Tuesday, October 7, 2008

National Museum of Australia in Canberra

I hope to spend at least one day at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Looking at the website for the museum makes me feel this place is just too good to be true.

It's located on a lake peninsula. Pretty cool. I mean it's not THAT cool.  

I don't mean to say the whole peninsula thing is too good to be true.  Although, I've never known of a Peninsula that was on a lake before.   I always associate peninsulas with the ocean. 

Let's just say it's kind of cool.  We'll leave it at that.

I'm reading about the lake now. It's called Lake Burley Griffin.  It's named after the architect who won the design competition for the city of Canberra.  For some reason, I'm thinking he's American.

Let's go see....

Yes, he is! So, I DIDN'T dream that. I must have read it somewhere.  

The lake is very dirty and not suitable for drinking.  We'll have to find something to drink at the museum cafe.   Is there a museum cafe?   I hope so!  Well, I mean if we can't drink the lake water, we're gonna have to drink something.

The actual museum has very weird architecture.   I'm not usually one to judge a building.  I know close to nothing about architecture.  I rarely like or dislike anything; but this building I find a bit hard not to dislike.

Maybe it will grow on me.

Outside the architecture, I'm in love with this museum.  I'm thinking of marrying it.    I know we haven't met face to face yet, but sometimes you just KNOW these things.

It has a whole exhibit on Indigenous Australia and all kinds of fun iconic Aussie stuff.  Tim has promised me that he will take care of Jack for a few hours so I can be properly obsessive.  There are some children areas so maybe Tim and Jack can play there for awhile. I do hope though that Jack finds interest in some of the exhibits and we can share some learnable moments together.

The Museum is free!!!   The parking is free too. That's good to know. I'd hate it to be one of those things where they trick you. Free museum, but it costs twenty dollars to park! They also have bike racks so you can ride your bike there and lock it up. I wonder if Canberra is a bike-friendly town. I wonder this because Tim is a biking boy. If Canberra is biker-friendly, maybe I can convince him to move there.   Then I can go to the museum all the time!

I'm now looking at what they have in their collection.   I guess seeing this stuff will make me realize how I'm really not Australian-- Well, because I'll probably be clueless about the majority of stuff.  I'm looking at their online highlights and not much rings a bell for me.   The first I've seen that does mean something to me is an Eternity Sign.    Some Christian guy in Sydney went around and wrote Eternity in chalk all over the city.   One of the signs is in the museum.   That's cool.

Let's see.   What else means something to me?

Ah, Governor Macquarie's sword!  Awesome.

If you guys knew me as much as I know me, you'd realize how odd this all is. I really usually do not get so excited about seeing objects from history.

What is it about Australia?

They have Phar Lap's heart.... Okay, I know who Phar Lap is and I understand how important Phar Lap is to Australia.   But I'm not getting excited about it.   I'm actually a bit grossed out. Sorry.

This is good.  The museum works hard to return artifacts and remains to the Indigenous Australians.   Good on them.

Holy shit.  I think I found the most awesome website ever. If I was a dog and had a tail, it would be wagging like crazy right now. I found the link on the museum website.   It has these interactive Australian history games. Very educational.

Another really cool link on the museum is this one about remote communities.

I had found this months ago and spent hours looking at it.   I forgot it came from the museum's website.  I loved looking at the photographs taken by the children. There's just something so personal and real about the whole thing.


  1. Canberra is a very bike friendly town.

    There are bike paths linking most places. You can buy a map of them in any of the bike shops around town - or just follow the signs (they are quite numerous).

    Where will you be staying? You will probably be able to ride your bikes to all of the attractions. A ride around the lake is also worth doing. It is very pretty - even if it is very dirty (due to the carp).

  2. We've just been there and it is amazing. I love the architecture of the place. I think you have to see it to really appreciate it - it is unusual but it works. Yes, there is a cafe and a pretty good shop as well (lots of Australian stuff).

    I was really impressed with the museum overall - more for the kids to do than any other museum I've ever been to. I think you'll learn quite a bit about Australia from visiting. Although I suspect you already know more than many Australians. :)

  3. Christy,

    I don't think we're going to have bikes. I was thinking more along the lines of if we lived there.

    I'm actually not very good at the bike thing. Tim and Jack like it.

    They might rent bikes sometime during our stay. Tim talked about doing it last time, but never did.

    I don't know. I think it might be good--especially for Jack. It was kind of hard last time we stayed at a holiday park. The kids that Jack played with all had bikes, but he didn't. I think it made him feel a little left out. Fortunately, the other kids were very sweet and let him borrow their bikes and scooters at times.

  4. Lightening.

    Maybe it looks better in person!!

    I'm VERY excited about it.

    Did you have any favorite exhibits? How about your kids???

  5. I haven't been there for a while, but the kids have been a few times with school excursions. It is very family/child friendly.

  6. if this is the relatively new museum (say within 5 years been around) then I highly recommend it! I went a few years back, along with a visit to THE MINT and it was really cool...they had these fun interactive things where you designed a rocketship then a camera took your photo and then you saw all of these created spaceships travelling around on a big screen in an animated universe!! The Mint is also fun to "make" your own coin and is really interesting just to see the cool coin designs. The coin you "make" changes from year to year so is limited edition!
    lake burley griffin is lovely to have a picnic esp when the cherry blossoms are in flower!

  7. I found another blog that I thought you might like..


    cheers kim

  8. Bettina: Cool. It did seem child-friendly from the website. The website itself seems to have fun stuff for kids. Or at least fun stuff for the kid in me ; )

    mscherrylane: I'm wondering if you're thinking of Questacon??? Not that I'd know. The rockets just sound more like a Questacon thing. Cherry Blossoms....Washington D.C is known for Cherry Blossoms too. I wonder if that's a capital city kind of thing. Maybe Cherry Blossoms make government people think better. OR maybe they're so beautiful that they distract the tourists from paying attention to what the crazy government people are doing.

    Frogpondsrock: Thanks!!

  9. The kids liked the kids-space (I think that's what it was called) exhibit. They take your photo and you create a futuristic home or spaceship on a computer and then you get to watch it in 3D. There is also a cubby house exhibit and a moving theatre. We didn't have a real long time so mostly went to the stuff the kids liked.

    I liked the 1950s kitchen and the pink caravan!!! And there's a place where you can learn about Australian slang.

    Some of the stuff isn't as old as you'd expect in a museum because Australian History (settled history that is) isn't all that old. There is some Aboriginal History as well but we didn't have time to see that so I can't comment on what it's like.

  10. Lightening,

    Cool! I think that must be what mscherrylane was talking about in her comments. I thought maybe the rocket ship thing was at Questacon. It sounds like a Questacon type of thing.

    Your visit kind of sounds like my visit to the Powerhouse Museum. There was a lot I would have liked to see, but I was dragged quickly from exhibit to exhibit with Jack.

  11. I hate the architecture of the museum. I think that it is a terrible eye-sore on the landscape.

    But that may be just me...

  12. Christy,

    I think it might be me too ; )