The Museum of Brisbane’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Graphic courtesy of MoB (Inspiration Monty Python).


The Museum of Brisbane (MoB)

The Museum of Brisbane (MoB) will close its Ann Street doors on Sunday, 2nd December 2012, in order to pack up and move back to City Hall where they will be relocating to the third floor.

MoB will reopen to the public in April 2013 with five brand new exhibition spaces housing new and exciting exhibitions and events. You can expect the Brisbane City Council to release a formal statement about the relocation, and lots of advance notices so that you don't miss anything. Watchwords will also be keeping up with MoB activities in the 'What's on Now' section.

The Museum of Brisbane was turfed out of its usual home in the Brisbane City Hall, when the foundations were found to be sinking and the old girl was likely to fall in on us.

There were only two options – demolition or restoration. The City opted for restoration with the assistance of about 60,000 ratepayers and businesses who donated to the National Trust Brisbane City Hall Appeal.

You will be happy to know that the painters and gilders have recently finished applying the finishing touches to the decorative ceilings and walls of the Main Auditorium, which is the most photographed room in City Hall, and the home of endless concerts and dances during the building’s 80-year history. The original architects, Hall & Prentice, would be proud to see their detailed plaster work returned to its former glory.

The MoB didn’t go far though. You can find them at 157 Ann Street, half-way between the City Hall and Edward Street. They’re on the Ground Floor, are open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily, and entry to the museum is FREE. You can also contact them through the Brisbane City Council Call Centre on (07) 3403 8888.

Visit their website below for upcoming exhibitions, talks and performances.

Their current exhibition is the quirkily named Cabinet of Curiosities which is sourced from the collections of Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network, an alliance of 80 historic sites, heritage organisations and museums charged with the preservation and interpretation of Brisbane’s historical and cultural heritage.

Choosing items to display in such an exhibition is a daunting task and the strongest voice heard when an exhibition is to be staged is invariably that of the curator. Curators are very important people to any culture; they hoard our history, they tell our stories, and they are the people charged with finding the material and objects that will best express the essence and heart of an exhibition.

In September, writer, art critic and art consultant Louise Martin-Chew held an informal conversation with respected Brisbane-based curator Frank McBride for the benefit of visitors to the exhibition. Mr McBride explained how he approached the process of collaborating with Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network and the development of the Cabinet of Curiosities exhibition.

Originally known as the ‘Wunderkammer’, The Cabinet of Curiosities was the forerunner to the modern museum. The term originated in the 16th Century when European Kings and Princes would send explorers off to little known lands to bring back exotic and rare objects for the delectation and delight of the court. These were kept in a room dedicated to the weird and wonderful collection, which was a boon to people if they were not at war and were consequently bored stiff.

In the current exhibition there are artefacts, objects and some wonderful stories, including that of the Mayne Family popularised by well-known Brisbane historican Rosamond Siemon in her phenomenally successful book The Mayne Inheritance. Read more about the book on the Authors page.

Website Watch

Museum of Brisbane (MoB)

In addition to the ongoing exhibition Cabinet of Curiosities at MoB, on Saturday, 13 October at 12 noon, it was ‘On Our Selection’ as an appreciative audience gathered around the Radiola and experienced a performance in the gallery space of the radio serial Dad and Dave transcribed from the original episodes and performed by a cast of some of Brisbane’s favourite performers from the Forgetting of Wisdom collective.

There’s always something going on at MoB – and it’s all free.

For general information on Museum of Brisbane go to their website at Find out more about what’s happening at and note that they also have an enormous amount of interesting information on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter - see their website above for the links.  

Unusual Artefact: The Australian Wineglass. Thank you Anon.