48 minutes | May 22, 2023
42: The Nicholson Hermes
Marking National Archaeology Week 2023, in this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont, a classical archaeologist in the School of Humanities, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. Together they discuss one of the most iconic objects in the Chau Chak Wing Museum, the Nicholson Hermes. This Roman marble statue of the 1st century BC or 1st century AD is carved from white marble, the surface of which is deeply weathered through contact with running water. Lesley and Craig discuss archaeology in the 21st century, the Zagora Archaeological Project, Greek and Roman art, the famed sculptor Praxiteles and teaching students in the museum. Guest: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont is Associate Professor in the Discipline of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. Prior to taking up her position at the University, she was Assistant Director of the British School at Athens. Her publications include Childhood in Ancient Athens. Iconography and Social History (Routledge: 2012, 2015), and a Routledge Handbook on Children in Antiquity, co-edited with Matthew Dillon and Nicola Harrington. Her current archaeological fieldwork focuses on the Early Iron Age settlement site of Zagora on the Greek island of Andros. She serves as a Council Member of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, and as an Expert Examiner for the Australian Government’s Office for the Arts under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: The Nicholson Hermes, statue of an unknown man sculpted after Hermes by Praxiteles, white marble, Roman, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, Smyrna, Anatolia. Donated by the sons of Sir Charles Nicholson 1935 [NM35.120]. View the statue in 3D.
35 minutes | Apr 16, 2023
41: Two ancient Athenian vases depicting dogs
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Classics PhD candidate and 2023 Fellow of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Alyce Cannon. They discuss two ancient vases from Athens relevant to Alyce's current doctoral research on dogs in ancient Greece. Using two choes (ancient small, squat wine vessels) in the University of Sydney's collection they discuss how dogs were depicted in Classical Athens, what role dogs had in society and the correlation between a new sense of childhood and relationships with pets in the traumatic era of the end of Classical experiment in Athens following plague and the decades long Peloponnesian War and examine the reasons why dogs may have been depicted on these vessels that symbolise childhood. Guest: Alyce Cannon is undertaking a PhD in the Discipline of Classics and Ancient History under the supervision of Professor Julia Kindt, as a part of the ARC Future Fellowship Project on “The Humanity of Man and the Animal in Ancient Greece”. Alyce’s thesis is entitled: “KYNIKA: Thinking With the Dog in Ancient Greece”. She is currently in Athens as the 2023 Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Fellow. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Objects details: Attic red figure chous, c. 425-400BC, ceramic, Athens, Greece. Donated by the Classical Association 1946 [NM46.49]. Illustrated. Attic red figure chous, attributed to Crawling Boy Work-shop, Class of the Sydney Chous, c. 430-420BC, , Group of Karlsruhe 66/140, c. 350-300 BC, ceramic, Athens, Greece. Donated by Sir Charles Nicholson 1860 [NM98.37]
38 minutes | Mar 22, 2023
40: Penelope & the Seahorse: Artist Mikala Dwyer
In this special episode of Object Matters, hear a live recording of a public event held in March 2023, when visual artist Mikala Dwyer is interviewed by Toni Ross about the Chau Chak Wing Museum's fourth contemporary art project titled Mikala Dwyer: Penelope and the Seahorse. The exhibition at the Chau Chak Wing Museum is an aquatic-themed installation bristling with allusions to hippocampus, the genus name of the seahorse, derived from the Ancient Greek meaning ‘horse’ and ‘sea monster’. In a wide ranging discussion they cover Mikala's practices, memory associations, the endangered status of seahorses, how she engaged with museum collection items including seahorse specimens (for example MHF.266) and ancient Greek vases depicting maritime mythology (for example NM98.41 and NMR.1021.1 both of which are in the exhibition), and how the name hippocampi was used for a structure within the brain that is shaped like a seahorse. Humans and other mammals have two hippocampi, one in each of the temporal lobes. We are always with seahorses. Guest: Mikala Dwyer was born in Sydney in 1959 and now lectures at RMIT in Melbourne. Mikala Dwyer has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally since the 1980s and is known for her distinctive experiments in sculpture, installation, and performance art. Her practice is predominantly installation-based, in which she constructs idiosyncratic, personal spaces within the conventional architecture of the gallery, using materials that have a strong association with the body. Mikala is interviewed by curator Dr Toni Ross, Honorary Senior Lecturer (Art Theory), Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, UNSW. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Exhibition details: Mikala Dwyer: Penelope and the Seahorse (until October 2023)
46 minutes | Mar 14, 2023
39: Coin of Roman Emperor Nerva and solar eclipses
For this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by university administrator, historian and former museum administrator Dr Toner Stevenson. Toner is the co-author with Dr Nick Lomb, of the new book Eclipse Chasers (2023). Using a coin of the Roman emperor Nerva, minted in 96 AD when he came to power, they discuss how his funeral two years later coincided with a solar eclipse and how humans have interacted with eclipses for millennia. From Australian First Nation astronomy to the successful 1922 Australian scientific expeditions to capture data to prove Einstein's theory that gravity could bend the fabric of time and space - a project commemorated in its centenary year last year in postage stamps and in minted coins - bringing us back to Nerva's coin. Guest: Dr Toner Stevenson is Head of the School of Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is also a Honorary Associate in the Discipline of History at the school. She gained her doctorate in Social Sciences in 2016, after a long career in museums with leadership roles at the the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, including the Sydney Observatory where she was able to combine her museology interests with her passion for astronomy. She witness a total solar eclipse in 2012. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Objects details: Silver Denarius of Nerva, 96 AD, minted in Rome, Italy. Acquired before 2004 [NM2004.1667]
28 minutes | Feb 14, 2023
38: An Electrotype of an ancient Lydian coin
On this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by art historian and current University of Sydney Museum and Heritage Studies Program postgraduate student Dr Ksenia Radchenko. Ksenia is also a museum educator. Ksenia gained her PhD in Russian art history from the University of Southern California. However on Object Matters we are not discussing 20th century Soviet art. Instead we discuss her internship with the Chau Chak Wing Museum on more than 800 electrotype coins purchased from the British Museum in 1945 but remain uncatalogued. Ksenia takes us through what electrotypes are, why they were made for research and teaching and an overview of the collection of electrotype coins in Sydney and their history. She discusses the importance of internships in museum research and then Ksenia takes us on a deep dive of a copy of a coin from Lydia in modern Turkey which features the earliest known portrait of a ruler in the history of coinage. Can we use copies to learn about the past? Ksenia thinks we can. Guest: Dr Ksenia Radchenko is an art historian and museum educator. In 2023 she completed an internship with the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Objects details: Electrotype of a coin, c. 480-400 BC, Lydia Turkey. IRN 344404.
35 minutes | Jan 8, 2023
37: Two Ancient South Italian Red-figure Fish Plates
For this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Classicist and Greek cultural historian Professor Alastair Blanshard, from the University of Queensland. They discuss two of Alastair's favourite vases in the Chau Chak Wing Museum collection: two fish plates from ancient Magna Grecia (South Italy), NM46.55 and NM80.48. Together they cover the symbolism of the depiction of seafood in a social context in the ancient Greek world, the function of these vases, and the role of food in ancient societies as well as the joys of taking up fishing as a hobby later in life. Guest: Professor Alastair Blanshard is Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland. As a Greek cultural historian, Alastair's research interests include the social and cultural history of ancient Athens, Greek gender and sexuality, epigraphy, the classical tradition and the reception of the past in the modern world. He has authored books including Classical World: All That Matters (2016), Classics on Screen: Ancient Greece and Rome on Film (2012) and Hercules: Scenes from an Heroic Life (2005). Follow Alastair on Twitter at @AlastairBlan Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Objects details: Campanian fish plate, The Torpedo Painter, c. 325-300 BC, ceramic, Campania, Italy. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Nicholson Museum 1946 [NM46.55]. Illustrated. Apulian fish plate, Group of Karlsruhe 66/140, c. 350-300 BC, ceramic, Apulia, Italy. Donated 1980 [NM80.48]
46 minutes | Dec 13, 2022
36: Ancient Egyptian stele
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Egyptologists and archaeologists Dr Melanie Pitkin and Pauline Stanton to discuss stelae and what they can tell us about ancient Egyptian society. Focusing on a stele (NMR.53) donated by collection founder Sir Charles Nicholson, they discuss the function, manufacture and meaning of stelae for ancient Egyptians. This stele features an image of the deceased Ahmose is sitting on a chair with offerings presented to him by his "brother" Ahmose. Behind the latter stands a woman called Ipdjuju who could either be the his wife or the daughter of the deceased. It is an insight into how Egyptians wanted to be remembered. Together they also discuss the current interdisciplinary Egyptian Stelae Project run out of the Chau Chak Wing Museum which has been generously supported by the Centre for Ancient Cultures, Heritage and the Environment (CACHE) at Macquarie University, and explain how important these objects are. Guests: Dr Melanie Pitkin is the Senior Curator of the Nicholson Collection at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. She holds a PhD in Egyptology from Macquarie University and a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney. Prior to joining the Chau Chak Wing Museum, she worked at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Powerhouse Museum. Pauline Stanton is a doctoral researcher at Macquarie University. She teaches ancient Egyptian languages at Macquarie and Monash Universities. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melanie_misr Follow Pauline on Twitter at @pauline03373392 Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: limestone stele, Thebes, Egypt, 18th Dynasty (1550 BC - 1295 BC). Donated by Sir Charles Nicholson, 1860 [NMR.53]
37 minutes | Nov 25, 2022
35: Lego Tutankhamun and Lego in a museum context with The Brickman
In this episode of Object Matters, the Brickman, Ryan McNaught joins host Dr Craig Barker to discuss his recent build currently displayed in the Chau Chak Wing Museum, Lego Tutankhamun. Together they discuss his career as a professional Lego builder, why he has worked with museums, how Lego is enjoyable for fans of all ages, and whether fun models like this have a role within a museum context. They also discuss past builds including Lego Colosseum, The Lego Acropolis and Lego Pompeii which is currently displayed at the Chau Chak Wing Museum as part of the Roman Spectres exhibition. All models have much media attention over the years and have served well as educational resources, but now is a chance to speak to their creator about how he has worked with museums over the years. Guest: Ryan McNaught, aka The Brickman, is the only professionally certified Lego Builder in Australia. Since 2019 Ryan has been the judge on Channel 9's TV series, Lego Masters Australia. Follow Ryan on Instagram and @_TheBrickman on Twitter or visit The Brickman website. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Lego Tutankhamun. A model of the lid of middle coffin found in Tutankhamun's tomb (KV62) by Howard Carter in 1923. Created by The Brickman in 2022 from 14,534 Lego bricks.
37 minutes | Oct 5, 2022
34: Rethinking Ancient Egyptian Collections
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by museum archaeologist Associate Professor Alice Stevenson to discuss museum archaeology and a number of projects Alice is directing which is examining Egypt's dispersed heritage and how museums narrate collections of Egyptology. In a wide ranging conversation they talk about decolonising Egyptian collections, contemporary art in museum installations and finding ways to engage community voices in museum exhibitions. Guest: Associate Professor Alice Stevenson teaches and researches museum studies at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL in London. Her research interests include museum archaeology, the history of collections, human remains in museums and museum and source communities. She recently edited The Oxford Handbook of Museum Archaeology (2022), which brings together some 50 international scholars and professionals to present an original transnational reference point for critical engagements with the legacies of, and futures for, global archaeological collections. Follow Dr Stevenson on Twitter @aliceestevenson Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram.
32 minutes | Aug 15, 2022
33: Lantern Slide Portraits of King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by cultural historian Dr Cindy McCreery. 2022 is a particularly important year for the British royal family with the Platinum Jubilee. It is also a period of transition for the institution. Together for this episode Cindy and Craig discuss a commercially produced children's lantern slide of the first decade of the twentieth century featuring King Edward VII, Queen Alexandria and the Prince of Wales, later to be George V, and his wife Mary. Produced by W. Butcher and Sons, c. 1901-1907, the slide provides a remarkable insight into another time of transition for the monarchy, following the death of Victoria and the royal family's use of modern technologies to present themselves to the public in a reassuring manner. The conversation covers colonialism and royalty, mass consumption in the early twentieth century, Australia's complex relationship with the monarchy and the way historians can use materiality to better understand the past. Guest: Dr Cindy McCreery is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of History in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is a cultural historian with an interest in visual and material culture of both the maritime British Empire and British royalty. She is author and editor of several books including The Satirical Gaze: Prints of Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England (2004) and 2020's Monarchies and Decolonisation in Asia and convened this year's 'Going Platinum: Australian responses to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, 1952-2022' conference. Follow @DrCindyMcCreery on Twitter. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Magic lantern slide strip, coloured; rectangular glass slide with 4 images; royal family; portraits of King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales; from "Primus' Magic Lantern Slides set series VI Nursery Tales, produced by Butcher & Sons, c. 1901-1907 [SC19126.96.36.199] Read more about children lantern slides in the Chau Chak Wing Museum collection.
38 minutes | Jul 25, 2022
32: Professor Dakin's photograph of snapping shrimps
For this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Curator of Natural History Collections at the Chau Chak Wing Museum Dr Anthony Gill. In the lead up to National Science Week and the new exhibition Australian Seashores opening at the Chau Chak Wing Museum in August 2022, they discuss a photograph in the collection taken in the late 1940s in preparation for the book Australian Seashores. Professor William John Dakin (1883-1950), professor of zoology at the University of Sydney from 1929 until 1950, along with Elizabeth Pope and Isobel Bennett compiled the book Australian Seashores which was first published posthumously in 1952. Among the many photographs donated to the Macleay Museum collection in the 1980s by Dakin's family was an image of snapping shrimps taken in the 1940s. Tony and Craig discuss the snapping shrimp and the discovery of how the shrimp is able to create a noise by closing its claw so rapidly it creates shock waves, the importance of natural history collections, curating natural history exhibitions, Dakin's work and legacy and the role of citizen scientists. Guest: Dr Anthony Gill is a fish taxonomist, with decades of museum experience in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. He is Curator, Natural History Collections at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Photograph of two snapping shrimps with a third claw next used in the book Australian Seashores in 1952 [HP188.8.131.52]
40 minutes | Jun 7, 2022
31: Bronze Cast of Il Spinario
This episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Italian renaissance historian Dr Kathleen Olive to discuss Il Spinario, or the ‘Boy with Thorn’. Il Spinario is one of the most famous works of bronze to survive from the Hellenistic-Roman world, a depiction of a young boy contemplating a thorn as he removes it from the sole of his foot. The ‘original’ ancient bronze is now in the Palazzo del Conservatori in Rome. The Chau Chak Wing Museum is home to a bronze copy of the Roman statue produced by the Fondere Artistiche Riunite in the early 20th century. Between ancient Rome and 20th century Australia, the statue, and its many copies both ancient and modern, has inspired artists and storytellers. Kathleen and Craig discuss the long history of the bronze statue of the boy and its influence on the Renaissance and modern worlds and why the statue has become so popular. Guest: Dr Kathleen Olive is a popular educator on Italian art, history and culture, and presents on these subjects at the Italian Institute of Culture, Sydney, the Art Gallery of NSW and across Australia as a national lecturer for the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society. For many years, she has led cultural tours to Italy, France, Spain and Japan, and she is an honorary research fellow in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Sydney. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Bronze cast of Il Spinario (The Thorn-Puller), produced by the Fondere Artistiche Riunite, Naples, Italy in the early 20th century [NM2008.27] The discussion also covers a photograph in the collection of a copy of Il Spinario in marble in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney photographed by Kerry & Co. between 1890-1915 [HP83.60.119] The image is of its 3D recorded form accessible via Sketchfab.
33 minutes | May 15, 2022
30: Photogrammetry recording of an Athenian tetradrachm
This episode of Object Matters marks National Archaeology week. Host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Madeline Robinson, Support Officer for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. In recent years Madeline has overseen a project of recording a number of Chau Chak Wing Museum objects in 3D to be used in digital teaching of undergraduate courses. Photogrammetry is a technique that creates accurate and fully textured 3D models from photographs. It can be used to record both landscapes and objects of all sizes; allowing 3D prints and orthoimages (scaled images without distortion or perspective). Madeline discusses the role of photogrammetry in archaeology and museum contexts, and the role of digital archaeology more generally. Together in depth they discuss how she has recorded one of the museum’s numismatic items, a silver coin from Classical Athens and the complexities of recording a small object n 3D through marrying together hundreds of individual photographs and then how that digital recording may be used to allow greater access to the collection. In the discussion they prove that a digital recording of object matters as much as the object itself when it comes to engagement, teaching and research. Together they discuss new ways of seeing old objects, in celebration of National Archaeology Week. Guest: Madeline Robinson is Support Officer for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. She has considerable archaeological field experience in Australia and abroad and manages the archaeology lab at the university. She also manages the @sydneyarchaeology social media account on Instagram and can be followed on her personal Twitter account @MGP_Robinson. Host: Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Athenian silver tetradrachm, Athens, Greece, 449-404 BC. Obverse: Head of Athena facing right; reverse: owl standing facing right, olive sprig top left and moon to right. Acquired before 2004 [NM2004.655] The image is of its 3D recorded form accessible via Sketchfab.
34 minutes | May 4, 2022
29: Alan Sonfist's Crystalline enclosure, 1970
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by art historian and author Nicholas Croggon. They speak on the Power Institute, the Power Collection and the Light and Darkness exhibition. Nick discusses a work in the Power Collection by American artist Alan Sonfist. Sonfist is a US based artist most often associated with the birth of the Land or Earth Art movement. Crystalline enclosure was created in 1970, early in Sonfist’s career. The work features a glass globe with a mineral compound inside. As the air around it heats up, the compound sublimes into a gas eventually crystallising on the curved walls of the globe. When the crystal lattice increases its density, parts of the compound drop back down to pile again in the neck, whereupon the cycle begins again. We are invited by Sonfist to observe a process. Nick explains how the work in Sydney was part of Sonfist’s broader project of making visible our entanglement in the processes of the natural world. Nick also explores his interest in the language of visual culture and its relationship with human psychology through the work in the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Guest: Nick Croggon is Events and Programs Officer at The Power Institute. He is an art historian, editor and doctoral researcher. He is co-founder of Discipline journal and a Sydney edition of Memo Review. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Alan Sonfist, Crystaline enclosure, mixed media - iodine crystals, para-dichloro benzene crystals, gases, silicone, glass, 1970. Purchased with funds from the J W Power Bequest 1970. J W Power collection, The University of Sydney, managed by Museum of Contemporary Art. [PW1970.39] Read Nick’s catalogue entry on Crystalline enclosure.
42 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
28: Parts from prototypes of the Cotton Aerodynamic Anti-G (CAAG) suit
In this episode of Object Matters Lauren Poole, a writer and disabled postgraduate student of museum studies at the University of Sydney joins host Dr Craig Barker. Together they speak about the more than 100 rubber fragments of the "Cotton aerodynamic anti-G (CAAG) flying suit" in the collection. Designed during World War Two at the University of Sydney by the Professor of Physiology between 1942 and 1955, named Frank Cotton, , the suit was produced in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force to minimise the effects of high-speed flying on pilots and to prevent blackouts. Representing a remarkable career Cotton (1890-1955) has also been inducted in the Australian Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports science. Although the Cotton Suit was designed for aviation use, Lauren sees it conceptually as a precursor to sequential compression devices (SCDs) used in treatment of blood pooling and to improve blood circulation in the legs. Lauren asks us to challenge ableism within a museum context. Why do we not see the Cotton suit as a disability object? And what other disability objects may we see in museum and gallery collections? Can we rethink the conversation in museums about disability representation within material culture? Guest: Lauren Poole is a writer and postgraduate student of the University of Sydney’s Museum and Heritage Studies programs. Lauren is a trained archaeologist and a disability advocate, who has published recently in ‘Growing Up Disabled in Australia’ And ‘Earth Cries: A Climate Change Anthology’. Follow Lauren @laurenlpoole on Twitter. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Parts from prototypes of the Cotton Aerodynamic Anti-G (CAAG) suit [SC1995.60.1-117] Read more on the Cotton suit in this paper by Dr Peter Hobbins, on the challenges of preserving the suit in this blog and for an image of Cotton and the suit being worn by pilots during the war from the Faculty of Medicine’s collection visit here.
39 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
27: Plaster Cast of the relief Boston Throne
Host Dr Craig Barker is joined by classical archaeologist Dr Alina Kozlovski to discuss the tradition of plaster casts of Greek and Roman antiquities popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Using the Nicholson collection's century old cast of the Boston Throne as a starting point they discuss the popularity of casting for educational and aesthetic reasons, the influence of casts on modern perceptions of the Classical past and the role of authenticity in collections and interpretations. The Boston Throne is three-sided marble relief sculpture now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts similar to the Ludovisi Throne and said to have been discovered in Rome in 1894. It has variously been interpreted as a mid-fifth century BC Greek original, a Roman marble copy and as a modern forgery. The Sydney cast would have been made in the early 20th century. Can we use casts, copies and replicas to understand the ancient past? Guest: Dr Alina Kozlovski is a Curator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and soon to take up the role of Lecturer of Digital Innovation (Ancient History and Archaeology) at the University of New England. Her research on plaster casts has also seen her work at the Powerhouse Museum as a MAAS Research Fellow in 2021. Follow Alina @AlinaKozlovski on Twitter. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Plaster cast of the Boston Throne; NM2008.23
46 minutes | Feb 1, 2022
26: Chinese Willow Pattern Dish
For Lunar New Year 2022, Object Matters host Craig Barker is joined by art historian and art writer Dr Alex Burchmore. They discuss this 19th century Chinese Willow Pattern dish and explore how it represents a complex series of cultural interchanges and cross-pollinaion between China and England, the principal motif elements in Willow Pattern ceramics and how they a 19th century audience responded to them, as well as the extent to which such pieces offered their owners an opportunity to indulge in escapist fantasy, introducing a note of the exotic into the domestic. Guest: Dr Alexander Burchmore, Lecturer Museums and Heritage Studies and Department of Art History, The University of Sydney. Follow @DrAlexBurchmore on Twitter. Host: Dr Craig Barker, Manager of Education and Public Programs, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram. Object details: Chinese Willow Pattern Dish, 19th century, Qing dynasty. UA2012.918
39 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
25: Deadly Delights - An arrangement of Jezebel butterflies
In this episode of Object Matters Matthew Huan joins host Dr Craig Barker to discuss several Australian Jezebel butterflies (genus Delias) from the museum’s Macleay Collection. Matthew is a Museums Collections Officer and entomologist at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, and has a long fascination with butterflies. With over 250 known species the Jezebels, they are found from South East Asia to New Guinea and Australia. So what attracts Matthew to these deadly delights? In a wide ranging conversation they discuss the role of classical and Biblical history in the taxonomy of species, coloration and toxicity, how new species evolve, Matthew’s own journey from Malaysia to Australia and the unique role of mistletoe in ecology and as the Jezebels' foodplant. Image: 18 specimens of six species of Australian Jezebel butterflies registered with numbers NHEN.65046 to NHEN.65139 and displayed in a snowflake arrangement. Starting from the top and moving clockwise, these species are the Black Jezebel Delias nigrina, Red-spotted Jezebel Delias aganippe, Red-banded Jezebel Delias Mysis, Yellow-banded Jezebel Delias ennia, Scarlet Jezebel Delias argenthona, and Imperial Jezebel Delias harpalyce.
23 minutes | Dec 2, 2021
24: A Late Bronze Age Cylinder Seal
In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Damien Stone. Damien is an archaeologist and works in the Collection Management team of the Chau Chak Wing Museum. He is author of Pomegranate: A Global History and is currently working on a second project exploring the Hittite civilization of Ancient Turkey. Damien has selected from the collection a cylinder seal from Late Bronze Age Syria and the two of them discuss sealing iconography and functionality, personal identity in the ancient Middle East and international diplomacy during the Bronze Age. Object Details: Cylinder seal, Levant region, 14500-1200 BC, NM52.54.1 View object online
32 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
23: The Pearson photographic albums of New Britain
Steven Gagau is an archivist and researcher with PARADISEC (the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) - a digital archive of languages from the Pacific. Steven is also a co-curator of the Chau Chak Wing Museum's exhibition Pacific Views. In this episode of Object Matters he joins host Dr Craig Barker on a personal journey to his homeland of New Britain as recorded in photographs in two albums taken in the late 1920s by an Australian banker in Rabaul. It was around the time Steven's father was born. In this wide ranging discussion Steven and Craig discuss language, poetry, music, culture, colonisation and the power of photography to capture a changing world. Image: Photographs from album of views of Rabaul (HP2021.11.1-4)