In 2014 I had the good fortune to be the curator on Ballarat's Heritage Weekend. This role meant many things! I curated the local history exhibition to answer the question "Who made Ballarat?" using the booths in the Mining Exchange as storytelling booths. I also worked with local cultural groups to help them tell their historical stories, and found fantastic people who could do fantastic things in the space. My top three favourites were: the lovely 'can-do' girls from Public Mischief who built Ballarat with the children, Neil Murray who is an amazing musician, and the divine and truly outstanding Charlotte Smith with her Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.
The weekend was gorgeously sunny, with hardly any rain. Loads and loads of people came out, the Mining Exchange was absolutely full of people talking, playing, listening, reading and most of all enjoying heritage. The figures from the previous year was 10,375. This year they were 15,125! Thank you sunshine and thank you fantastic people doing fantastic things. There is more on the Heritage Weekend in the local news here or watch a short video below.
And a few quick snapshots of different activities in the Mining Exchange...
Models dressed in original vintage fashion, ready to go on stage.
Charlotte Smith's Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.
Irish Dancing taking the crowd by storm, amazing!
The Australian Irish Dancing Company flying across the stage.
One of the story telling booths in my local history exhibition.
Designed around discovery tables for children and adults - why should kids get all the fun?
It was a bit of a test case on my part - would adults engage?
The answer - yes they did but only in things they thought were for adults. Anything that could be done as a family or looked like it was for kids, was tentatively touched.
Newspapers proved very popular too.
Ellen Young's storytelling booth
Discovery table wrapped in butchers paper inviting adults to leave their Memories of Manufacturing.
Slow to start, by the end of the weekend the whole table top was crammed with story snippets.
Huge kids activity in the Mining Exchange.
The artists from Public Mischief built Ballarat with the kids over the weekend.
A very creative team who enjoyed working with the kids, and the kids loved it too!