Exhibition reviews
The Home Front: Australia during the First World War, which presents 23 individual wartime accounts  National Museum of Australia

The Home Front
Australia during the First World War

review by Margaret Hutchison

Twenty-three individual wartime accounts feature in The Home Front: Australia during the First World War, which presents the personal stories of Australians during the conflict. In a year when Australian commemorative events are heavily focused on the battlefields of the distant peninsula of Gallipoli, this exhibition offers an intriguing insight into the experience of Australians on the home front during this turbulent period in their nation’s history.

Heroes and Villains: Strutt’s Australia at the National Library of Australia

Heroes and villains
Strutt’s Australia

review by Caroline Turner and Glen St John Barclay

The National Library of Australia’s touring exhibition of the art of quintessential Victorian artist William Strutt is the first major exhibition of his work in 35 years. The exhibition emphasises the archival quality of Strutt’s work in his fascinating depictions of Australian life in the mid-nineteenth century.

Wingham brooch, 575–625  silver-gilt, niello, garnet, glass and shell, England

Medieval power
Symbols and splendour 

review by Hilde Hooper

The glory of the British Museum’s medieval collection is evident in this jewel-like exhibition at the Queensland Museum. Including highlights from the British Museum’s world-renowned collection, such as the Lewis chess king, signet rings, seals and stained glass windows, the exhibition is a tantalising accumulation of objects of medieval splendour housed in a smart exhibition design.

Revealing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum

review by Philip Jones

This review of the National Museum of Australia’s landmark collaboration with the British Museum draws out the complexities involved in staging an exhibition of objects invested with profound historical and contemporary meaning and emotion. Jones explores and assesses in detail the curatorial challenge of conceptualising the exhibition, gathering together the material and consulting the stakeholders, and the audience’s task of receiving, interpreting and responding to the narrative with which they are presented. Ultimately, the review confronts the reality of the changing expectations and demands that currently, for better or worse, inform museum practice.

Overhanging trees, Norman Creek, film still from the visual poem, Navigating Norman Creek

Navigating Norman Creek

review by Joanna Besley

The exhibition Navigating Norman Creek at the Museum of Brisbane, composed almost entirely of short films, was at the frontier of multimedia use in the museum context. Vintage and contemporary still and moving images were combine to create an evocatively layered exhibition. As a consequence, an immersive view of history, geography, society and the environment enabled audiences to experience a significant location from multiple perspectives.

Guests gather around the model of Cecil Malthus

The scale of our war
The Great War
Gallipoli: The New Zealand story in colour 

reviews by Jock Phillips

As with military museums and museums of national history across the globe, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Memorial Park have devoted considerable resources to marking the nation’s involvement in the Great War. The three exhibitions reviewed here have, to differing degrees of success, brought innovation and insight – and some Hollywood-style effects – to their retelling of New Zealand’s war story.