RDP: Museum

Museum Memories

I confess to being one of those nerdy people who like visiting museums. I think this began when I was a young teenager and was first allowed to visit Adelaide by myself. In those days the shops closed at lunchtime on a Saturday so in the afternoon I would explore before catching the train home. If the weather was nice then I’d probably be at Elder Park or Rymill Park but I was also interested in the three big buildings on North Terrace, the State Library, the Art Gallery and the South Australian Museum. All of these were free to enter so they were a great boon to a kid with only a couple of dollars to spend on her day out.

Sa museum.jpg
Blnguyen, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum was probably my favourite of the three. I loved the style of the old buildings. It smelled of mothballs but it was interesting to see the stuffed animals, rocks and minerals and of course the dinosaur skeleton. However my favourite parts of the museum were upstairs. There was the section devoted to astronomy and the Egyptian Room. I still remember this tiny room that had artefacts that had been found in archeological digs. There was a mummy case. I don’t know if there was a mummy in it but it was very decorative and there was a mummified cat which was intriguing but slightly creepy.

In later years the museum was upgraded and I visited again. I was a bit worried that it would have been spoiled but actually I quite liked it. I was only disappointed that the large fountain outside had been removed.

Since that time I’ve visited all kinds of museums in all kinds of places. I’ve written about the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston and I’ve also been to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart. The most talked about museum in Hobart is MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. MONA was not really my cup of tea. Maybe I’ll write about that one day.

In Melbourne I’ve been to the Melbourne Museum at its old location in Swanston Street and to the new one in Carlton. I liked the old one better. I’ve also been to the Australian Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There is an interesting tour of the stadium complex with their very well informed guides and then you can go and see the various exhibits. I only had a short time to visit so I concentrated on the cricket section. I didn’t even manage to see all of that because I got into a conversation with an elderly volunteer about Ruperstwood and the birth of The Ashes. Still I only missed a hologram of Shane Warne.

Of course my favourite museums are railway museums especially if there are working exhibits but static ones are fine too. I’ve been to railway museums in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart so far. Trainworks in Sydney is a bit tricky to get to without a car but I have been to the tram museum there. There are excellent tram museums in Launceston and at St Kilda, near Adelaide too. I also like maritime museums , there is one in Hobart, another in Devonport and I’ve also visited the ones in Sydney and in Port Adelaide where there is also a very good Aviation Museum.

Jindivik pilotless aircraft – Aviation Museum Port Adelaide.
Climax locomotive at the Tasmanian Transport Museum. Glenorchy.

Naturally when I have been overseas I have visited museums too. David and I went to the London Transport Museum and the National Rail Museum at York. I believe that is just called the Railway Museum now. Naomi and I went to a toy museum in Singapore and in Moscow David and I went to VDNKh, which stands for the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. We didn’t understand a word of course but we could still appreciate the space exhibits. I also visited The Hermitage, in St Petersburg, where again I didn’t really understand anything but it is a beautiful building.

Regional and small town folk museums can be a fun and interesting way to learn about the area you are visiting. Naomi and I visited a lot of those on our trips around South Australia when we were young. Some were really good, others, not so much. The worst museum we ever visited was in country South Australia, I won’t say where it was. It was meant to be a memorial to the life of a local ship builder but it was just a shed full of very dirty junk. We were being shown around by an elderly volunteer and we had to try very hard to be polite and not hurt his feelings.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years visiting museums and I’m sure that on my next trip away from home I will be visiting more of them.



I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.

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