousies of Juno

Ground Floor, Baillieu library, 4 December 2012 - 31 January 2013

This exhibition displays prints about the Roman goddess Juno. Included are tales of her philandering husband, Jupiter; her forays into the Underworld; and her role in the Trojan War.

Curated by Meg Sheehan.


Ground Floor, Baillieu library, 15 October to 30 November 2012
This exhibition is based around a series of linocut blocks that represent portraits by Louis Kahan, beginning in 1955 and ending in 1974, of Australian literary and cultural figures that blew through the doors of the Meanjin literary journal.

These drawings became accompaniments to the stories, fiction, poetry, and criticism published in Meanjin, and give shape to the long and tumultuous history of one of Australia’s longest running literary journals. Kahan’s portraits gave image to text, and faces to writers, leaving us with an almost mythic reflection of Australian cultural life of the period.

The exhibition is curated by Sally Heath and Anna Heyward.

Knowledge Through Print: A Melbourne Perspective

Leigh Scott Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library, 12 June to 2 September 2012

To coincide with the Cultural Treasures Festival, the University Library’s Special Collections will curate an exhibition which re-visits the renowned Printing and the Mind of Man exhibition, which was held in London in 1963. The exhibition will showcase a selection of items from the 1963 exhibition from Special Collections and feature some items which perhaps should have been included in that exhibition. The exhibition will complement the 2012 ANZAAB Australian Antiquarian Book Fair which is being held in the University of Melbourne’s splendid Wilson Hall. The exhibition will run from 12 June to 2 September 2012.

The original 1963 exhibition was presented alongside the eleventh International Printing Machinery and Allied Trades Exhibition, and aimed to show the printing industry its own historical evolution while reminding the general public what western civilisation owes to print. The exhibition’s purpose was to display the technical progress of printing as a craft, the finest achievements of printing as an art, and the impact of printing on the mind of Western man since its invention. The invention of printing with moveable type was crucial to the development of western civilisation, and the importance of Johann Gutenberg’s invention cannot be underestimated. The spread of printing throughout Europe was rapid and by the end of the 15th century all the major states had at least one important publishing centre. Fittingly, the University of Melbourne’s exhibition—like the 1963 exhibition–will open with an example of the 42-line Bible, the first book produced with moveable type.


A Med Student's Life

Medical History Museum, Brownless Biomedical Library, University of Melbourne Parkville Campus, 20 March to 24 August 2012, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Memories, ephemera and photographs of students days collected from Melbourne medical graduates from the 1860s to today.


A Wealth of Details: The University of Melbourne Archives' architectural collections

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, 26 June to 12 August

To complement the Open House Melbourne program, and as part of the Cultural Treasures Festival the University of Melbourne Archives has prepared A Wealth of Details, showing plans, photographs and documents to give further insight into the City Baths and other buildings that are featured in the Open House festival, including the Scots Church, The Shrine of Remembrance, The Myer Music Bowl and more.


Wilson Hall: Centre and Symbol of the University

University Hall, Old Quad, 28 to 29 July 2012

Wilson Hall: Centre and Symbol of the University is an exhibition that will highlight the place of Wilson Hall within the history and minds of the University of Melbourne community. Since the 1880s Wilson Hall has been the ceremonial heart of the University, serving as a venue for significant University occasions, including commencements, examinations and graduations. The exhibition traces the Hall's past, starting from its conception and the subsequent construction of the original gothic building in 1878–1882 with funds donated by Sir Samuel Wilson.

Wilson Hall quickly achieved iconic status and inspired artists to portray the building's majestic visage, which dominated the campus grounds until it was destroyed by fire in 1952. The exhibition records this tragedy and the ensuing community response to the Wilson Hall Appeal Fund, demonstrating the emotional attachment people had formed with the building. This led to strong opinions in the debate of whether to restore the gothic ruins or rebuild in modern style. It is here that the story of the 'New Wilson Hall' begins and the exhibition will explore this through the narrative of its plan, construction and opening in 1956.

The exhibition will draw upon the cultural collections of the University of Melbourne to provide a rich display of original architectural drawings, artworks, photographs and artefacts associated with the Hall. A highlight of the exhibition will be the display of the original silver ceremonial trowel used by Sir Samuel Wilson to lay the Hall's memorial stone in 1879, which was recently purchased by the University Library.

A publication based on the exhibition, Architectural ornament: The history and art of Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne, is now available to purchase for $19.95 from Co-op Bookshop, Baillieu Library Building, University of Melbourne.


Face to face: portraits of artists

Baillieu Library, Ground Floor, 12 April to 9 June 2012

Exhibitions which explore portraiture are currently featuring across the University at the Ian Potter Museum of Art and the Dax Centre. The Baillieu Library Print Collection also contains a variety of portraits depicting famous faces, mainly European, from the 15th century onwards; a number of these are artists. The prints on view are often after paintings and many are self portraits. These images convey the face the artist wished to present to the world. They are faces which represent some extraordinary stories.


Adventure & Art: the fine press book from 1450 to 2011

Leigh Scott Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library, 1 March to 27 May 2012

Adventure & Art, curated by poet and fine press printer Alan Loney, is about the printer’s craft, evidenced from the first printed books in the 15th century, and given a hugely influential impetus by William Morris and the Arts & Craft movement at the end of the 19th. This exhibition shows how a number of technologies that are obsolete in commercial terms are still current in creative & craft terms in the 21st century. Exhibited are books from the Baillieu Special Collections from Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia.

A Symposium discussing fine press books was held from 2-5pm on March 9th 2012 in the Leigh Scott Room in the Baillieu Library. Speakers at the Symposium were Alan Loney, Andrew Schuller, Peter Vangioni, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Carolyn Fraser and Caren Florance.


La Mama

Baillieu Library, Ground Floor, 14 February 2012 to 10 April 2012

La Mama, named after the off-Broadway theatre in New York, was established in Carlton, Melbourne by Betty Burstall in 1967. La Mama was established as a venue for avant-garde theatre, music, poetry readings, improvisations and screenings of new films. Liz Jones has been artistic director and administrator of the theatre since 1977.

The display of items from the La Mama Collection, held at the University of Melbourne Archives, showcased the unique place La Mama holds in Australian theatre. The vital energy both on stage and behind the scenes was seen in correspondence, play appraisals, and photographs relating to performances by Cate Blanchett and Stelarc, the scripts of David Williamson, and linocut posters by Tim Burstall.



Building Rural Success: the early years of Dookie Agricultural College

Leigh Scott Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library, 4 November 2011 to 11 February 2012

For 125 years, the curriculum at Dookie Agricultural College has reflected the developments in farming technologies, agricultural production and education in Australia.Today Dookie Agricultural College is known as the Dookie Campus of the Melbourne School of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne and combines its teaching and research programs with the resources of the working farm. The campus is home to the Dookie Campus Historical Collection, which traces the development of agricultural industry, education, farming methods and land use at Dookie since its early days.

This exhibition commemorated the 125th anniversary of the founding of Dookie, and celebrated the culture and history of Dookie, its personalities and its role as an educational facility and operational farm. It explored the broader historical contexts and social histories of the period, such as the impacts of the first and second world wars and the Soldier Settlement Scheme, the changing role of women, Dookie’s sporting prowess and its identity within the regional community.The experiences of those who lived and studied at Dookie dominate the collection’s subject matter. The items displayed in this exhibition provided an insight into what everyday life was like for the students, staff and families who called Dookie Agricultural College home.


Appeals to a Child’s Imagination: The Morgan Collection of Children’s Books, Special Collections

Baillieu Library, Ground Floor, 30 November 2011 to 11 February 2012

This display from Special Collections highlighted the Morgan Collection of Children’s Books. This collection is based upon a generous donation to the Library in 1954 by the British antiquarian Frederick Charles (F.C.) Morgan (1878-1978). As a result of his generosity, the University acquired one of Australia’s foremost collections of children’s book and a significant collection in world terms.

One of the many highlights of the Morgan collection is its wealth of lavishly-illustrated books. The display celebrated the colour illustrations by the prominent nineteenth-century children’s book illustrators Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway. Additionally, the collection contains not only books, but also various toys and games enjoyed by children of the Victorian era. As was shown by the display, the collection includes a mid nineteenth-century cube block puzzle, a portable folding globe c.1866, paper doll story books and a child’s magic set. Through its rich array of items, the Morgan Collection offers staff, students and the wider community the opportunity to engage with the social milieu of a past age through treasured childhood stories and playthings, some of which are still familiar today.



Medical History Museum, Level 3, Brownless Biomedical Library, 20 June 2011 to 31 January 2012, 9-5pm

The Medical History Museum’s exhibition, Blood, showcased items from the Museum’s collection alongside artworks, rare books and teaching models from seven other University of Melbourne collections and some private lenders.

The exhibition illustrated strengths of the Medical History Museum’s collection, particularly items relating to the history of blood transfusion and the recording of blood pressure.

A number of these items were from the collection of the Australian Medical Association, recently donated to the museum. Sir Macfarlane Burnet’s microscope and that acquired by the University for Professor GB Halford upon the establishment of the Medical School in 1862 were also significant inclusions.


Primary Sources, University of Melbourne Archives, Baillieu Library

1st, 2nd and 3rd Floors, Baillieu Library, until 31 October 2011

Displayed over the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Floors of the Circular stairs in the Baillieu Library this exhibition featured items, panels and stories showcasing some of the collections held at UMA. A major component of the display was a frieze made from a selection of business letterheads. The frieze recalls schema for wall decoration in Victorian and Edwardian times and features plumbing, printing, undergarments, machinery, factories and a union, grocers, a fishmonger and biscuit makers, purveyors of household goods, musical instruments and bicycles from Melbourne and regional Victoria.


Modern Medieval Manuscripts: The Baillieu Library's Facsimile Collection

Ground Floor, Baillieu Library, 26 September to 27 November 2011

The Baillieu Library’s Special Collections includes over 250 manuscript facsimiles – modern editions that painstakingly reproduce every detail of the originals using high-quality photographic and print technology. From early Christian Ireland to the courtly splendour of the high Middle Ages, Modern Medieval Manuscripts illuminates our ongoing love for the written word, and the technology that helps us preserve this heritage.


Write of Fancy: The Golden Cockerel Press

Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, 8 August to 27 October 2011

The exhibition ran between 8 August and 27 October in the Leigh Scott Gallery (Level 1, Baillieu Library), as part of the 'Month of Print'. It showcased the Library’s exceptional collection of Golden Cockerel books from this English fine press.The Golden Cockerel Press, which operated between 1920 and 1960, was one of the longest running private presses, surviving major historical events such as the Depression and World War 2. One of the reasons for its longevity was the vision of its three owners, each of whom had a distinctive influence, which is evidenced through the eclectic range of 211 books produced.

With an example of at least one binding of all of the books produced by the Press, the collection of Golden Cockerel Press books at the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne is probably the only complete set to be found in Australia.


Casts and copies: Ancient and classical reproductions

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 16 April to 16 October 2011

Most of the objects in this exhibition were acquired by the Classics and Middle Eastern Studies departments of the University of Melbourne in the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s to enhance teaching and research. Many of the certified casts were obtained from the prestigious international institutions which housed the originals, including the Louvre, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Remarkable in their own right, key works include the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, the Mesha Stele and the Acropolis kore.

The exhibition included significant plaster casts of Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek and Roman originals that date from the 4th millennium BCE to the 2nd century CE.

See: Katrina Raymond, 'Reproducing the ancient world', Voice, vol. 7, no. 4, 10 April-8 May 2011, p. 7.


Experimental gentlemen

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 19 March to 25 September 2011

Imagine the shock of first setting eyes upon a new world. From the voyages of Cook to the arrival of modernism, Experimental Gentlemen chronicled a changing vision and understanding of Australia. Bold and irreverent, it was an attempt to reinstate the sense of awe and wonderment that inspired early explorers to risk their lives in the pursuit of new sights and experiences. The exhibition investigated changing attitudes to the Australian landscape and its inhabitants, revealing how the narratives of nationhood are shaped by our desires, perspectives and beliefs.

Featuring works by Australia's leading colonial artists, including William Strutt, John Glover, Eugene von Guerard and Augustus Earle, along with rarely seen archival material and illustrated books, all drawn from the university's Sir Russell and Mab Grimwade Collection, Experimental Gentlemen took us on a voyage of discovery, to see the imagined landscape of our nation anew.

See: Katrina Raymond, 'Experimental gentlemen', Voice, vol. 7, no. 3, 14 March-10 April 2011, p. 7.


Trademarks: International indigenous culture from the Leonhard Adam Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 9 March to 24 July 2011

The Leonhard Adam Collection was formed by Dr Leonhard Adam, a distinguished scholar and lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Melbourne from 1942 to 1957.

Culturally significant and visually spectacular objects from the indigenous cultures of North and South America, Africa, Asia, Papua New Guinea and Australia were collected in the 1940s and 1950s by Dr Leonhard Adam, a distinguished scholar at the university and one of the first in Australia to promote the artistic value of indigenous material culture. This exhibition focused on the international content of the collection. Key works included an elaborate ceremonial flute figural carving from the Biwat people in the Middle Sepik region of Papua New Guinea; a Hamatsa raven mask from the Kwakwaka'wakw nations of the north-west coast of British Columbia, Canada; baskets woven by Native American Indians from tribes in present-day California; and Anindilyakwa bark paintings from Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

See: Katrina Raymond, 'Trademarks: international indigenous culture', Voice, vol. 7, no. 4, 10 April-8 May 2011, p. 7.


The Graphic Wit of Roland Topor: Posters from the Gerard Herbst Poster Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 23 February to 15 May 2011

The Gerard Herbst Poster Collection includes more than 2000 individual posters donated to the university in 1996 by Gerard Herbst (born Paris 1938 - died Paris 1997).  It is a significant record of poster design, representing many international schools, designers and periods collected across a span of 40 years of practice in Europe, with a smaller number from the USA, Japan, Asia and Australia.

Twenty-two posters by influential Parisian artist, filmmaker and novelist Roland Topor are presented in this exhibition. From 1990 to 1996 Topor was commissioned by Münchner Kammerspiele (Munich Studio Theatre) manager Dieter Dorn to create posters to promote theatre productions. Each poster usually lists season dates, the title of the play and its author, the director, set and costume designer and sometimes the starring actors.

Roland Topor, an influential figure in French art, design, film, theatre, television and literature depicts absurdities and impossibilities in his art. Influenced by Surrealism as a young teenager, Topor believed drawing should be communicated directly from the unconscious.



Ancient Coins: Heads and Tales from Antique Lands

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 26 October 2010 to 10 April 2011

The University of Melbourne has one of the largest collections of ancient Greek and Roman coins in Australia. In antiquity, coins were an ideal way of disseminating information about an event or political message and were increasingly used for propaganda purposes. This display featured selected coins from the empires of the Greco-Roman world which reveal fascinating insights into the history and society of the time.

See: Katrina Raymond, 'Heads and tales from antique lands', Voice, vol. 6, no. 11, 8 November-12 December 2010, p.7.


Primary Sources: 50 stories from 50 years at the Archives

Leigh Scott Gallery, first floor, Baillieu Library, 8 December 2010 to 25 February 2011

2010 marks 50 years since the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) was founded. Created mainly for the benefit of researchers and students of the University, but with the wider community in mind, UMA remains a treasure trove of primary source material which continues to grow.

This exhibition provided an intriguing examination and interpretation of some of the well-known and not so well-known treasures from our vast array of collections.


The Collection of Dr Samuel Arthur Ewing

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 13 November 2010 to 27 February 2011

Presented to the University of Melbourne Union in 1938, the Ewing Collection comprises fifty-six paintings, prints and drawings by major nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists. By donating the collection to the University, it was Ewing's intention that these works instruct Australians in a love of their country.

The themes of nationhood and identity remain central to Australian visual culture today and this exhibition provided an opportunity to consider the changing values in the interpretation of Australian art. The collection includes work by Arthur Streeton, Max Meldrum, Nicholas Chevalier, Rupert Bunny, Hans Heysen, JJ Hilder and Harold Herbert.

See: 'Ewing Collection on show at the Potter', MUSSE Newsletter, issue 50, December 2010.


Highlights of the University of Melbourne Art Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 25 September 2010 to 1 February 2011

A themed selection of artworks in various media from the University of Melbourne Art Collection.


The Physick Gardener: Aspects of the apothecary's world from the collections of the University of Melbourne

Medical History Museum, 28 April to30 November 2010

The first medical students at the University of Melbourne in the 1860s were taught botany and were required to learn about plants and their medicinal applications. In The Physick Gardener we witnessed the intersection of botany and medicine through the practice and tools of the apothecary.

The core of the exhibition was the ceramic drug jars, the glass specie jars which were to become the symbol of the pharmacist in the 19th century and the copper alloy mortars and pestles, all from the collection of the Medical History Museum. Also included were items from five other cultural collections of the University, including 16th-century herbals and pharmacopoeias from Special Collections in the Baillieu Library, works of art from the Ian Potter Museum of Art and botanical models and specimens of medicinal plants from the University of Melbourne Herbarium. It is a remarkable tribute to the University's cultural acumen that the exhibition was curated entirely from six of its own collections on the historic Parkville campus.

The Physick Gardener also celebrated the recent donation of the Graham Roseby collection of pharmaceutical antiques, including many of the drug jars and mortars and re-contextualises the Museum's Savory and Moore Pharmacy, a re-constructed 1840s pharmacy from Belgravia, London, which is a hallmark of the Medical History Museum's collection. Conservation of a number of the drug jars was made possible by the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund, while the publication accompanying the exhibition was produced with support from the University's Cultural and Community Relations Advisory Group.

Enquiries: Susie Shears, Curator, Medical History Museum, tel 8344 9935 or email

See: How Plants and Medicine Mixed: Medical History Museum Exhibition


Cavities, keys and camels: Early dentistry in Victoria

Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, 9 September to 28 November 2010

In the early days of Victoria, dentistry was carried out by a range of people including jewellers blacksmiths, chemists and doctors. Extractions were the main treatment for dental pain and anaesthetics were not yet in common usage. By the mid-1880s, however, following the formation of the Odontological Society of Victoria (1884), movement was afoot for the establishment of a dental act, a hospital for the treatment of the poor and a college for the formal training of dentists.

Cavities, keys and camels: Early dentistry in Victoria explored the social history, technical developments and professional foundation of dentistry in Victoria. The exhibition drew upon the extensive collection of the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum at the University of Melbourne and other cultural collections of the University of Melbourne including the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Special Collections in the Baillieu Library, the Medical History Museum, the University of Melbourne Herbarium and the University of Melbourne Archives to present the story of dentistry in Victoria from the early days of European settlement and establishment, to the beginning of the 20th century and the emergence of an organised, qualified dental profession.

New exhibition explores early dentistry in Victoria, MUSSE Newsletter, issue 48, 3 November 2010.
Shane Cahill, 'A visit to the dentist', Voice, vol. 6, no. 11, 8 November-12 December 2010, p.7.


Devotion and Ritual

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 17 April to 17 October 2010

The terms 'devotion' and 'ritual' evoke practices that are followed piously, in a prescribed order, often involving the performance of rites or ceremonies that are regularly and routinely observed. In the ancient and tribal worlds, devotional and ritualistic acts are remarkably varied and complex. Within different regions, societies developed specific mythologies and belief systems unique to that locality. Different groups produced devotional objects - some for ritual use - that are the hallmarks of their cultures and civilisations. The objects in this exhibition spoke not of one codified or universal belief system, but of many different customs and traditions. Selected artefacts from the Mediterranean, African, Meso-American and Oceanic regions represented unique examples of relics associated with ceremonial practices, belief systems and sacred customs of the ancient and tribal worlds.


Early Dental X-ray Equipment (a display from the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum)

5th floor, Melbourne School of Dentistry, 720 Swanston Street, Carlton, until September 2010

The discovery of the x-ray by Willem Conrad Roentgen, Professor of Physics at the Royal University of Wurzburg, Germany, in 1895 proved to be of enormous benefit to dentistry in the diagnosis and treatment of dental disease. This small exhibition showcases the type of equipment used in dental radiography in Melbourne from the early 1900s through to the 1950s. Items on display include a Coolidge type dental x-ray tube, a Philips Oralix compact x-ray machine head, a portable darkroom and an early Lubel-Flaresheim Co. timer.

 Keen to explore the application of radiography to dentistry, students at the Australian College of Dentistry in Spring Street raised their own funds to purchase an x-ray machine and dedicated the installation of the apparatus to the ‘memory of those students who fell in the Great War 1914-1919’. The plaque acknowledging their acquisition in 1923 is also on display.


The University of Melbourne Art Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 23 January to 19 September 2010

This exhibition continues the Potter’s recent exploratory approaches to the long-term display of the University of Melbourne Art Collection. Rather than a selection based on theme, collection or historical period, this exhibition will include key artworks considered by curators as the most impressive and valuable.

The exhibition includes works by George Bell, Peter Booth, Rupert Bunny, William Dobell, Brent Harris, E Phillips Fox, Hugh Ramsay, Gareth Sansom, Constance Stokes, Arthur Streeton and Fred Williams, among others.


Banned Books in Australia

Baillieu Library, 7 June to late August 2010

Melbourne has a long history of banning books (both Australian and imported; past and modern) that reflects the transience of social norms and community values.

The exhibition highlighted the complexity of the state’s role in policing the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable publications and how Australian publishers have deliberately challenged the authorities. The exhibition incorporated books from the University of Melbourne collections and private collections as well as artists' representations of this theme.

This exhibition coincided with the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand’s Annual Conference for 2010 titled ‘To Deprave and Corrupt: Forbidden, Hidden and Censored Texts’ held at the State Library of Victoria.

Explore the history of banned books in Australia, MUSSE Newsletter, issue 37, June 2010.


New Acquisitions from the University of Melbourne Art Collection 2007–10

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 20 March to 1 August 2010

Recent additions to the University of Melbourne Art Collection. Included works by Benjamin Armstrong, Leonard Brown, Destiny Deacon, Vivienne Shark LeWitt and Peter Tyndall, plus a suite of early drawings by Jon Cattapan and a major group of 1980s drawings by John Nixon.


Wilson Hall: Centre and Symbol of the University

Leigh Scott Gallery, first floor, Baillieu Library, 15 March to 23 May 2010

Wilson Hall: Centre and Symbol of the University was an exhibition that highlighted the place of Wilson Hall within the history and minds of the University of Melbourne community. Since the 1880s Wilson Hall has been the ceremonial heart of the University, serving as a venue for significant University occasions, including commencements, examinations and graduations. The exhibition traced the Hall’s past, starting from its conception and the subsequent construction of the original gothic building in 1878–1882 with funds donated by Sir Samuel Wilson.

Wilson Hall quickly achieved iconic status and inspired artists to portray the building’s majestic visage, which dominated the campus grounds until it was destroyed by fire in 1952. The exhibition recorded this tragedy and the ensuing community response to the Wilson Hall Appeal Fund, demonstrating the emotional attachment people had formed with the building. This led to strong opinions in the debate of whether to restore the gothic ruins or rebuild in modern style. It is here that the story of the ‘New Wilson Hall’ begins and the exhibition explored this through the narrative of its plan, construction and opening in 1956.

The exhibition drew upon the cultural collections of the University of Melbourne to provide a rich display of original architectural drawings, artworks, photographs and artefacts associated with the Hall.

See 'Did you know? Wilson Hall, pre and post the fire', MUSSE Newsletter, issue 32, March 2010.


Text and Textiles

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 18 October 2009 to 18 April 2010

Egyptian hieroglyphs, Mesopotamian clay tablets, ancient Greek papyrus, fragments of woven linen Pharaonic tunics and woollen Coptic shawls feature in this exhibition that explores how texts and textiles were produced and used in antiquity. Highlights include papyrus fragments from a book by Thucydides found at Oxyrhyncus, faience shawabti figurines inscribed with lines of hieroglyphs known as Spell Six of the Book of the Dead and part of a Coptic tunic (or possible wall hanging) made from linen and wool with elaborate embroidered patterns. This exhibition offers a view into the lives of elite as well as average citizens from the great river valleys of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations through the texts and textiles that they read and wore.

Potter museum hosts Text and Textile exhibition


The Wonder of Don Quixote

Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, 8 December 2009 to 5 March 2010

Many of us are familiar with Don Quixote as an opera or a ballet production. The characters and narrative are so appealing that they continue to evoke a response today, some four centuries after the story first appeared, in a novel by Miguel Cervantes (1547–1616). El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha) was published in 1605 and before Cervantes published the second book which completed the novel in 1615, a spurious version had already appeared. Don Quixote is one of the world’s most widely translated, sold and illustrated books, and the narrative is frequently adapted and performed, signifying its universal fascination. Drawing upon the diverse collections within the University of Melbourne, this exhibition displayed just some of the many interpretations and versions of this wondrous narrative and its characters. It explored such themes as Don Quixote’s Spain, Don Quixote in print, the inspiration of Don Quixote and Don Quixote for children.



Journeys and Places: Landscape Etchings by Jan van de Velde II

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 5 September 2009 to 17 January 2010

This intimate one-room exhibition demonstrates the importance of the artist Jan van de Velde II (1593–1641) in the context of the Dutch Baroque landscape tradition. Jan van de Velde II is considered one of the most noteworthy Dutch etchers of the first part of the seventeenth century. The exhibition includes over fifty prints that are held in the John Orde Poynton Collection at the Baillieu Library, the most comprehensive collection of van de Velde’s series of landscapes in any Australian public collection. Journeys and Places provides a rare opportunity for contemporary audiences to consider the technical innovations of this body of work as well as the symbolic meaning of the landscape in Dutch art of the period.

Download exhibition brochure (pdf 2 Mb).


Highlights from the University of Melbourne Art Collection, part 2

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 5 September 2009 to 17 January 2010

Since the University’s inception in 1853, thousands of rare and invaluable pieces have been collected. Shaped over more than 150 years by the many individuals who have donated, acquired and commissioned artworks, the collection comprises fascinating items of diverse cultural significance. This exhibition includes key paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts from the University of Melbourne Art Collection.


Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 12 August to 1 November

Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia was a major exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark text Origin of Species. Bringing together artworks from public and private collections around Australia, the exhibition highlighted Charles Darwin's visit to Australia and explored the diverse ways in which Darwinian idea of evolution, natural selection and scientific thinking have influenced various artistic practices.


Selected artefacts from the David and Marion Adams Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 15 April to 11 October 2009

Dr Marion Adams (1932–1995) was dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1988 to 1993. Throughout her life she acquired an impressive collection of artefacts from the ancient Near and Far East, Egypt, Greece and Rome, Africa and the Americas. Marion Adams’s husband, David Adams, has continued to add to this collection in her memory, and has generously donated selected items from the collection to the University of Melbourne. This fascinating exhibition featured Classical works from the Adams Collection including a marble torso of the Roman god Sylvanus, an Italo-Corinthian buff ware chalice from the 8th–9th century BCE, and a 3rd-century marble sarcophagus bas-relief fragment.

See: Andrew Jamieson, with a foreword by Chris McAuliffe, Selected artefacts from the David and Marion Adams Collection (exhibition brochure), Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2009.

Highlights from the University of Melbourne Art Collection, part 1

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 23 April to 30 August 2009

Since the university’s inception in 1853, thousands of rare and invaluable pieces have been collected. Shaped over more than 150 years by the many individuals who have donated, acquired and commissioned artworks, the collection comprises fascinating items of diverse cultural significance. This exhibition included key paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts from the University of Melbourne Art Collection.


Ancestral power and the aesthetic: Arnhem Land paintings and objects from the Donald Thomson Collection

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 2 June to 23 August 2009

This exhibition presented bark paintings and other painted objects collected in eastern Arnhem Land by anthropologist, the late Professor Donald Thomson (1901–1970). The exhibition features around a third of an extraordinary collection of some seventy bark paintings in the Donald Thomson Collection. This powerful visual suite embodies the essence of many of the major ancestors who created the landscape and gave life and meaning to the people of Arnhem Land, such as the Wagilag Sisters and the Djankawu Sisters.


Everybody loves a road trip!

Leigh Scott Gallery, 1st floor, Baillieu Library, 27 May to 7 August 2009

This exhibition showcased the collection of Shell Company of Australia, which the company donated to the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) in 2008, in addition to other UMA collections and items on loan from the RACV Heritage Collection. From early in the 20th century the Shell Company of Australia placed a great deal of emphasis on community relations and how the general public perceived its products and the company itself. In Australia there has been a long tradition of exploration of our environment and journeys over vast distances. After World War II this tradition was further reinforced by the growing popularity of motor vehicle ownership and the family road trip. The displays included project albums (to house collections of promotional cards) and other merchandise, posters, advertisements, photographs, documents, calendars, touring maps (including a Braille map of Australia) and tips for drivers. The exhibition was curated by Melinda Barrie, Senior Archivist, Rio Tinto and Business, University of Melbourne Archives.

An accompanying publication is available: Everybody loves a road trip! (exhibition brochure), University of Melbourne Library, 2009.

Download the brochure: part 1 (pdf 5.52Mb); part 2 (pdf 4.85Mb); part 3 (pdf 2.36 Mb).

To receive a printed copy of the brochure, please email the curator, Melinda Barrie.

See also: Silvia Dropulich, 'Everybody loves a road trip', The Voice, vol. 5, no. 4, 13 July-9 August 2009, p. 7.


A Storehouse of Wisdom: Celebrating 50 years of the Baillieu Library

Baillieu Library, 20 March to 17 May 2009

The exhibition was a celebration of the Baillieu Library's history, its collections and treasures as well as its impact on and inspiration for its community of students and staff, past and present. The exhibition brought together photographs (past and present), realia, newspaper articles, prints, paintings, books and film drawn from various University of Melbourne collections such as Archives, East Asian, Rare Books, Special Collections and works from private collections.

Highlights of the exhibition were the screening of the original footage from the official opening of the Baillieu Library in March 1959 and the recreation of the foyer display cabinet as it was originally intended.

The exhibition marked the beginning of a series of events throughout 2009 designed to celebrate the Baillieu Library’s 50th anniversary.

Curators: Jacquie Barnett, Morfia Grondas, Andrea Hurt, Stephanie Jaehrling, Pam Pryde, Kerrianne Stone.


Intelligentsia: Louis Kahan's Portraits of Writers

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 22 January to 19 April 2009

This exhibition brings together Louis Kahan’s remarkable portraits of writers for the provocative literary and cultural journal Meanjin from 1955 to 1974. With Kahan’s inspired contributions, Meanjin became, in Geoffrey Blainey’s words ‘an illuminating mirror of Australian cultural life’. Louis Kahan AO (1905–2002) had a magical ability to depict the facial idiosyncrasies of his subjects and the physiognomic traits of the thinking, working mind. Drawn from the University of Melbourne’s collections, the exhibition includes over fifty drawings of writers, poets and intellectuals including Patrick White, Christina Stead, Miles Franklin and Geoffrey Blainey.



Greek Vases

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 20 September 2008 to 5 April 2009

Some of the most important pottery producing centres of the Greek world are represented in this exhibition drawn from the University of Melbourne Classics and Archaeology Collection: Athens, Corinth, east Greece and south Italy. This important collection covers the period from the thirteenth to the fourth centuries BCE and is one of the most highly regarded collections of classical antiquities in Australia.


Keeping scores: 100 years of the Music Library

Leigh Scott Gallery, 1st floor, Baillieu Library, 1 December 2008 to 1 March 2009

The history of what is now the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library at the University of Melbourne is also the history of orchestral music performance in early 20th-century Victoria. The music library has existed almost as long as the Music Faculty, with orchestral music being purchased since at least 1903. A crucial development came in 1908 with the generous donation of 1,000 pounds to the Professor from Mr A.E.J. Lee "to use as he saw fit for orchestral work”. Conductors G.W.L. Marshall-Hall, Sir Bernard Heinze and John Hopkins have all had a significant influence on the music acquired by the library and heard by the concert-going public.

The library collections have since grown and diversified to include music manuscripts, chamber music scores, collected editions and Monumenta, books, periodicals, instruments, furniture, sound recordings, photographs, original art works and concert programs.

Among items to be displayed will be original works ranging from a 13th-century illuminated manuscript to the latest arrangement of the ABC news theme by Richard Mills, musical instruments purchased by Nellie Melba for use by Conservatorium students, a historic ledger detailing the activities of orchestras including the Newcastle Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and a 1956 Olympic Games concert program which included works by Australian composers Dorian le Gallienne and Margaret Sutherland.

Unusual, unique and interesting objects will showcase the diversity of holdings and demonstrate the important place of the Music Library in providing social and cultural opportunities to Melburnians for more than a century.

The exhibition is curated by Evelyn Portek and Kerrianne Stone with the assistance of Richard Excell.

A fully-illustrated catalogue of the exhibition, with an essay by Dr Peter Tregear on the history of the Music Library, is also available:

Peter Tregear, Evelyn Portek and Kerrianne Stone, Keeping scores: 100 years of the Music Library (exhibition catalogue), Parkville, Vic.: University of Melbourne LIbrary, 2008.


Highlights from the Sir Russell and Lady Grimwade Bequest

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 4 September 2008 to 18 January 2009

The Sir Russell and Lady Grimwade Bequest is an extensive collection of cultural material comprising artworks, photographs, decorative arts, furniture, rare books, historical documents and other memorabilia that provides a perspective on the visual history of Australia from the time of European discovery to the 1950s. The dominant themes of the collection reflect Sir Russell Grimwade’s desire to document the exploration, settlement and development of Australia as a nation and the growth of Melbourne as a city.


Sowing a seed: Art inspired by the Herbarium

Leigh Scott Gallery, 1st floor, Baillieu Library, 15 September to 23 November 2008

Download the poster

Artists in many media - painters, botanical illustrators, textile designers, printmakers, scrapbook compilers, even handbag makers - have found inspiration in the scientific plant specimens found in the collection of the University of Melbourne Herbarium. Although originally collected for teaching and research purposes, and still regularly used by students and staff, these taxonomic treasures have also been the source of ideas for many creative artists.  

Sowing a seed included recent photographic work by Andrew Seward, Kyatt Dixon and Trisha Downing; fabric designs by Nicola Cerini; the work of gumleaf painters from today and the 1880s; earlier 19th-century scrapbooks comprising artistically arranged collections of flowers, algae and ferns; botanical illustrations by Thelma Daniell, Dorothy Derwent Dixon and Harry Swart; and May Gibbs' charming illustrations for her early 20th-century children's books. Together with these were displayed dried or pressed specimens of the fungi, flowers, algae, ferns and other plants that have inspired their work and which are beautiful objects in their own right. Also featured were some of the remarkable magnified plant models made in the early 20th century for teaching plant biology. These intricately crafted and hand-painted models were mostly made in Germany and were used in universities and museums across the globe until microscopy became more easily accessible to the average student.

Sowing a seed was curated by Nicole Middleton, Collections Manager of the University of Melbourne Herbarium. It drew on the collections of the Herbarium, Special Collections of the Baillieu Library, the Grainger Museum and a number of artists and private collectors. A printed catalogue is available.

Nicole Middleton and Sophine Chai, Sowing a seed: Art inspired by the Herbarium (exhibition catalogue), Parkville, Vic.: Cultural Collections, University of Melbourne, 2008.


Write of fancy: The Golden Cockerel Press

Ground floor, Baillieu Library, 17 August to 26 September 2008

The exhibition Write of fancy, curated by Kerrianne Stone, explored the hearts and minds of the inventors, writers and artists of this British press which operated between 1920 and 1960. It showcased examples from the Baillieu Library’s exceptional collection of Golden Cockerel books, comprising the gifts of various individual donors and the Friends of the Baillieu Library. Examples included Eric Gill and Robert Gibbings’ collaboration on The four Gospels (1931), John Buckland Wright’s illustration of Endymion (1947), and maritime history books.

Golden Cockerel books achieved a visual harmony between content, typography and illustration. The exhibition was a chance to discover how this private press from its inception was a flight of fancy, and how through its words and images it became a ‘write of fancy’.

Kerrianne Stone, Write of fancy: The Golden Cockerel Press (exhibition catalogue), Parkville, Vic.: University of Melbourne, 2008.


Sport and performance in twentieth-century posters and prints

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 1 August to 19 October 2008

Drawn from the University of Melbourne Art Collection, this small-scale focus exhibition included works of art that portray theatrical or artistic representations of human movement and sport. Comprising posters and the graphic arts, a special feature of the exhibition was a set of seven works by French artist Marie Laurencin, who was an important figure of the Parisian avant-garde during the early years of the twentieth century.


Microsurgical Innovation: Ophthalmic Instrumentation

Medical History Museum, 2nd floor, Brownless Biomedical Library, 28 July 2008 to April 2009

This exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of the late Professor Emeritus Gerard William Crock, AO MB BS FRCS FRACS FRACP FRACO (1929-2007), a graduate of the Melbourne Medical School who became the head of the first ophthalmic academic department in Australia, and the Foundation Professor of Ophthalmology in May 1963. He was a brilliant and innovative surgeon and clinician, whose research in microsurgical instrumentation revolutionised ocular surgery. He introduced techniques and procedures that are now seen as the standard of care and he was a world leader and specialist in retina, cornea and glaucoma and the first to perform cataract microsurgery.

The exhibition is based on the collection of over 1,000 photographs, documents, design drawings and instruments that Professor Crock donated to the Medical History Museum. The John Reid Charitable Trusts provided a generous grant for the collection to be sorted, identified, catalogued and preserved, and for this exhibition to be displayed.


Australian Archaeologists at Pella

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 10 April to 14 September 2008

This exhibition looked at the ancient city of Pella in the North Jordan Valley and told the story of technology, trade and daily life over many centuries. It also described the significant discoveries Australian archaeologists have made in Jordan for over fifty years. Excavations have revealed Pella as one of the most important ancient cities in Jordan, with a pattern of continuous human settlement stretching back to Neolithic times (c. 6500 BCE). Objects in the exhibition were drawn from the National Gallery of Australia’s collection, currently on long-term loan to the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum, augmented by artefacts held in the University of Melbourne's Classics and Archaeology Collection.


Murderous Melbourne: A Celebration of Australian Crime Fiction and Place

Leigh Scott Gallery, first floor, Baillieu Library, 10 June to 7 September 2008

A Baillieu Library Special Collections exhibition

Australia has nurtured many fine crime fiction writers over the years, starting with Mary Fortune and Fergus Hume in the late 1800s. However, the post-World War 2 years represent crime fiction’s ‘golden age’ in this country. The ranks of Australian crime fiction writers from this period include Carter Brown, S.H. Courtier, Geoff de Fraga, Charlotte Jay (inaugural winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1954), Helen Mace, A.E. Martin, Margot Neville, Eric North, James Preston, Elizabeth Salter, Arthur Upfield and June Wright — to name but a few. More recently, Marshall Browne, Peter Corris, Kerry Greenwood, Barry Maitland, Shane Maloney and Peter Temple (winner of the UK Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award in 2007) have been widely acclaimed for their crime fiction writing.

The exhibition Murderous Melbourne featured items from the University of Melbourne’s extensive collection of Australian crime fiction. It also showcased work by third-year students of architecture and Master’s students of landscape architecture from the University of Melbourne, who have used Australian crime fiction as a tool for stretching the boundaries of creativity and design. The architecture students have designed a Centre for Australian Crime Fiction, to be located on the car park adjacent to the north court of the Union building. A major influence on their designs was June Wright’s 1961 crime novel Faculty of Murder, set in the University of Melbourne. The landscape architecture students have designed stage props for S.H. Courtier’s crime novels See Who’s Dying (1967) and Murder’s Burning (1967), both set in the Australian outback.

Watch the podcast


Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 15 May to 31 August 2008

Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack is a key figure within Victoria’s cultural history. A master of the legendary German Bauhaus design school, Hirschfeld Mack emigrated to Australia in 1941 and taught at Geelong Grammar School. He experimented with colour theory, materials and techniques to create paintings, prints and drawings that harnessed the dynamic and rhythmic qualities of colours and shapes. This exhibition investigates the experimental aspects of Mack’s practice through a display of over sixty artworks and visual tools such as colour charts.


One World One Dream: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Souvenirs and Chinese Books

Third floor, Baillieu Library (outside Cultural Collections Reading Room), until end of August 2008

To celebrate the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the East Asian Collection has created a display of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games souvenirs and books. The exhibit comprises a variety of interesting items such as children's comic books, rhymes, coins, countdown badges, cups, fans, Fuwa (mascots), postcards, posters, stamps and T-shirts. Chinese books on display cover a variety of subjects including stadium design and architecture, manners, pollution, marketing, history and Beijing Olympic Games research materials.


Cambridge Collected: The Pierre Gorman Story

Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, 20 March to 30 May 2008

A Baillieu Library Special Collections Exhibition

Cambridge in Prints and Books

Comprising close to 3000 items dating from 1568 to the present, the collection of books and prints at the University of Melbourne relating to Cambridge – the University and the town – may well be the most extensive outside Cambridge itself. The University of Melbourne since its establishment in 1853 has had strong links with Cambridge University and collected books on all aspects of Cambridge. The acquisition of Pierre Gorman’s collection in 1994 on the initiative of the then Collections Management Librarian, Juliet Flesch, was therefore a valuable addition to the University’s material and the additions since that time, mostly donated by Pierre Gorman, has made the University of Melbourne collection of Cambridge books and prints truly world class. Amongst the particular strengths of the Cambridge Collection are the guide books and the histories of the university and colleges, many of them illustrated by the foremost artists of their day. There are important black and white or colour illustrations in various sizes by notable artists including Loggan, the Harradens, the Storers, Mason, Dyer, among many others. The University of Melbourne Library is the only Australian library to possess the rare Loggan 1st edition (1690) and the even rarer 2nd edition (1715). A highlight of the collection is a splendidly illuminated 1662 heraldic manuscript depicting the arms of the Earls of Cambridge, the Chancellors of Cambridge University and the colleges of Cambridge University.

Dr Pierre Patrick Gorman (1924-2006)

Pierre Gorman was born in Melbourne as the only child of Sir Eugene and Marthe Gorman. After graduating from Melbourne Grammar and then from the University of Melbourne with a BAgSci in 1949 and a BEd in 1951, Pierre went on to study at Cambridge University, from where in 1960 he became the first deaf person to take out a PhD. Pierre was totally deaf from birth but, through the dedication of his parents and teachers as well as his own willpower and intelligence, he learnt to master the spoken language and became an expert lip reader. Pierre had a long and distinguished career in England and Australia as educator of the deaf and a tireless advocate against discrimination towards people with disabilities. After retirement from the Faculty of Education at Monash in 1983 he offered his large collections of books and prints relating to Cambridge to the University of Melbourne where they were acquired in 1994 and 1995 respectively. Perhaps because he did not have a sense of hearing, Pierre came to be particularly interested in the visual arts. He collected in great depth all aspects of the history of the University and town of Cambridge, but especially prints and books relating to his beloved Corpus Christi College. The books and prints in the Gorman Cambridge Collection at the University of Melbourne were collected over a lifetime and to the end of his life Pierre continued to collect Cambridge books and donate them to the University. He documented the Gorman Cambridge collection in an exhaustive bibliography which also includes books on Cambridge found in other parts of the University of Melbourne collections. This bibliography was published in 2008 and can be downloaded here. For his services to the University of Melbourne Pierre was awarded an LLD honoris causa in 2000.


Madhubani Paintings

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 24 January to 11 May 2008

Curator: Bala Starr

The University of Melbourne holds a collection of thirty vibrant and unusual Madhubani paintings on paper from North India. Originally acquired in 1982 as an aid in teaching Hindu mythology by the then-Department of Indian Studies, the collection reflects the strong connections between the University’s cultural collections and its teaching programs.


The Engraver's Hand in the Medical Text

Medical History Museum, 11 to 28 March 2008

See: Janine Sim-Jones, 'Centuries-old medical books on display', The Voice, vol. 2, no. 4, 17 March-14 April 2008, p. 8.


Joe Burke's Legacy: The History of Art History in Melbourne

Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, 15 January to 7 March 2008

Coinciding with the 32nd Congress of the International Committee on Art History, Crossing cultures: Conflict, migration, convergence, held at the University in January, an exhibition on art history teaching and research at the University of Melbourne was staged in the Baillieu Library. Curated by PhD student Ben Thomas, the exhibition drew upon the papers of such seminal figures as Joseph Burke (the first Herald Professor of Fine Arts), Ursula Hoff, Margaret Manion, Franz Philipp, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack and Leonhard Adam, all held at the University of Melbourne Archives, as well as works from the University Art Collection, including the Leonhard Adam Collection of international Indigenous Culture.

Ben Thomas presented a seminar for the History of the University Unit at 1:00 on Tuesday 4 March in the Leigh Scott Room, First Floor, Baillieu Library.

Exhibition catalogue

Sir Andrew Grimwade's speech opening the exhibition

Silvia Dropulich, 'Art as History', The Voice, vol. 2, no. 2, 8 February-3 March 2008, p. 8.


Major Kenneth Russell, pioneer dental surgeon, WWI 1914–1918

A display from the collection of the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum, School of Dental Science.

This small but intriguing display looked at the work of Major Kenneth Russell D.D.Sc (1885–1945) during world war 1.  After serving with the AIF as a dental officer in Egypt and France, Russell was transferred in 1917 to the special face and jaw hospital in Sidcup, Kent, England. He cared for patients with jaw and facial injuries and trained dental officers in the special methods of treatment used at that time.

He also made collections of teaching models and appliances for the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The display was part of the original Melbourne collection that was housed in the museum of the Australian College of Dentistry. Now part of the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum, the collection is possibly the only remaining example of treatment techniques from this period.