National Museum of Australia by Bicycle

National Museum of Australia by Bicycle

Items

  1. Introduction
  2. Sullivan's Creek
  3. National Museum of Australia
  4. Kspace
  5. Japanese Craft Exhibition
  6. Jackie Chan Science Centre

    See Also

  7. Other Trips
  8. Home

Introduction

One of Australia's newer national cultural institutions is the National Museum of Australia, in Canberra. There is plenty of free parking and the local number 34 bus goes past from Civic, but a fun way to visit is by bicycle. One scenic route is through the Australian National University campus, beside Sullivan's Creek, out to the museum and then along the shore of Lake Burley-Griffin to Civic (Canberra's business centre).

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia

When seeing the National Museum of Australia building for the first time it can be difficult to work out exactly what you are seeing. The building looks a bit like a fun fare ride from the front, with a "loop the loop" playful circle in its awning. Neither the NMA nor the nearby Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) building seem to have any vertical walls in them (AIATSIS is worth a visit while visiting the museum). All the walls lean in, out, curve or bulge oddly. Both buildings seem to have been not so much designed, as assembled, by cutting up a catalog of 20th century modern buildings and pasting the bits together at random.

National Museum of Australia Foyer

National Museum of Australia Foyer

Fortunately once you manage to find the front door (under the awning), the NMA building makes more sense. The cathedral height foyer looks a bit like Eero Saarinen's TWA New York Terminal. Resist the temptation to go straight to the excellent gift shop on the right in the foyer, or you might spend all day in there and never get to the exhibits. Collect a map from one of the staff at the information desk, as you will need it.

National Museum of Australia Cafe

National Museum of Australia Cafe

If hungry or thirsty, head for the cafe on the left in the foyer. The museum is a big place and you need fortifying.

National Library from Museum of Australia

National Library of Australia from NMA

You can go out through the automatic doors at the right and sit at out door tables. These have a view of the lake and the National Library of Australia. There is no need to check out or get a ticket, as with other museums, you can wander in and out as you please.

Unless you have come for one of the special exhibitions, from the foyer head for circa, a 12 minute presentation in a rotating theatre. This goves you an introduction to the museum. You sit down and the whole theatre revolves, presenting different exhibits.

Kspace

Tom Worthington at Kspace

Tom Worthington at Kspace

Below the main level of the museum is Kspace. This is supposed to be for kids, but don't miss it. Here you can use a computer to design a city of the future. At the end, all of the designs built by visitors are displayed in a multimedia theatre. It is free and fun. Kspace was designed next door, at the Australian National University's Visualization Laboratory.

Japanese Craft Exhibition

Window view at NMA

Window view at NMA

Some of the smaller exhibitions can be the best. In the NMA's friends lounge was a travelling Japanese Craft Exhibition "Handcrafted Form: Traditions and Techniques". This is commemorating the 2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange. The exhibition is a marvelously delicate display of handcrafted Japanese objects made in traditional materials.

Sullivans Creek at the Australian National University

Sullivan's Creek

Sullivan's Creek at the Australian National University

If you are a bird watcher, or just want to look at the view, the banks of Sullivan's Creek, near the NMA, at the Australian National University are a pleasure.

Australian Phenomics Facility

Australian Phenomics Facility

The campus includes some very modern buildings, such as the Australian Phenomics Facility. This looks like the builders were in a hurry and put the bright and dark green panels on at random (but that is where the architect wanted them).

Cell Tower at ANU

Cell tower at ANU

A more subtle bit of high technology on the ANU campus is a mobile phone cell tower. If you look closely at one of the lighting towers on the sport field you will notice it is taller than it needs to be and has antenna panels at the top.

Cell Tower at ANU

John Curtin Schools of Medical Research

One of the newest buildings on the campus, looking like a space dock from an episode of Star Trek, is the John Curtin School of Medical Research. Stop for a coffee, or lunch, at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in the foyer.

Solar Collector at ANU

Solar Collector at ANU

The large dish beside the creek is not a satellite antenna, it is the ANU's "Big Dish". This 400 square metre solar concentrator and is the largest in the world. A boiler at the top produces up to 100 gallons per second of steam 500 degrees to generate electricity.

ps: Jackie Chan Science Centre

Jackie Chan and Kevin Rudd, at ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research Opening

Jackie Chan and Kevin Rudd, at Center Opening

The John Curtin School of Medical Research also now holds the Jackie Chan Science Centre. Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan opened the center on in 2008, with Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia. Chan lived in Canberra with his parents for several years.

The Jackie Chan Science Centre will showcase the history and current research of The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at The Australian National University.

It was made possible by a generous donation by international movie star Mr Jackie Chan. Mr Chan first visited JCSMR in December 2002 to make a donation to cancer research in memory of his mother and long-time Canberra resident Ms Lee Lee Chan.

In 2006, Mr Chan made a further donation to JCSMR, which funded the new education centre in his name. This project is designed to inspire the next generation of Australian scientists by giving them an insight into the past success stories and current research at JCSMR. Initially consisting of a number of descriptive panels and windows into working laboratories, the Jackie Chan Science Centre will continue to develop as a place of discovery for budding researchers. ...

From: "Jackie Chan Science Centre Opening", Fact Sheet, ANU, 9 March 2008

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