Antiquities lecture to bring news from a sister museum

Published 24 October 2011

antiquitiesThis year’s Maurice Kelly Lecture at the University of New England will honour the founder of UNE’s Museum of Antiquities in a particularly appropriate way. It will bring news from another distinguished, university-based collection of Classical antiquities.

Dr Maurice Kelly, who founded the Museum of Antiquities within UNE’s Classics Department in 1959, saw it develop into the most significant Classical collection in non-metropolitan Australia. Dr Kelly died earlier this year, aged 92.

The Maurice Kelly Annual Lecture for 2011 will be presented on the afternoon of Thursday 27 October by Professor Elizabeth Minchin, Curator of the Classics Museum at the Australian National University. Her lecture, titled “Breathing new life into antiquities: Reinterpreting the ANU Classics collection”, will discuss the recent re-design of ANU’s  Classics Museum.

The museum was founded in 1962. As its current Curator, Professor Minchin commissioned a team of museum designers to come up with new ways of presenting the collection, and the refurbished museum – with new cases, lighting, and interpretative panels – was re-opened last year by ANU’s Chancellor, the Hon. Gareth Evans.

Speaking at that event, Professor Minchin said that the re-opened museum represented the culmination of two years of “planning, dreaming, and sheer hard work”, and that the University and its students were “delighted” with the result. “We hope that the wider community too will wish to use our collection as a resource – a window onto the ancient Mediterranean world,” she said.

The Maurice Kelly lecture will be in UNE’s Arts Building (Arts Lecture Theatre 2) at 5 pm (for 5.30 pm). Light refreshments will be served, and the Museum of Antiquities will be open to visitors from 5 pm.

Elizabeth Minchin has held teaching and research positions at ANU since 1990. She teaches ancient Greek and Latin language and literature and social history. Her research focuses on the Homeric epics as oral poetry, and she is the author of Homer and the Resources of Memory (2001) and Homeric Voices: Discourse, Memory, Gender (2007). Professor Minchin is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

“Professor Minchin’s talk will be full of interest, not only for those with a penchant for the ancient Mediterranean but also for people interested in the craft of museums,” said UNE’s Ian Stephenson, Chairman of the Museum of Antiquities Advisory Committee. He added that, like Dr Kelly, Professor Minchin was “inspired by the culture of the ancient world” and had “a mission to share its wonders with a wide audience”.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here is of an Attic red-figure plate, dating from about 460 BC, on display in UNE’s Museum of Antiquities.