You may think that the objects around you don't define you, but a fantastic free new exhibition at the Old Treasury Building could challenge your very notions of self.
It’s clear looking at Belongings: Objects and Family Life – the new exhibition at the Old Treasury Building – that there has never been a better time to tackle our obsession with objects and frame them within Australia’s historical desires and needs.
From the minutiae (our ever-growing addictions to online shopping) to the enormous (the housing affordability crisis), our contemporary culture is inextricably linked to the objects we own. Belongings allows us to look back at how our relationship with objects has changed over time, to get a greater grasp over how they define us today.
Belongings: Objects and Family Life
Belongings transforms the iconic Old Treasury Building spaces into a vibrant, colourful and heart-warmingly nostalgic exhibition that immerses you in a family home, taking you through various rooms while pop-art advertising grabs your attention at every turn.
It all begins, ever-intriguingly, with the home. Owning a home has always been the Australian dream, yet few of us truly understand how this notion has evolved within our society from the late-nineteenth century to today.
From a 1920s cardboard model home from the State Savings Bank Housing Scheme, to the collection of Public Records Office Victoria, to a stunning patterned toilet bowl from the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences – you will leave Belongings with a newfound understanding of how our homes define us.
There is no proverbial stone left unturned. The car and personal freedom. Football and religion, the sacred and the secular. The Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook (featuring that duck cake) and the contraceptive pill.
A major highlight is the incredible technological juxtapositions that abound throughout. This is thanks to fascinating items, like a huge 1930s wall telephone from Museums Victoria set next to a smartphone, or a retrofitted archaic entertainment unit broadcasting footage of the moon landing.
We could go on, but this is really an exhibition that you have to experience yourself. For the length of the exhibition, the Old Treasury Building asks you ‘what object is important to your family?’ By the end, you may be surprised what you say.
Find out more here.
Belongings: Objects and Family Life was researched and curated by the Old Treasury Building in partnership with Public Record Office Victoria. This article was made in partnership with the Old Treasury Building.