Curated by Dr David Sequeira
My learned object: collections & curiosities draws its content from over 25 of the University of Melbourne’s cultural collections. Rich and varied, the cultural collections form an integral part of the workings of the University. Primary documents – decorative arts, botanical specimens, zoological specimens, paintings, models, furniture, bones, photographs, books, scientific equipment, ephemera (the list goes on… ) from across all university collections can be largely divided into three main categories, namely the arts, the sciences and the archives. There is considerable overlap amongst these areas and My learned object is a rare opportunity to explore the possibilities of these intersections.
The exhibition’s four main themes—people and personalities, same but different, chromatic variation and mapping Melbourne—connect objects from diverse collections to create unique resonances, removing items from the specificity of the collections in which they are characteristically both understood and housed. My learned object highlights the ways that disparate collections can be combined to tell new stories and form a new interface. Many of the university’s cultural collections were born out of the needs of a growing city and as a result the exhibition articulates the intimate relationship between the university, the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria.
The university’s collection is dynamic and diverse. My learned object: collections & curiosities demonstrates that authentic first-hand experience of objects remains an important aspect of teaching, learning and research at the University of Melbourne.