Strange things, eclectic things, random things – all wonderful things! As Sovereign Hill’s Gold Museum celebrates its 40th Anniversary – a new exhibition, Wonderful Things: Celebrating 40 Years of the Gold Museum, pays homage to its vast collections, showcasing everything from taxidermy, fashion and art, to pharmacology and weaponry.
“Since 1978, the Gold Museum has been collecting objects and stories that relate to Ballarat and the Victorian goldfields,” said Sara Quon, Sovereign Hill CEO. “This new exhibition represents the museum’s unique role as custodian for the almost 150,000 objects that underpin the Sovereign Hill experience and represent the unique heritage of the area.”
The exhibition also features a special partnership with the Ballarat Arts Foundation and composer Daniel Tusjak who produced a whimsical and quirky soundtrack inspired by the museum’s eclectic collection, which can be heard in the exhibition galleries.
The museum’s oldest costume piece will also be on display at the new exhibition – an elaborate dress dating back more than 200 years. The hand-stitched dress is embroidered with crimson foliage pattern, and is just one of fashion items that is on display as part of the exhibition.
Wonderful Things also features a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ filled with a strange and eclectic mix of objects, including a carpet beater, which was used before the invention of the vacuum cleaner when rugs and loose carpet were hung outside and struck with a carpet beater, as well as a hot water urn and lid, which is said to arrived in Ballarat with its owner John Holloway in 1854.
Other highlights in the exhibition include a Homeopathy set, circa 1900. This is a collection of 13 natural remedies that were used to assist a range of conditions from inflammation to low iron; and Binding shoes, collected by George and Robina Arnott-Rogers, who worked as missionaries in China between 1899 and 1916. The shoes were donated by the couple’s daughter in 1984.
Visitors can also see a tortoise cranium, and hartebeest horns, which make up the Dr Sydney Pern Collection. Dr Pern was an avid collector, amateur photographer and artist from the nineteenth century, who assembled an eclectic collection of animal remains and geographical specimens, and a Magic Lantern collection, which features projections of the Gold Museum’s magic lanterns depicting children’s stories and educational slides about animals and the sea.
The famous Ballarat Bertie Mascot from the Ballarat Brewery Company. In 1926 the Ballarat Brewing Company launched its first major advertising campaign, using the character of ‘Ballarat Bertie’. Ballarat Brewing company was established in 1910, after the amalgamation of three breweries – the Royal Standard Brewery, Phoenix Brewery and Barley Sheaf Brewery all established in 1857.
Wonderful Things: Celebrating 40 Years of the Gold Museum
Gold Museum, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat
Exhibition continues to 10 June 2019
For more information, visit: www.sovereignhill.com.au for details.
Image: Installation view of Wonderful Things: Celebrating 40 Years of the Gold Museum (supplied)