Resin: an essential piece of kit

By Marisa Giorgi, Information Officer, Queensland Museum There is nothing new about the use of adhesives and sealants. They have been a critical element in the technology of First Australians for thousands of years. Plant-based resin has been employed in the production of many traditional tools and when prepared correctly, resin can become as hard as rock. There is evidence of resin-use in toolmaking from … Continue reading Resin: an essential piece of kit

Bring back ‘furphy’, an old word for a modern problem

There is a lot of questionable information doing the rounds on social media. Many contributions are distorted or exaggerated, and some are just plain wrong, rest assured we have made every effort to verify what follows. There is an old Australian term which can be aptly applied to a false rumour or theory: it’s a ‘furphy’. The use of the word ‘furphy’ for misinformation can … Continue reading Bring back ‘furphy’, an old word for a modern problem

Mistakes can happen

By Patrick Couper, Senior Curator Vertebrates, Queensland Museum The biological specimens in museum collections need constant monitoring to ensure their long-term preservation. Initially they are treated in a manner that prevents decay. For wet vertebrate collections (whole specimens stored in jars or vats of alcohol), an animal’s organs, muscles and other tissues are fixed, usually with formalin. This results in the formation of covalent bonds … Continue reading Mistakes can happen

Panzers, parsley, soap and the devil!

By Damien Fegan, Information Officer, Queensland Museum Among the numerous objects and specimens on display at Queensland Museum are some with truly extraordinary stories! Today Damien Fegan from the Discovery Centre shares new research on one of his favourite objects on display at the Anzac Legacy Gallery. Mephisto, or more formally, A7V Sturmpanzerwagen (armoured assault vehicle) #506, the only surviving German tank from the First … Continue reading Panzers, parsley, soap and the devil!

Cobb+Co Museum’s Horse-Drawn Omnibus

By Jeff Powell, Curator Cobb+Co Museum Next time you catch a bus, have a thought for “commuters” of Brisbane in the nineteenth century! Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba contains over 50 horse-drawn vehicles, including a horse-drawn omnibus. The museum preserves the history of what was known as the ‘the horse and buggy era’, but we concede that most people could not afford a buggy, nor even … Continue reading Cobb+Co Museum’s Horse-Drawn Omnibus

Celebrating World Anthropology Day 

By Karen Kindt, Collection Manager Anthropology  What is Anthropology?  Understanding who we are, where we come from and our place in the world, is critical to humanity. We can find meaning and answers through the discipline of Anthropology. Applying this discipline, through studying human behaviours and societies, we are able to understand the affects, on our physical, cultural and social environments.  Anthropology helps us understand … Continue reading Celebrating World Anthropology Day 

Bushfire Brandalism and Australia’s Black Summer 

By Charlotte Lethbridge, Volunteer Researcher, Queensland Museum With the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of the news and minds of most Australians, it can be easy to forget that only two years ago, Australia was dealing with one of the deadliest bushfire seasons in Australian history. A collection of 41 posters in the Queensland Museum collection documents the artistic community’s response to the 2019–2020 Bushfire … Continue reading Bushfire Brandalism and Australia’s Black Summer 

Curating ‘Connections across the Coral Sea’

Connections across the Coral Sea reveals the latest archaeological research around the earliest movements and trade between the seafaring cultures of Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait and the northeast coast of Queensland. Every new exhibition gives us an opportunity to reassess how we curate and develop displays. How can objects be used to tell a story? More importantly, whose story, and which story are we … Continue reading Curating ‘Connections across the Coral Sea’

A Glimpse into the Porcelain Cabinet: Ceramics & Antiquity in the Ben Ronalds Collection 

By Alessandra Schultz, Cultures & Histories Volunteer, Queensland Museum Take a look into the cabinets of the Ben Ronalds Collection of Fine Ceramics and Glassware, in the State Collection, with Cultures & Histories Program Volunteer, Alessandra Schultz.  For many of us, gazing into the prized porcelain and china cabinets of a mother or grandmother is a fond and familiar childhood memory. As a volunteer, researching the Ben Ronalds Collection in the Cultures and Histories Program at Queensland Museum, I have found myself … Continue reading A Glimpse into the Porcelain Cabinet: Ceramics & Antiquity in the Ben Ronalds Collection 

What has four legs, two wheels and flies?

By Jeff Powell, Curator Cobb+Co Museum. Transport museums are not usually associated with presenting medical advances, but few objects in any museum had a bigger impact on public health than our dunny cart. It is difficult for us in the twenty-first century to imagine a time when people were left to their own devices regarding human waste or ‘night soil’, as it was genteelly called … Continue reading What has four legs, two wheels and flies?

Trolley of Death

I have yet to meet anyone that isn’t fascinated by venomous creatures and their potential to… well, kill you. Australia is full of them and some are not always what you would expect! Working at the museum means I have access to a whole host of natural history objects. Recently I had to do a photoshoot featuring some of the venomous animals I work on. … Continue reading Trolley of Death

Working for the Man in the Afterlife

By David Parkhill Assistant Collection Manager, Queensland Museum South Bank The Queensland Museum holds twenty shabti, or shabti related objects in its Archaeology collection.  Here is a closer look at one of them. The afterlife Ancient Egyptians, along with many other cultures, held a strong belief in the afterlife.  Also in keeping with other civilisations, they would include grave goods such as perfume bottles or … Continue reading Working for the Man in the Afterlife

150 years of Daintree

Geraldine Mate – Principal Curator of History, Industry & Technology and Alessandra Schultz – Volunteer, Cultures & Histories Program  When you snap that amazing photo of a mountain or waterfall, do you ever think about the early photographers of Queensland?   This year marks 150 years since the London International Exhibition where Richard Daintree’s images of early colonial Queensland were first displayed. From May to August 1871, a collection of … Continue reading 150 years of Daintree

In every suburban street

Many of us think nothing of picking up a few things for dinner on the way home, or purchasing a trolley load of groceries at the supermarket on the weekend. Shopping in supermarkets is a part of everyday life in Australia, but it is a fairly recent phenomenon. Large suburban shopping centres only sprang up in the years since car ownership became commonplace in the 1950s. Continue reading In every suburban street

Queensland Gambit

by Judith Hickson, Curator, Social History, Queensland Museum In mid-2019, buying a chess set for my granddaughter’s birthday proved to be more difficult than I imagined. I was looking for something special – not too expensive – a set that might last her until she could afford a better one of her own one day. The range of sets I found in toy and department … Continue reading Queensland Gambit

Four years and a Pandemic in the making

Dr Geraldine Mate, Cultures & Histories program This week Queensland Museum archaeologists start fieldwork in an exciting community-led project exploring Australian South Sea Islander lived identities in the Mackay region.   Imagine the scene… A fenced cattle paddock, some old concrete foundations, and a lovely tropical garden arrayed along a small quiet country road. One day two port-a-loos arrive, the next a bus and two 4WDs arrive and 15 archaeologists, anthropologists, … Continue reading Four years and a Pandemic in the making

Of course everybody wonders what a crocodile hairball looks like! Or do they?

by Marisa Giorgi, Discovery Centre Information Officer When cabinets of curiosity were fashionable, this strange looking smooth ball would be a worthy addition. In those early 16th century permutations of what would become museums, what could be more appropriate than a crocodile bezoar or hairball nestled among a collection of peculiar oddities on display? Hair, along with hooves, claws, and fingernails for that matter, is … Continue reading Of course everybody wonders what a crocodile hairball looks like! Or do they?

More than just tea towels: the migrants, makers and merchandise of Reef Productions

Queensland Museum Network’s Museum Development Officers provide vital support for regional community collections across Queensland. The Museum Development Officer program is an important partnership between the Queensland Museum and Arts Queensland. The program employs five professionally qualified Museum Development Officers, known as MDOs, who are based in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Ipswich and Toowoomba. For the last 12 months, Cairns MDO Dr Jo Wills has been working … Continue reading More than just tea towels: the migrants, makers and merchandise of Reef Productions

How artists use our research collection

Queensland Museum Network’s mammal and bird collections are like a library of animals. Unlike a regular library of books where you go to read to take away information gathered from authors, visiting scientists and artists study the animals, generating information to fill in the gaps in our understanding of the unique fauna of Queensland.  Artists use the research collection in a number of ways: to … Continue reading How artists use our research collection

Caravanning in Queensland

By Jeff Powell, Curator Cobb+Co Museum. A caravan in Queensland Museum’s collection (H46579) was made by Duncan (Len) Macpherson around 1945. Although simple in appearance, the caravan is evidence that Len was a bit of a trendsetter. His wooden caravan is a tangible example of social changes that were about to sweep the nation. Caravans were not completely unknown in the late 1930s, but were … Continue reading Caravanning in Queensland