Curator’s Corner – August 2017
with BMI Curator Amy Tsilemanis
There’s lots to enjoy at the BMI through the wintery months
Imprints: Storytelling the City
Part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s Fringe Program, this exhibition is a journey through the photographic innovations of Ballarat inventor Henry Sutton, leading to a unique experience of the BMI’s Max Harris Collection of historic Ballarat images. Aug 19- Sep 17
How do we imprint our visions and versions of ourselves and the city?
Curated by Amy Tsilemanis (BMI Curator and PhD candidate at Federation University Australia, Arts Academy and Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History) with Lorayne Branch. Housed in the beautiful Mechanics’ Institute library and Reading Room.
Supported by the Ballarat Arts Foundation and featuring guest artists Barry Gilson and Ellen Sorensen
Open 10-4 Monday to Friday and 9.30-12 Saturdays.
Gold coin donation.
OPENING NIGHT 7PM, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 1ST
For more information:
Dr Benjamin Mountford, David Myers Research Fellow in History at La Trobe University, is a regular visitor to the BMI library. (Pictured left, with Robert Anderson).
Originally from Western Australia, Ben spent seven years as an historian at Oxford University in the UK, before moving to Ballarat in 2016. Ben signed up as a member of the BMI library the first day he wandered in. ‘It is such an amazing building and collection’, Ben explains. ‘I’ve been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful libraries around the world, but the BMI heritage reading room is right up there, and Rosemary and the other staff and volunteers are all incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive’. Ben’s current research project explores the international impact of the Australian gold rushes.
At the moment, he is focusing on the experience of the 10,000 or so goldseekers from Australia who went to California from 1849, most of whom came back when gold was discovered in New South Wales and Victoria. ‘I’ve been working through some of the BMI’s excellent collections on gold mining’, Ben explains. ‘My favourite book so far is Archibald Williams, The Romance of Mining: Containing Interesting Descriptions of the Methods of Mining for Minerals in all Parts of the World (London: C. Arthur Pearson, Ltd. 1905). Williams was a popular author and wrote a series of books including The Romance of Modern Invention; The Romance of Modern Engineering: and The Romance of Modern Locomotion. ‘To be honest the romance has been a bit thin on the ground so far, but it’s a great book for thinking about how people in the past understood the cultural and social dimensions of gold mining – and the various meanings they attached to it.’
Ben will be delivering the 2017 Weston Bate Lecture at Sovereign Hill in October 2017, where he will share some of his preliminary research on the Australians in gold rush California.
Look forward to seeing you soon at the BMI.