As we wrote in our previous magazine, this will be our last edition of aMUSine!
We regret the decision of Macquarie University to terminate Museum Studies as the program has been dynamic, innovative and successful. Andrew Simpson, our co-editor and Senior Lecturer delivering Museum Studies to an eager and receptive group of students has written an engaging piece as his farewell tribute to the program. Elissa, as always, has contributed a number of articles that demonstrate her passion and enthusiasm in keeping alive parts of the past that still have meaning and relevance for us today. A walk along memory lane with her is always stimulating and enjoyable.
Part of the fun of aMUSine, is gathering in the articles that come to us from all over the globe. Our man in Norway, Piers, curator of the Canning Museum in Stavanger, has sent in his Farewell piece that makes one want to head up to the Northern waters and visit the country of fiords and fish and maybe get a chance to chat with him and share a few laughs. On a more serious note, the article, ‘Revealing Athena’ as part of the ongoing series by Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis brings to light the challenges and endurance shown by immigrant Greek women in the early to mid-20th century when they settled in Australia. Their hard work in establishing the now iconic Greek café brought diversity to the everyday dining experience throughout much of Australia.
Lovers of ancient history with a philosophical bent will enjoy reading Kaitlin’s informative essay on Hesiod, who ‘bridged the gap between mythology and philosophical thinking’ and is regarded by some as the ‘first Greek scientist’. I can relate to Leanne’s article about her ‘Mother and Daughter Double Act’ as my daughter and I have both been completing our post-graduate degrees at the same time and we have had fun comparing our student experiences. We will both graduate in 2014, me via Macquarie Distance Studies and my daughter from her university in Warsaw, Poland. School days (of our children) originally brought me and the contributor of the Ashmolean article together, Angela Rozwadowski. How lucky for her that a branch of the famed Ashmolean museum has now opened in her charming English village nestled in the Cotswalds. Yet another reason to visit!
Fleur, in no-longer remote Western Australia, keeps her pulse on innovations in the museum sector. Fleur brings us up to date on developments as well as explaining that curation does not take place inside a museum only, as her visit to the ‘Soft Top Museum’ in Fremantle demonstrates. I also loved learning about the historical ‘Hermitage’ in Castle Hill, built by an intriguing Frenchman at the turn of the 19th century, as related to us by Pam Wilson. And for those of us who wonder whether to toss it out, or keep it, there is no question in Amanda’s mind that keeping it is the way to go as she explains in ‘The Einheit’, her ode to ‘collectors of time’.
Adriana’s contribution on the Mazovian Museum in Plock, Poland had me chuckling. I have visited that museum myself and I know what she means about the over-attendant attendants! One has to experience it to know how annoying it is. Actually, this is the case in a number of museums still in Poland and yes, is likely a post-Communist relic of the past when all visitors to cultural centers were regarded with suspicion. Not the most welcoming feeling, but this tradition will likely ease off although a recent attempted theft in daytime at another museum is the reason for attendants in every room.
This introduction will be a little different than our usual format as it welcomes you to our edition, but at the same time, we will part our ways here. We wish to thank you, our loyal readers, and thank our wonderful contributors for their time and energy and enthusiasm in writing for us. A big thanks to each and everyone who has been a part of aMUSine, written by interesting people for those interested in museums, galleries and collections (and that means you too, Mrs. Macdonald, a keen proofreader for Elissa’s early articles!). And the list goes on. As it is also December, and the final month of the year, we will take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the coming New Year 2014. May you all be up to the challenges ahead.
Jennifer, Elissa and Andrew