Museum Day at the Hyde Park Barracks

~ International Museum Day! ~

It was wonderful to spend today with fellow museum-studiers at the Hyde Park Barracks! It was, above all, a very fun afternoon. We started the visit with a talk from a representative of Sydney Living Museums (SLM). Although we didn’t touch too much on how SLM engage audiences, we did learn about an interesting way to categorize visitors. The program SLM has found particularly effective is called Culture Segments and was developed by Morris, Hargreaves, and Mcintyre.

I took the quiz just then to see what segment I fit into and got: stimulation.

“Stimulation is the segment that is most attracted to unusual, spectacular and experiential cultural events. They like culture that introduces big ideas but they like to consume it socially with friends.”

After reading through the other potential categories, I’m pretty sure that’s where I fit! Bring on the big ideas. To learn more see here: http://mhminsight.com/static/pdfs/culture-segments/en.pdf.

After the chat we were let loose to run around the museum (not literally) and interact with whatever we could find! I have to admit that I’m an absolute tragic for dressing-up so I was excited to see a couple of dress-up boxes. The one thing that struck me most about Hyde Park Barracks was the numerous opportunities for interaction. A lot of the time this was digital interaction, however, there were objects such as shackles etc that you could touch and even try on.

A real highlight of the museum was the convict hammocks. Schools around New South Wales can opt to have convict sleepovers where students stay in the Barracks overnight and “sleep” in the hammocks. Sleep is in inverted commas because I am pretty sure there wouldn’t be much of it. It is still a great idea as students can fully immerse themselves in the heritage and experience it in a way that’s not normally on offer. Who hasn’t dreamed of spending a night in the museum. I would love to see how students have reacted to the sleepovers and what they believe were the positives and negatives.

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Incorporating maps effectively.

Another interesting section of the museum was the second floor archaeological exhibition. The display of archaeological material was, to me, very effective. The exhibition took the classic archaeological grid pattern and used this as its base for display. I can’t quite explain why, but, it was visually appealing.

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I would have loved more time to fully explore the Barracks. I am going to definitely return in the holidays and take the audio guide tour. Especially considering my work at Cockatoo Island, it will be fascinating to hear how convicts are portrayed at this site.

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