Current exhibitions at the Nicholson Museum
|Tombs Tells and Temples: Excavating the Near East||Aphrodite's Island: Australian Archaeologists in Cyprus||50 objects 50 stories|
|LEGO Colosseum||The Etruscans||Egyptians Gods and Mummies: Travels with Herodotus|
The archaeology of the Near East is a fascinating subject of historical inquiry. From the extraordinary antiquities and sites to the personalities and archaeologists such as Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Sir Flinders Petrie and Sir Max Mallowan, this exhibition highlights the complex nature of this ancient region.
The cities and civilisations of the Ancient Near East flourished on the Levantine Coast (modern day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan); in Anatolia (modern day Turkey); along the great river systems of Mesopotamia (modern day Iran and Iraq), and as far as India and Pakistan. This region was not united in antiquity – different cultures, languages, religions and artistic traditions existed, empires rose to power and were conquered, and migrants and the displaced clashed or intermingled with resident population.
Artefacts from the Nicholson's own collection, excavated from the famous sites of Jericho, Tell Brak, Pella, Tell al-Ajjul, Harappa, Ur, Ninevah and Nimrud form the cornerstone of this exhibition.
Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, has a rich archaeological and cultural tradition dating back more than ten thousand year. Legend has it that Aphrodite, the mythical goddess of love and beauty, was born in the waters off the coast of Cyprus. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Professor James Stewart, who excavated on the island before and after the Second World War and developed the Nicholson Museum’s collection of over 1500 Cypriot items, but the legacy of Australian archaeological investigations on the island continues today. Fieldwork projects by Australian universities continue, including the Nicholson Museum sponsored excavations at Nea Paphos; the Hellenistic-Roman capital of the island.
This exhibition celebrates the Cypriot archaeological collections of the Nicholson Museum, and explore the stories of the Australian researchers who have investigated the island’s history.
Until December 2013
Catalogue avaliable from abebooks.com
This exhibtion is proudly supported by the Cyprus Community of NSW and Cyprus Hellenic Club Ltd
Principal exhibtion sponsor
The largest ever LEGO model of Rome's famous Colosseum is now on exhibition at the Nicholson Museum. A quarter of a million bricks were used in construction put together by 10,000 slaves working for architect and LEGO Certified Professional Ryan 'Vitruvius' McNaught.
The model is the centrepiece of an exhibition about Rome's largest surviving building from the great days of its Empire. The exhibition will also include sculpture and coins of the Emperors, as well as artefacts used in daily life by the ordinary Roman who enjoyed 100 days of holiday and games when the original Colosseum opened in 80 AD.
Extended until June 2013
Winner of the 2012 IMAGinE Award for best exhibtion and public engagement
50 Objects 50 Stories is not about the most important, or the most beautiful things in the Nicholson Museum. It is about objects with a story to tell. Beginning in 1860 with antiquities from the original donation of Sir Charles Nicholson, the exhibition journeys through to the present day. Along the way, the stories introduce us to a cast of characters, curators and collectors who have helped shape the museum and its collection.
Sir Charles Nicholson, founder of the museum, a man of dramatically humble origins, newspaper reporter Edward Reeve, the museum’s first curator (1860-1889 in three terms), Enoch Powell, eminent Greek scholar, later radical English right-wing politician (curator 1938-39) and James Stewart, Cypriot archaeologist, prisoner of war and cat lover (curator 1954-1962). There are adventurous women such as Agatha Christie and the intrepid Mary Woodhouse. There are famous archaeologists Sir Austen Henry Layard, Sir Henry Wellcome, Sir Flinders Petrie, Vere Gordon Childe, Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Sir Max Mallowan, Sir Mortimer Wheeler and some pretty dreadful ones like Luigi Palma di Cesnola. And there are famous men and women Sir William Hamilton and his scandalous wife Emma, Thomas Hope, Orson Welles and D.H. Lawrence. All have a part to play as these wonderful stories unfold.
It feels as if the ghosts of the past are telling you their stories. It’s sublime -Nicholson Museum Visitor's Book, 4 January 2012.
Extended until May 2014
The publication 50 Objects 50 Stories: Extraordinary Curiosities is avaliable online from abebooks.com
In popular imagination the Etruscans are the very stuff of fantasy, myth and legend. Who are they, where did they come from, what does their language mean? In reality, although wiped out or assimilated by Rome, they have left us an extraordinarily rich heritage of art, jewellery, metal working, terracotta sculpture, urban planning, walls, and roads. Indeed, in the 6th century BC, the Etruscans were the most powerful people in the Mediterranean.
So what went wrong?
Until December 2013
In about 450 BC the Greek travel writer Herodotus went to Egypt. He journeyed throughout the Delta, up the Nile as far as Elephantine, and headed into the desert towards Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. They were already, in his day, 2000 years old.
He also visited the Temple of Bastet at Bubastis. A granite column capital from this temple (pictured), weighing 3.4 metric tonnes, will be the centrepiece of the exhibition, on display in the Nicholson Museum for the first time. On either side of the Hathor capital is the carved head of the goddess Hathor.
The exhibition looks at Egypt through the eyes of Herodotus. Mummified cats, birds and crocodiles are on display, plus three of the Nicholson's mummies.