Geelong’s iconic National Wool Museum takes out gold in the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards
06.10.2021

Geelong’s iconic National Wool Museum takes out gold in the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards

Photo via socials, by Mike Dugdale

The 2021 Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards celebrate organisations who are propelling the creative sector.

This week, the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards celebrated the people and cultural institutions that have been powering the state’s creative sector over the past twelve months.

Hosted by the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) Victoria, the awards recognise outstanding achievements and service in the museum, gallery, and collecting sector. Representing over 1000 museums and collecting organisations, this prestigious event celebrates organisations and individuals whose passion and work build a strong Victorian museum and gallery industry.

The key takeaways

  • Geelong’s iconic National Wool Museum takes out gold in the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards
  •  The awards recognise outstanding achievements and service in the museum, gallery, and collecting sector
  • The judges commended the National Wool Museum for developing such a complex and detailed, well researched and considered permanent exhibition on a budget

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Within the awards, there are eight categories including individual Excellence Awards and awards for Organisational Excellence.

Ranked among the top this year is Geelong’s National Wool Museum, which has won the award for medium museums/galleries for its ‘On the Land: Our Story Retold’ exhibition.

“The judges commended the National Wool Museum for developing such a complex and detailed, well researched and considered permanent exhibition on a budget.

“The exhibition bravely engages with communities and audiences, confronting frontier stories to bring balance to the celebration of wool as an economic and cultural phenomenon across regional Australia, including in the Geelong region.”

Housed in a beautifully restored 1872 bluestone wool store close to the vibrant new Waterfront Geelong, ‘On The Land: Our Story Retold’ is the first major exhibition on Australian wool since a 1994 exhibition at Sydney’s Living Museum and presents a renewed Australian story with a contemporary look and feel, updated interactives and culturally relevant stories, ideal for children, tourists, wool-enthusiasts and locals alike.

This exhibition replaces one of the two permanent galleries in the museum, ‘Wool Harvest’, which has been part of the permanent collection since it was officially opened at the museum by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 1988.

The museum drew upon more than 40 artists, artisans, Traditional Owners and local contractors to bring this exhibition to life. While previously the exhibition looked solely at sheep farming and wool production, this reimagined gallery focuses more on change, particularly on the people and places and our impact on the land.

Joining the National Wool Museum at the top is the ACMI, which won the large museums/galleries category for its centrepiece exhibition ‘The Story of the Moving Image’ which marked their legendary comeback after their $40 million redevelopment project (2019 – 2021).

The judges explained ACMI’s relaunch exhibition as using ‘technologically innovative displays and artist commissions to bring diverse voices to ‘The Story of the Moving Image’, including giving voice to First Peoples.’

AMaGA Victoria Executive Director Dr Ashley Robertson said this year’s winners reflect the commitment of the cultural sector to push through these hard times.

“As museums and galleries continue to face challenges and uncertainty, now more than ever we understand the importance of their contributions, reflecting much of the world around us as serving as agents of soft power,” she said.

“In their resilience, they have continued to adapt and respond to the needs of their communities.”

You can view the full list of award recipients here.

‘On The Land’ is on show now at the National Wool Musuem, 26 Moorabool Street Geelong. Find out more information here.