Saturday, June 02, 2012

When the Future is an Unsurprising History

It's been a while in the making, this day.  And although she started with fever, tears and a visit to the Powerhouse Museum with her choir, pouring rain and a return trip home with no intention of going out, even then, we still made it.

Last school holidays Harriet, Ted and I went to a couple of activities held at The University of Sydney's museums.  You may remember me blogging about it, but hey, I don't expect anyone to remember much about what I write here (let alone me, which is, after all, why I write this in the first place).  At the conclusion of our Nicholson Museum experience, Harriet was very eager to return after we left for lunch, but Ted was in that screaming, no holds barred, insane mode and there was no way we could have had the experience Harrie wanted to have when we went back.  So I promised Harriet that we would return soon - just her and I.  Little did I know when I made that promise, the only time we would be able to make it there together, was in the afternoon of the first Saturday of each month. 

James suggested we head out there this afternoon - a brave offering, given the fact that as we drove away Ted was sitting at the front door screaming for me.  We drove there in the pouring rain - Harriet decked herself out in a raincoat and wellie boots because she is imminently practical in these situations.  The museum was quite busy, in fact there was a group of about twelve, raucous twenty-somethings taking photos of themselves in there, as well as a couple of other adults and one other small family group.

 Harriet had taken her Egypt project book in with her, and a sharpened lead pencil.  She wanted to take notes on objects that she found interesting - consequently, this was how she spent a lot of her time at the Nicholson: crouched on the floor, writing in her project book, bobbing up in between words to check the spelling on the little signs and notices (her spelling is atrocious!).

We read about how an Egyptologist who was a USyd graduate, sent little trinkets back to his nephew in Sydney from Egypt - small amulets, bones, etc.  Customs was obviously not the curious beast it is today.  There was a special display about Erutria, a state of which I had never been aware (my history is atrocious, except for Russian history).  There was a sign showing their alphabet (their language is still unknown in its entirety because the Romans wiped out everything of theirs), information about how they introduced the dramatic theatre and storytelling methods to the Romans and a whole line of urns depicting different scenes on their front.  It was fascinating.  We looked over Greek urns, discussed how the mummy of a small girl actually turned out to be the mummy of a 5-6yr old boy (he had even just lost his first baby tooth, leaving him with a gap-toothed smile), and read about how staff at the museum had deliberately broken this gigantic (as tall as a room) 'urn' which was actually a grave marker (I can't remember what it was called, but I'm sure I'll remember when we make the inevitable subsequent visits).

We also went for a potter in the quad and saw a wedding with a bagpipe-led bridal procession through the middle of it.  We discussed the similarities between the quad and Hogwarts.  I also mentioned how the history department is located in the quad.  I didn't mention about how said quad rooms are freezing cold in winter, stifling hot in summer, full of uncomfortable seating and devoid of modern day teaching aids.

On the way there Harriet asked me how one becomes one of the people who work in the museum.  I hypothesised that a degree in history might be followed by some postgraduate work in curator/museum studies or some such thing.  To which Harriet replied that she thinks she would like to study history.  She also wanted to know if you could study history books specifically.  If anyone could, I'm sure Harriet could.

History?  Sounds very Harriet, doesn't it?


JennieMo said...

I expect no less from a child born to two super nerds! LOL!! I will say...going to the King Tut exhibit in Melbourne was fantastic. So, if it comes to Sydney it is definitely a must see with Harriet..heck I'll even take her cause I enjoyed it that much.

Jimbo said...

I am *so* not a super nerd!

JennieMo said...

are so!! ;P

JennieMo said...

I found Harry a book on Eygptians when I was in Canberra. They had a whole section in the store on history for kids. LOL!!