national museum

no.6 3 December 2009 22

the national museum is advertising [although not on NMA’s recruitment page – Ed] for a new director [the previous director, Craddock Morton, announced his retirement in Sept – Ed] .. oh i hope he /she is not a fan of multi interactive screens and noise noise noise ..

why cant we just see some of the thousands of objects you keep hidden from us whilst you fill spaces with annoying loud flickering garbage..

im not anti techno with delicate ears but come on … how on earth can you enjoy it with your senses being abused .. most other museums have an inviting environment to learn and absorb ..

anyone feel the same … no under 10’s allowed to answer!


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trevar trevar 4:37 pm 07 Dec 09

GnT said :

Why are under 10s not allowed to comment? Are they not part of our community too who are also entitled to an interesting experience at our national museum?

Good point: my eldest loves the museum. If I ask where they want to go and rattle off a list of national institutions, she always wants to go to the museum…

Zanzibert Zanzibert 1:19 pm 04 Dec 09

Thumper said :

The NMA is reputed to be seriously haunted….

I wouldn’t have expected that, since the building itself is scarcely 10 years old.

However, if you allow for it’s significant collection of sacred indigenous artefacts, and it’s long history as a Hospital and Hospice site before it was a Museum, then perhaps there is ample justification for a few ‘ghosts’. There would have been quite a few traumatic deaths associated with that location.

Pity that the overwhelming noise and flickering screens do give it the sensation of a mall with very few products. If it were quieter, one might spot something really interesting!

Agreed, the layout is also horrible for tourists. It’s actually pretty simple – just one unfurling corridor – but most first-time visitors don’t seem to realise that.

Don’t even get me started on the GOAD, or “Garden of Australian Dreams” >:(

GnT GnT 1:08 pm 04 Dec 09

Why are under 10s not allowed to comment? Are they not part of our community too who are also entitled to an interesting experience at our national museum?

I take my three kids (aged 4, 3 and 1) there regularly and they LOVE it! They know exactly where their favourite exhibits are – K-Space, the Little Red Riding Hood story and the make your own backyard touch screen. They also love the cubbies and the story tree.

The layout allows you to explore different parts of the museum and create your own path. A prescriptive path might take you past exhibits you are not interested in. There’s no way you can see everything in one day anyway, so the floor plan allows you to explore a different part of the museum each time.

Chronological order? – give me a break! What could be more boring than tramping through history in order? The Australian Journeys gallery (upstairs) has a range of objects from Rolf Harris’s wobbleboard to a convict jacket, all connected through the theme of migration. Each story is fascinating and has an interactive aspect to keep the kids’ attention.

If it was a ‘traditional’ museum, with plenty of artefacts behind glass and text to read, there would be a whole lot of kids bored to their brains and you miss out on engaging the interest of a whole generation of Australians. I’ll continue to take my kids there and look forward to their interest and attention spans growing so we can explore the museum in more depth. It’s free, it’s air-conditioned, it’s educational and it’s fun.

PBO PBO 10:33 am 04 Dec 09

Thumper said :

The NMA is reputed to be seriously haunted….

If the last example of my existance was on display next to a Hills Hoist I would haunt the place too.

smilesr smilesr 10:25 am 04 Dec 09

“Brash, awkward, aggressive and a bit clumsy, it reflects our national character.”

Are you saying that if it was more staid, considered and sophisticated it would be “un-Australian”?

Thumper Thumper 9:01 am 04 Dec 09

The NMA is reputed to be seriously haunted….

trevar trevar 7:58 am 04 Dec 09

I’ve recently visited Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington. It is probably a little older than our NMA, and much bigger, but otherwise quite similar. It’s larger, and has a very interesting garden displaying a range of New Zealand’s vegetation and geological features. It also has some natural history exhibits and visual art displays. Other than that, it attempts much the same account as the NMA, with a little less bling and a little less noise.

I think, in comparison with Te Papa, the NMA stands up quite well. It’s a different institution, and whereas Te Papa suffers slightly from a sense of ‘niceness’ (I don’t mean that in a good way), the NMA is rather more bold and brash and more prone to causing offence, which reflects fundamental cultural differences between New Zealanders and Australians.

The big museums I’ve visited in the UK and US are much more staid and solemn affairs. They’re more educational, but artificially try to separate all emotion from their displays.
I like the New Zealand and Australian examples better. They’re harder to understand, but so are our countries.

On that basis, I think the NMA serves its purpose extremely well. Brash, awkward, aggressive and a bit clumsy, it reflects our national character. So I think the Australian public’s love/hate relationship with the NMA is an excellent reflection of our cultural cringe that causes us to at once both love and hate our own identity.

s-s-a s-s-a 11:25 pm 03 Dec 09

It took me several years of regular visits to the museum AND asking directions to a particular advertised exhibit before I discovered the two-storey section devoted to the permanent Aboriginal and Islander display. Hmmm interesting… was that an intentional thing or not?

Last time we were there a good chunk of the first bit of the first floor (ie just beyond Circa) was closed for a revamp and have not been back since.

I’d also like to petition management to bring back the original Circa!

Anna Key Anna Key 10:42 pm 03 Dec 09

Spoono said :

I see you’re not a fan of capitalisation either. I shall contact the NMA and comission an interactive on grammar

to paraphrase Jebus, let he who is without typos cast the first stone

sexynotsmart sexynotsmart 9:20 pm 03 Dec 09

I’ve dragged six separate family groups through that place in the last 18 months, so I feel I can speak with some authority.

There is one excellent room tucked away in one of the basements. It’s several bays of orange metal floor-to-ceiling display cases absolutely chockas with aboriginal and islander artefacts (spears, boomerangs, masks etc). But you can only get into the damn thing if they forget to close the door after school groups have walked through it. And the lights go off every 10 minutes.

But my big whinge is… who is responsible for the floorplan? I say responsible because I don’t think anyone designed it. Every time we try to follow a path that sees us visit each exhibit – once. And every time we’ve had to backtrack at some point. What kind of sadist implements a museum without an optimal search path?

no.6 no.6 5:03 pm 03 Dec 09

job advertised internationally – Ed

smilesr said :

Any actual artefacts seem to be drowned out by all the bling. It’s like being in a casino! It’s a museum-LITE. I hate it with a passion!

hooray – I totally agree with ya comment – this is a museum for the public with public funds – if artefacts are not on display they are in storage in controlled areas costing more $$$$’s

jesus … didnt realise teacher was marking english on this thing … get a life – its only a soapbox site – comment on the subject matter or do you lack spare time to visit the museum coz your too busy searching grammar mistakes on the net.

PBO PBO 3:36 pm 03 Dec 09

H1NG0 said :

Worst Museum Ever

Have to agree having seen the Smithsonian Museums

smilesr said :

Any actual artefacts seem to be drowned out by all the bling. It’s like being in a casino! It’s a museum-LITE. I hate it with a passion!

It would be a lot better if it was all placed in a chronological order, Would be even better if they had an anomalous archeology exhibition so they could show all the bits and pieces that they have that dont quite fit into accepted Australian history. Maybe they could also show less Hills Hoists and old Victa lawn mowers too.

smilesr smilesr 3:22 pm 03 Dec 09

Any actual artefacts seem to be drowned out by all the bling. It’s like being in a casino! It’s a museum-LITE. I hate it with a passion!

LlamaFrog LlamaFrog 1:22 pm 03 Dec 09

LlamaFrog said :

that thing still open, worst museeum eva.

some good spelling there.

LlamaFrog LlamaFrog 1:21 pm 03 Dec 09

that thing still open, worst museeum eva.

DarkLadyWolfMother DarkLadyWolfMother 12:34 pm 03 Dec 09

Even having the hearing problem housebound mentioned, I rather like the way the museum is set up. Of course, I would like more objects to look over too, but I’m greedy and want it all.

el el 12:33 pm 03 Dec 09

Spoono said :

I see you’re not a fan of capitalisation either. I shall contact the NMA and comission an interactive on grammar

Please ‘comission’ one on spelling while you’re at it.

To quote Google: Did you mean: commission

http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Skitt%E2%80%99s_Law

spinact spinact 12:26 pm 03 Dec 09

Spoono said :

I see you’re not a fan of capitalisation either. I shall contact the NMA and comission an interactive on grammar

Get one for spelling while you’re at it 😉

housebound housebound 11:48 am 03 Dec 09

The noise thing is a real issue for people who have trouble picking out one sound/noise from another (it’s an early sign of hearing loss and most of us would have first noticed it when we had to work a bit harder to hear the conversation in a noisy pub, or is that my age showing?). But, the museum setup seems to work for the mass communication generation – until their hearing starts to go, of course.

Some areas are worse than others because there isn’t enough physical space between competing speakers. And anyone with hearing difficulties shouldn’t go when it’s busy.

Spoono Spoono 10:40 am 03 Dec 09

I see you’re not a fan of capitalisation either. I shall contact the NMA and comission an interactive on grammar

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