Casting the past: How to make cheap, easy moulds and casts

Casts, copies, the real and the replica. Image: Annalice Creighton / ANMM.

Casts, copies, the real and the replica. Image: Annalice creighton / ANMM.

Casting and mould making are simultaneously the stuff of specialised artistic and scientific endeavours and the backbone of mass production. From fountain heads and amulets to the haunting plaster figures that are now synonymous with this ill-fated city, this month’s craft spot is inspired by the use of casting and moulds in ancient times to create the artefacts featured in our new exhibition Escape from Pompeii.

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Using Twitter to Explore Our Museum

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

The Australian National Maritime Museum site on the waterfront here at Darling Harbour is not your usual museum. We have exhibition galleries inside the museum as well as historic vessels which you can come aboard such as the HMB Endeavour Replica, navy destroyer HMAS Vampire and submarine HMAS Onslow.

There is a lot to explore, especially if you are a teacher visiting with a busload of school students. To help teachers become familiar with our site and prepare for school excursions we created an Orientation Tour For Visiting Teachers.

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The 2016 Novice Canoe Building Challenge

Classic and Wooden Boat Festival, April 15-17 2016.

Classic and Wooden Boat Festival, April 15-17 2016.

The museum, in partnership with Drive Marine Services and The Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education (IIATE), have joined together to host the inaugural Novice Canoe Building Challenge at the 2016 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. The challenge requires teams of four high school students to construct a Bellinger Double Chine Canoe over three days at Festival. Brian Jones, Dave Giddings and the team from Drive Marine Services will be guiding the students through the construction process.

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A Brighter Future: The Second Annual Women and Science Symposium

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2016, the Australian National Maritime Museum will host our second annual Women and Science Symposium for high school students.

Women in Science Symposium 2015

Women in Science Symposium 2015

It all started with a discussion with my daughter, about the number of girls opting out of studying science because of negative stereotypes. She said it was such a shame that girls were not considering science as a worthwhile option to study. As an environmental scientist, she knows that those girls are locking themselves out of some amazing careers.

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School Performances at the Museum

Each year the Museum plays host to a variety of school bands, showcasing their talent and musicality through well known songs, from past and present. Over the last couple of weeks we have been fortunate enough to have some talented students come along and take to the stage on our Performance Platform, The Cashmere High School from New Zealand and the Pulteney Grammar School from South Australia.

Touring the east coast of Australia with a mixture of bands, The Cashmere School have their concert band, stage band, choir and orchestra in tow, showcasing varied songs to engage the crowds. Even though the sky was scattered with intermittent cloud it didn’t dampen the talent displayed by these students.

Years 10 to 12 from Pulteney Grammar School from South Australia, showcased their abilities, drumming and singing up a storm through their choir, percussionists and stage band against the spectacular backdrop of our submarine, HMAS Onslow. Despite the ominous clouds overhead and swirling winds casting their music sheets to the entertainment gods, the students and teachers performed a myriad of songs that the crowd enjoyed. Even though the gathering storm shortened the performance, we all still appreciated and enjoyed the day. Continue reading

Bark Canoe building at Bents Basin –a NPWS Sydney Aboriginal Community Cultural Gathering

At the invitation of Dean Kelly, National Parks and Wildlife Service Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer I was invited to attend their Sydney Aboriginal Community Cultural Gathering at Bents Basin near Bringelly, NSW, 16-19 May. I was there to facilitate a canoe building activity as part of the Saturday cultural activities. Last year I went out for an afternoon with senior curator Daina Fletcher where we made a large model nawi, but this year Dean and I set out sights higher, and achieved the goal, but not without significant help in the lead-up.

Bark canoe, ANMM image by David Payne

Bark canoe, ANMM image by David Payne

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National Science Week grant: Endeavouring Science

NSW 2013

2013 National Science Week on HMB Endeavour replica
Photo: A Frolows, ANMM

The museum is pleased to be a recipient of a 2014 National Science Week grant from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia program. Our program, Endeavouring Science, looks at how science has both evolved and remained the same from the 18th century to the 21st century, featuring a range of activities located aboard the iconic HMB Endeavour replica as well as activations across the whole museum site. It will cover themes of weather and navigation, biology and botany, signals and communication and the scientific principles that underlie these.

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What it takes to be a Bollywood star…

It’s only 3 more sleeps until winter school holiday programs kick off at the museum. From saris to shipwrecks, block printing to Bollywood, this winter we have taken inspiration from our East of India exhibition as we focus not only on historical Australia- India trade but also on celebrating Indian culture and contemporary India-Australia connections. And we couldn’t have fully committed to an Indian themed program without somewhere mentioning Bollywood right?

bollywood music video promo photo

While I have had terrific fun shopping for saris to festoon the walls of Kids on Deck and reading countless Indian folktales in the search for some just-right storytelling material, I am perhaps most keenly anticipating our youth workshop program (for ages 8-14) this holidays in making a Bollywood music video.

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Object of the Week: The many lives and deaths of the tug HERO


Tug HERO towing PAMIR, Max Dupain. Reg #00038310 ANMM Collection Gift from Brambles Australia

If ever there was a little tug whose adventures could have graced the pages of a children’s book, it would be the Aussie tug HERO.

Arriving in Australia in 1892, as the Australian towing industry was coming into its own, HERO remained a feature on (and at the bottom of) Sydney Harbour for nearly 70 years. Continue reading

Snapshot! Photography workshops at the Museum these holidays

The sun is shining, summer is in in full swing and the museum is abuzz with the sounds of play as some of our youngest visitors come out in force to enjoy the holiday programs!

The first of our Summer Youth workshops in photography was held this week and a few of the spectacular shots are included below.

A small band of enthusiastic snappers ventured out and around the museum to find inspiration in the harbour foreshore. Rust- marked pylons, bright orange life-savers bobbing in reflective waters, the blinding white and spectacular angles of the Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse; textures, patterns, traces and details framed in cropped and close up shots.

Participants used digital SLR cameras supplied by workshop facilitators Spitting Image Photography and learnt the basics of focus, aperture, and framing.  They then printed, framed and edited their best shots to take home.

Next week in our Advanced course participants will get to focus on mastering the full suite of manual modes on the camera to create even more stunning and professional images. They will also learn editing techniques in this intensive two day course on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January.

There are still limited places available for this exciting workshop. Book online today.

P.S And for all of those budding photographers, check out our Museum Moments photography competition. Major prize is a $4000 digital SLR! Closes 14 February.

Photograph of Cape Bowling Green lighthouse

Photographer: Chole

Close up photo of guns on HMAS Vampire

Photographer: Mitchell

Close up photo of ship portal

Photographer: Emily

Close up photo of tied rope

Photographer: Thea

Close up photo of HMAS Vampire

Photographer: Rebecca

Stencil Art at the Museum

During the January school holidays, stencil artists Mini Graff & Jumbo came down to the Museum to create a fantastic maritime themed mural on the construction hoardings in the forecourt. The white walls surrounding our building improvements were transformed into a work of art which contributes to the colour of the waterside for Museum visitors. Mini Graff & Jumbo worked with a number of workshop participants aged between 11 & 16 to create the work.  Next time you are at the Museum make sure you head out to the forecourt to check out the work.

The finished artwork on display at the museum.

Youth Program – Out on the Waterfront: Stencil Art Workshops


23 December 2010 – 19 January 2011

Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th January | 10.00 am to 5.00 pm| Ages 11-16

Our Stencil Art workshop starts next week. Here are some photos of the fantastic artists running the running Mini Graff & Jumbo installing the background of the mural that participants will be working on.

In this workshop participants will learn how to be a stencil artist.

Under the direction of an experienced artist participants will design, cut stencils and produce a mural artwork that will be located in a wicked spot outside the museum on the water’s edge.

Workshops will involve the preparation of stencils, instruction on how to use paint and associated equipment and how to make your stencil print into a work of art. For beginners or anyone who wants to be creative.

There are some places still left in the workshop so don’t miss this opportunity to work with Mini Graff and Jumbo and produce your own stencil art.

 Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: $75 for a two day workshop/ $60 for Members. Workshop materials supplied.
Bookings: Bookings essential, please call 9298 3655.

Click, click, flash: Youth photography workshops

It’s all about framing.





Twenty four youths armed with digital SLRs and a keen eye for detail are exploring the beautiful harbour side environment outdoors at the museum in a photography workshop.

Youth photography workshops at ANMM

Youth photography workshop at ANMM

Youth workshops (for ages 8-14) have taken all shapes and sizes this year from printed t-shirts and temporary tattoos through to kinetic sculpture and indigenous weaving. Last holidays they took focus on the art of outdoor photography.

Participants were inspired by the photojournalism of Allan Villiers in Sons of Sindbad and lead through some technical tips and skills by the team from Spitting Image Photography.

While taking a snap might seem like a simple every-day activity, the art of producing high-quality, detailed and beautiful images is something altogether more difficult. Participants aced this challenge, producing incredible shots of maritime themed details: rusted anchors, seaweed-y pylons, bobbing buoys, ships rigging, canon handles and nautical knots.

Kids get to grips with camera technology

Kids get to grips with camera technology

A selection of stunning images by the participants in the youth photography workshop will be on exhibition outside the Peter Doyle Learning Centre at the Museum from mid-November.

– Annalice Creighton, ANMM Visitor Programs Officer