Really old stuff (HLD 175)

13 Sept 2020

I’m getting a little bit excited about a museum.

The WA museum in Perth, which closed four years ago for renovations, is set to reopen in November this year.

I find this quite exciting, and we are gearing up to get in the door to have a look at what’s new. Or what’s new in the presentation of the old, if you will.

I like history, and must admit I regret not studying it more when I was younger and my brain worked better. But it’s been a strong area of interest for me, so you all have to suffer me talking about it.

The only way to get our museum fix locally in the past four years would have been a visit to the maritime museum, or one of the regional museums. And if you haven’t had a chance to visit the museum in Esperance – go! It’s wonderful :).

But memories of the musty smelling old museum in Perth, with its massive blue whale skeleton, bizarre stuffed animals, and trays upon trays of bits of bones and other curios, sit in the back of my brain.

I’ve been to other museums around the world, of course. The British Museum in London is a firm favourite, but of course if you want to have a veritable smorgasbord of museums you can’t go by the Smithsonian experience in Washington DC. I’ve been to Pompei, Ephesus, holocaust museums, Viking Museums, train museums, art galleries, a museum of life in Wales, and all sorts of museums. We’ve even been to the sex museum in New York.

So I’m intrigued about how our newly renovated museum in Perth is going to look. From the first glance at promotional material, they appear to have taken the culture and history of our indigenous peoples as a bit of a priority, which is a good thing. In fact, the name of the new museum Boola Bardip means ‘many stories’. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading these stories.

It’s fascinating to me that at the heart of the museum complex is the old Perth gaol, one of the many preserved buildings that comprise the complex. But it’s not part of the ‘museum experience’, due to its’ dark past.

Built initially to house convicts, it was the gaol for 33 years before being used as a geological museum. It’s been pointed out that it’s been a museum for much longer than it was a gaol.

But it was an execution site of a lot of people including many aboriginal people, as part of our dark history of subjugation of the first people in this country.

So basically the old gaol will be there, people will be able to look at it, but it won’t be a feature.

What they apparently did make a special effort effort to preserve from the old gaol site was the grapevine that is believed to date back to 1860.

What’s your favourite museum?

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