If you’ve been to Albury, Corowa or the Greater Hume area, you’ll be aware the region has several strong cultural personalities and an incredible future. In 2015, the city will launch an incredible new Art Gallery. But 2014 belonged to Albury LibraryMuseum and nearby museums who developed Identity, a project which sought to articulate the characteristics of the eclectic Western Riverina. Five local museums worked together to select objects which truly expressed their distinct identity. Indigenous tools, artworks, agricultural equipment, and textiles, were among those nominated and exhibited in the LibraryMuseum before returning to pride of place in each museum.
Identity is underpinned by an innovative and inclusive approach to regional heritage; one where . . . injecting energy into each museum’s planning and programming, is paramount.
Corowa Museum selected Shearing the Rams, by Tom Roberts, a distinctly Australian scene with strong men doing honest toil, a theme which resonates deeply within the community of dry sheep farmers. The original artwork hangs in the National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum has a sketch on display.
Holbrook Submarine Museum picked a replica of the Otway Submarine Christening Bell. A ceremonial piece, the bell was mounted on the conning tower whenever the submarine was in port. Taken down, upturned and filled with holy water, the bell served for many years as a christening font for children of the submarine’s crew.
The selected objects were diverse and evoked a number of unique histories: a hand-stitched ‘sampler’ demonstrated the embroidery skills of girls; a cradle scythe, developed in the United States and used to harvest wheat and oats, evoked the hard yakka of agricultural life; and five hand-made papier-mache puppets recalled the ways early migrants were introduced to our ‘Australian ways’ .
Bridget Guthrie, Museum and Social History Coordinator at Albury LibraryMuseum, at AlburyCity was overjoyed with the success of Identity and said it reinforced the value and importance of a large museum network in regional areas.
“We have a greater sense of a regional collection. We can now pull thematic ties between the small museum collections and the Albury LibraryMuseum collection and see how everything fits together.”
Explore each of the museums and their collection using the easy to navigate website. Identity is underpinned by an innovative and inclusive approach to regional heritage; one where building relationships, developing skills and injecting energy into each museum’s planning and programming, is paramount. Guthrie says projects like this are an important way to develop sustainable regional museums now and for the future; “We’d certainly love to see a few more museums add their unique collections.”
Follow the Identity Trail along with a suite of new videos to easily identify each place.