From the Collection August 2017

Grainger Museum Curator, Heather Gaunt, provides an introduction to some upcoming changes to the permanent exhibition.

Percy Grainger wrote in 1927 that he wanted his future Grainger Museum “to display therein letters, manuscripts, pictures, native art works, clothes, utensils, works written, painted, drawn, collected, worn or used by said Rose Grainger, Percy Grainger, their kin, friends, sweethearts and fellow artists.”

Although the Museum building wasn’t erected for another decade, Grainger was already assiduously saving nearly every aspect of material culture that was a part of his daily life, building on the mementos and souvenirs that his mother, Rose, had already saved from his early years. From toy boats to teapots, walking sticks to wardrobes, diaries to dentures, and musical manuscripts to muffs, the Grainger Museum Collection was formed throughout the lifetimes of three people – Rose Grainger, Percy Grainger and Percy’s wife Ella Grainger. Held in its entirety by the Grainger Museum, this extraordinary collection offers an intimate picture of private and public life. It is also incredibly comprehensive. The Domestic and Personal Effects Collection alone consists of 562 catalogued objects, while the Costume Collection, including the infamous towel clothes made by the Graingers, form another 688 catalogued objects. There are 133 items in Grainger’s “Ethnographica” Collection, and 596 artworks, including many created by Percy and Ella.

The rehang of the permanent gallery taking place in the Grainger Museum in September will show a selection of these diverse and curious “relics” from the Graingers’ lives, with a focus on the domestic and personal artefacts, and costume. As a taster, here are some photos of preliminary curatorial work at the Grainger Store, with Volunteers from the Cultural Collections Projects Program Sharon Wong and Kyle Walker hard at work assisting with selection and arrangement.

Dr Heather Gaunt, Grainger Museum Curator, Exhibitions and Collections