From the Collection March 2018
Our curator, Dr Heather Gaunt, shares an example of how we use our collection to facilitate interactive learning within the university community.
Chinese headdress (date unknown), maker unknown, 01.3295, Grainger Museum Collection
The Museums and Collections of the University of Melbourne are an immensely valuable resource for students and academics across a range of disciplines. The Grainger Museum, like the other museums and collections across campus, frequently provides access to collections for specific teaching purposes, as can be seen on our Education page. This week, students in Chinese 5 (CHIN10017) have the opportunity to view and discuss a selection of the Chinese material in the Grainger Collection. These Chinese objects range from domestic goods and costume, through to musical instruments. Students will be examining a beautiful silk embroidered jacket, for example, that belonged to Rose Grainger, made in the early 20th century. The excellent condition of this garment suggests it may never have been worn by Rose, and was probably acquired as an ornamental piece, as was an elaborate headdress also in the Collection. We know very little about how and where the Graingers acquired these pieces. We do know that Percy Grainger was fascinated by the Chinese and Japanese music that he heard in his early years in Melbourne in the 1880s-1890s, which he experienced on visits with his mother to the thriving ‘Chinatown’ area of Little Bourke Street. Percy’s love of Chinese music probably prompted his acquisition of the Chinese lute, or San-Hsien, which students will also be viewing.
Embroidered Chinese jacket belonging to Rose Grianger, (early 20th century), maker unknown, 04.6872, Grainger Museum Collection
Chinese 5 students will view and discuss the selection of Chinese materials from the Grainger Museum in the Object-based learning laboratory at Arts West. Providing access to the Grainger Collections for teaching, learning and research in contexts such as this is mutually advantageous. Often students are able to bring unique expertise and personal experience to the sessions, providing the Museum with new insights into relatively unknown parts of the Grainger Collection.
- Dr. Heather Gaunt, Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, Grainger Museum