A museum has walls, ceilings and hosts indoorsy activities, but it is a fitting and worthy place to visit and reflect on because it represents many aspects of Tasmania’s natural environment. It is also a particularly handy place to take a bunch of kidlets on a soggy, wet day. So once the home environment had passed the expiry date, we took the tour group comprising: 2 x miss two’s, master four, miss 6, a couple of grandparents, myself and brother sibling to sticky beak at the long awaited redevelopment of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG).
We initially thought parking right outside on a Saturday would be impossible, given the proximity to Salamanca Markets and town, however, the poor weather and 10am arrival presented a recipe for success. Although as an observation it did require 3-4 gold coins for the convenience. We weighted this with the fact that entrance into the museum is free (although a donation is always valued) and that we had a bunch of excited if somewhat cabin fevered children to safely get indoors.
Upon entering the new foyer we could immediately see a redesign in some of the layout.
To assist with the mornings visit, we were also greeted by a helpful staff member (a lovely touch) who provided us with a map and the time to explain exhibits the children might be interested in visiting. Amazingly they also offered us the hire of an activity bag, known as the “Discovery Pack”! This comprised gadgets to keep the little ones entertained including: measuring tapes, ball, fake older style money etc – all based on Art, History, Natural Sciences and Antarctica and more. These activities definitely came in handy viewing/entertaining when a rest from the wandering around was needed.
Zigzagging past the entrance and through to Level One, we were immediately impressed with the Central Gallery’s high ceilings and “treasure trove” of both local and international amusements and surprises. There was a lot for the wee ones to take in with many bottles, colours and small items to view, however they were equally in awe of the lantern room, amazing staircase and architecture.
Many permanent exhibitions are also on this floor including the aboriginal exhibit (ningina tunapri), Tasmanian Earth and Life and The Thylacine: Skinned, Stuffed, Pickled and Persecuted. The art gallery was equally as impressive although not as suited for the age group. It did however provide entertainment with some of the colourful and modernistic technologies. Being able to see the works of entrants in the Hobart annual art prize was also a bonus. The new layout highlighted other rooms and possibilities, however with children roaming everywhere it was difficult to give it the attention it deserved. Alas, the Centre for Learning and Discovery was also not open on a weekend – tip for next time. Other exhibits enjoyed – and the favourite from the kiddies – was the Island To Ice exhibit on the 2nd floor which highlights all things Antarctic and Southern Ocean. This had some particularly appealing films, and exhibits which we could touch and play with (always a winner with the young’uns).
As the eye rubs started to happen and the pick-me-ups progressed, we began to wander back down to the entrance. On the way out we noticed the Bond Store which housed Our Living Land exhibition, which is based on how our environment influences the living land. It was a quick peek and boo visit but worthy of more dedicated time to be spent here.
I would have to say that it is impossible to cover everything in one visit – so keep another time up your sleeves. A great place to learn about all things Tasmanian, whatever age!