New Displays at Swan Reach, Moonta and Pinnaroo

Three museums have concluded display projects in the last couple of months, adding some new additions to the interpretation of aspects of local history around South Australia. 

Moonta Mines Museum

The Moonta Medical display features countless implements used by Moonta doctors at various times in the district’s history as well as an extensive collection of medicine bottles and containers with labels attesting to a range of weird and wonderful remedies for a host of ailments.

Specific display sections focus on the Moonta Jubilee Hospital, chemists who worked in the town, and there is a re-created chemist cabinet that has been custom-built to house a pharmacy collection that was purchased by the Centre for inclusion in the display.  There is a section on home remedies, the work of local dentists and a storyboard about common epidemics and accidents that affected the population of Moonta at various times.

Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre, Pinnaroo

On 25 May the Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre at Pinnaroo launched a new display and two interactives to enhance the visitor experience.

A new display about Florence Casson, a nurse in WWII who perished with the sinking of the vessel Vyner Brooke in 1942, is a great addition to the Mallee Women displays at the museum. Florence spent some of her nursing career in Pinnaroo and her story effectively links local with international history. The museum commissioned a museum designer to produce the display panels and had a reproduction WWII nurses uniform made so that it can stay on display indefinitely.

The museum has also been hard at work in the last few years working with an historian and designer to produce a touch-screen interactive through which visitors can access information about printing processes and printing equipment housed at the museum. Much of the content is audio snippets from oral history interviews done with museum icon Rob Wilson, a printer by trade who continues to operate some of the equipment at the museum (the museum prints some of its own promotional materials). Through the interactive visitors can hear the recollections of Rob and others about their experiences of the printing trade and also the sound of operational printing machinery - recorded from equipment at the museum.

A second interactive has been installed with the Wurfel Grain Collection display. This uses images and voice over to provide historical context for the collection, which is widely recognised as an extraordinary collection of grain samples and data about grain production in South Australia.

Swan Reach Museum

Swan Reach Museum has just completed the second stage of major display redevelopments.  Focused around local community themes, the displays have completely revitalised the display spaces.  The district’s history is now more easily accessible, both in terms of getting around the displays and in their content.  The new displays are allowing the museum to clearly and attractively tell some key stories, including the particular contributions to the town and district of individuals and businesses and the effects on Swan Reach of the 1956 floods.  The project has taken 3-4 years to complete and has required significant grant funding as well as a lot of financial input from the museum itself and an enormous number of hours spent by museum volunteers in planning, writing and developing the displays.  Graham Barlow from Swan Reach Museum says about the project:

‘To begin Stage 2 we had to do take on a few other projects to make room for the display cabinets, These included partially insulating one of our storage sheds, which is another ongoing project, and shifting a compactus, some stationary engines and other machinery to this shed.  A new storage cabinet for our photographic collection was also constructed so they could be shifted out of the new display area.

As we are a reasonably new museum, 10yrs old in October and as our town is not all that old, 110 years old this year, our collection relates to these more modern years and we tended to cram as much as we could into a small area.

With the assistance from History SA and their Community Museums Program Grants, grants from the Dept. Veteran Affairs, National Maritime Museum and Mid Murray Council we have now managed to co-ordinate our collection into various themes, build new display cabinets and with the help from exhibition designer Peter Templeton install new text panels throughout the museum.

With the completion of Stage 1 & 2 it has brought our museum from a very basic one to a high standard tourist attraction, with the praises and compliments we receive each week from the museum's visitors, it makes all our efforts worthwhile.’

Newsletter reference

CMP News No.51, June 2011

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