Caged Whale Skull, Straddie. P: L. Rollman (2010), originally uploaded by mxccuba.
I didn’t even know there was a Straddie Museum until October last year. And it’s a curious museum to say the least. These kinds of museums are usually curious. But sometimes you find a gem, or maybe a kind of gem-like thing buried in a back corner.
The Straddie Museum provided a lot of info regarding early Dugong business and a sample of Dugong oil, an explanation of how Dickson Way acquired its name and Dunwich Benevolent Asylum housed in the totally rebuilt continence building, complete with the spooky dummy. Weirdly, the featured materials are laminated; a B&W photo of the surf club from the 90s is placed alongside much older photos and is visually indistinguishable; as well as headings such as Transport and Communication that may have been prepared by primary school students for a social studies assignment, but aren’t credited as such.
The real feature of the museum, the absolute gem, is a complete whale skull. However, while understandable, it’s also a little sad that it’s caged. Even worse is that the intact remnants of the wild are caged in a nasty, poorly kept cage.
This kind of experience was more-or-less replicated Sunday in Redcliffe. With the purpose of seeing the Joseph Banks and the flora of the Australian east coast, at the Redcliffe Museum, a National Maritime Museum travelling exhibition, we made a day of it. Noting, maybe the title should at least mention Sydney Parkinson. The works themselves were lovely and we were disappointed we couldn’t purchase prints. Otherwise, we were generally a bit distracted by the design values. Most notably, the museum is housed in a late 60s church and we spent a lot of time staring strangely at the mammoth, and I mean mammoth, air-conditioning vent placed directly to obscure the stain glass windows. Every inherit feature of the building is unfortunately ignored.